When Naimat came to visit me in January, he was shocked by the lack of access to clean water, and specifically, by the high cost of drilling a borehole (a water well). In Pakistan, where he is originally from, every household in the villages has a water borehole of their own, whereas here in Uganda, women and children often have to walk miles to what is often a very dirty and unsafe water source. Furthermore, he was appalled that it costs roughly $10,000 to drill a new borehole in Uganda, because in Pakistan, it only costs $500.
In a country with so little, clean water is the most basic of human rights.So, after returning to America, his mind was still in Uganda, and it didn’t take long for him to return. This time however, we invited his childhood friend and technician from Pakistan to come as well, bringing along with him enough materials to build two demonstration boreholes; our hope being that some NGOs or private investors will see the benefits of this technology and help us implement them on a large scale.
In addition to being more affordable, this new borehole technology is easier to maintain and produces cleaner water than the existing boreholes. The existing boreholes use metal piping which rusts and needs to be repaired once every six months. Metal piping is very expensive, and with so many boreholes needing to be repaired, communities often go months without access to water. With this new technology, we use PVC piping instead of metal piping, which obviously does not rust, and will last for 100 years. Additionally, we put a filter at the bottom of the piping, making the water more clean and safe. To repair these new boreholes, you only need to replace a small, circular device in the pump that costs about 25 cents, and is easy enough for a child to do.Needless to say, this new technology is beneficial on many levels, and will provide more clean water to more people.
Waterborne diseases are one of the top killers in rural Africa, especially amongst children. Can you imagine that people in this world die because they don’t have clean water? Like I said, it’s the most basic of human rights, and something needs to be done... And we’re trying.We have completed one borehole that will now provide clean water to 800 people in the village of Loyoboo. We are in the process of completing our second one. And we hope to the Universe that there will be many many more...
This is what many of the water sources look like here in Uganda. Can you imagine? Hundreds of people get their water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing from this very source:
Drilling is manual labor and hard work! We definitely take machines for granted in the Western world. It took us two and a half days to drill 36 feet:
But we did it:
Being in the psychosocial field, it is rare that I see a project completed. When clean water came from that tap, it set my soul on fire. And the people were so happy, they could hardly contain their liberation...
WATER IS LIFE.
For more photos, check out the album "Water Project Photos" on my facebook page.