Water Brings a Resurrectionby Jean Calvin Diarra, World Vision Mali
Sometime ago, in the Mopti region of Mali, women would get up early in the morning before sunrise and wake the children to accompany them to fetch water. The more children went, the more water they could carry for the household. As they were out in darkness, women and children were confronted to great risk of snake bites every day. They had to cross the small bush surrounding the village before joining the track to the water point.
They would walk for 5 kilometers (3 miles) before reaching the hand dug traditional well where many other women and children were in line, waiting for their turn to fetch unclean water. They knew they had to come early to make sure that they could return home with enough time to prepare food and take care of other house work. The well was open and not protected. Every day, the wind would carry all the dust, debris and dirt on its track and throw it in the well. Though the community knew that the unclean water was the source of several diseases like diarrhea and trachoma, they had no choice – they had to continue lining up for – and drinking from – this unclean water point.
Despite the assistance of the children carrying the water, the water was just enough for morning needs. Women would go back twice or three times again in the day to collect more water under the deadly heating sun. This was the only way to ensure that they would have water in their houses all day through.
But this was sometime ago. Today, the reality is different and better!
World Vision’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project in Mali drilled two boreholes and installed two
hand pumps in the village. Children and mothers gather at those water pumps to collect clean and healthy water in the village. It only takes them a few minutes to reach the pumps, takes little effort to press the pump, and nobody lines up to collect the water. All of them can leave their houses at any time and be the only one getting the water.
“We were like dead people resurrected, life has returned to the village. No more fetching water over long distances in the hot sun. We have drinking water in the village, we wash our children properly, and they eat before going to school on time. If World Vision had not intervened many children would have dropped out of school again because of the water related diseases. The diarrhea and trachoma have decreased” said Aminata Sacko, a woman from the village.