Today we visited the three wells that BREAD sponsored this year. It was very heartening to see them being well used (excuse the pun) and very much appreciated. Whilst at the first well, which is furthest away from the main village, a group of women went past to collect water from the river. This mystified me, why would they use river water in preference to the cleaner, better tasting well water? Their reply was humbling. " There are about a thousand people using this well. It's water is precious and so we only use it for drinking and cooking. We use the river water for washing".
The story was similar at the other two wells. Everyone we spoke to expressed their gratitude for the well and the difference it has made to them. Our guide for the visit, Mr Jonahas, told us that water bound diseases such as cholera and bilharzia are common in Berega because people have to use the water from the river. These wells are helping around two thousand or more people to avoid these potentially fatal diseases.
At each of the wells it was the children and women who were fetching the water, watching them swing the 10 litre full buckets (about 10kg or 22lbs) up on to their heads with grace and little effort was amazing. For most of them there was a good long walk ahead of them and this would be repeated twice a day. The second well we stopped at, which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere was, we were informed by Mr Jonahas, dug there specifically to make sure the children from the nearby (about half a mile away) Primary School had clean water to drink.
It is difficult to sum up how I feel about the wells. On one hand it is delight and gratitude that by the generosity of others we have been able to help a lot of people in a small way. On the other hand it is frustration that I can't do more. Knowing that so many struggle to have enough of the most basic commodity for life is heart-wrenching.