Yiben is not short of water. It lies within a sharp bend of the Seli River and has closer access to two small clear-running streams which have provided water for their every need. One place has been designated for collecting household and drinking water that is carried daily to the homes. Another place is designated for laundering and women’s bathing, while men’s bathing is confined to the other stream. Unfortunately all the rivers and waterways carry bacteria and parasites; so while it looks and tastes quite fresh, the water can cause diseases such as diarrhoea, bilharzia and river blindness.
Uncontaminated drinking water, along with access to national treatment and immunisation programs, would eliminate these risks for Yiben.
Our first major project as SET4LIFE Australia was to fund access to clean drinking water.
The community needed a modern, equipped well that would also satisfy the government’s requirements for registering the school.
This proved more difficult than anyone anticipated and the school well that began in 2015 became a five-year headache, especially for Mallam. Ongoing setbacks included an unreliable contractor, a number of missed seasonal opportunities, spoilt cement, cracking, and sadly, theft of the equipment by outside timber workers.
Recently Mallam approached two experienced well-builders, Morie and Mohamed, who were working with an NGO near his hometown, and they agreed to travel to Yiben to assess the problems. They have successfully reconstructed the well and now in 2020, clean water is flowing for Yiben!
Meanwhile, with the health clinic completed and needing its own water supply, a new well was started near the clinic. It’s completion was held up by a lack of sand for the concrete, and when the contractor was injured at another job and unable to return. Morie and Mohamed have now completed the clinic well – which is also available for community use.
Thanks to their willingness and skills, Mallam’s persistence and timely donations from our wonderful supporters, Yiben has clean drinking water and both facilities are to national standard.
The pictures show different stages of the construction of both wells and illustrate the difficulty of the work in this environment.