Yiben is not short of water. It lies within a bend in the Seli River and has closer access to two small clear-running streams which have provided water for their every need. 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 diarrhea, 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 decision 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 uninstalled equipment by outside timber workers.
Eventually, Mallam approached two experienced well-builders, Morie and Mohamed, who had come to work for an NGO near his hometown. They agreed to travel to Yiben to assess the problems and, with the equipment replaced, they successfully reconstructed the well. Finally clean water was flowing for Yiben!
Meanwhile, with the health clinic completed and needing its own year-round water supply, a new well was started near the clinic. It’s progress was held up by a lack of sand for the concrete. Then the contractor was injured at another job and unable to return. In the interim the equipment that was waiting on site had also been stolen by the rogue timber workers. Again Morie and Mohamed were willing to take over the job and again the equipment was replaced, thanks to timely donations from our wonderful supporters.
With Mallam’s persistence and commitment, Yiben has clean drinking water. Both wells are completed to national standard and available for community use.
The pictures show different stages of the construction of both wells and help to illustrate the difficulty of the work in this environment.