The community of Madina, comprised of 300 people, has seen its share of hardships, and accessing clean water year-round has been challenging to say the least.
The hand-dug well most rely on goes dry for part of the year. Two years ago, when the water well was dry, the community members gathered resources like cement and paid workers to deepen the well, but it did not solve the drying problem. There is another well at a nearby school, but it is kept off-limits so the students have enough water.
The best time to fetch water from the well is very early in the morning, before everyone else has collected water and before the morning traffic starts. People must cross a busy road, dodging speeding trucks, cars, and motorcycles to get to the water point. It is a serious danger as there have been many accidents involving children and adults, and sadly, some have resulted in permanent disability or death.
Francess L., 12, said, "I was born in the community and have spent most of my life here. My grandmother always stands at the side of the road to make sure we cross safely when we are going to fetch water or attend church. Two of my classmates have been hit by cars and left with pain and scars all over their bodies."
It is especially risky when the ferry to Freetown has landed or is about to depart, which occurs five times a day. The population of vehicles swells, and they show no mercy to pedestrians who are trying to cross.
One parent stated that when they are too busy to supervise their children crossing the road, they prefer to pay for water to be fetched and taken to their home. But most of the people in this community cannot afford three meals per day, let alone pay for water.
Free access to the hand-dug well is also a challenge. The individual in charge of the well has taken it upon himself to claim it as his personal property and use it as a car wash business. The soap from washing vehicles next to the water source is most likely contaminating the water, and several times drivers have been caught urinating on the fence of the water well.
As you can see from the photo above, the well has fallen into disrepair. It is not adequately maintained or chlorinated, and it is used nonstop without maintenance. Sadly, the owner controls all the money collected from community members that is meant for repairs, which means badly needed repairs are not being done.
Francess said it best: "It will be much better for the entire community to have a water source on the side with the most homes to save the lives of us children and our mothers."
Hopefully, the proposed new well will provide community members with safe access to clean, sufficient water all year round.
What we can do:
Where we will be drilling is centrally located and will relieve many people of the long journey to fetch water and the challenge of accessing clean water.
Our team will drive over the LS200 mud rotary drill rig and set up camp for a couple of nights. Once the well is drilled to a sufficient water column, it will be cased, developed, and then tested. If these tests are positive, our mechanics will install a new India Mark II pump.
By drilling this borehole, Madina and the surrounding community will be provided with plenty of accessible, clean drinking water.
There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row.
Community members will learn how to make a hands-free handwashing station called the "tippy-tap." We will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations and will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals. We will highlight the need to keep restrooms clean, among many other topics.
This training will also strengthen a water user committee that will manage and maintain this new well. They will enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help in solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.