Yiben lies in the fork of the Rokel and Seli Rivers and has close access to two smaller clear running streams which provide the water for their every need. One is used by the women and the other by the men. An upstream spot is designated for household and drinking water that is carried daily to the homes, some metres downstream is the place for bathing and washing clothes (for the women) and further downstream for sanitation. Other villages use the waterways in the same way, so while they look, feel and taste quite fresh, the purification process between the villages can not always be relied upon. Bacteria and parasites lurk in these waters and can cause diseases such as diarrohea, bilharzia and river blindness. Uncontaminated drinking water, along with access to national treatment and immunisation programs, will help to eliminate these risks in the Yiben area.
Our first major project as SET4LIFE Australia is to provide access to clean drinking water by funding an upgrade to the well that was sunk in 2014. Difficulties encountered with rock forced the original well to be finished in traditional style, without lining and requiring a bucket which stirs up the water. This is suitable for gardens, but is not drinkable and does not satisfy the government’s requirements for registering the school.
Well-building is tricky in this part of the world as it depends on the seasonal cycle and the height of the water table. An unexpectedly early and extreme wet season last year brought work on the new well to a sudden stop just when casing a successful hole was about to begin.
With favourable conditions work eventually resumed. The hole has been cased and equipment brought in. Now the top remains to be capped and drained and the pump installed, again requiring optimum and predictable conditions for curing the concrete.
When finished, the new well will provide clean drinking water for the school and the entire community.
Stand by for the next update!