Funded May 1, 2020
The water source is a seasonal river that has a pond-like appearance. This is their only their water source during the dry season for drinking, cooking, bathing and laundry. During the rainy season (May-Oct.) they also fetch rainwater from the roof. During the dry season, they dig troughs by the river bank and collect the percolations for drinking and cooking. Sometimes they add alum (an additive to coagulate solids in the water–does not disinfect) to clarify very turbid water to drink it. The area is undeveloped, there are no deep wells in the area. The village does have a shallow, open well, but it is dry. They drink cloudy, polluted water all the time & suffer many water-related diseases. Schistosomiasis (bilharzia), typhoid, cholera, parasites, skin rashes are all common. The children have blood in their stool. This is our first project in this part of Nigeria. The village is located in Kwarra State, in the north west. It is a 45 minute drive to the closest large town/city named Okuta.
Boko Haram is not a threat here. The Muslims in this area are generally not opposed to the Christians, but there were threats from some in the past from opposition (not Boko Haram). I have discussed this issue further and the local populations are rather nominal, they are completely forgotten by their Muslim ‘brothers’. The main objection to Christians in some of the surrounding villages (not Gurunkparu) is that the Christians promote one wife. The traditional culture is for several wives. Christians learn and agree that one wife is biblically desired and they agree to stop with the amount of wives they already have or to marry only one wife. Tribal fighting over herds is not a major problem here.
Our ministry partners, directed by Ndu Ukpai, have been working with people of Gurunkparu for almost 7 years now. They have developed a trusting relationship over time. They are dedicated as this whole region is Muslim and know nothing of Jesus. The Chief of this village has come to know the Lord, the church has grown to 70-90 people who come regularly. The Christian school was finally started last year and defended by the Chief when there was local Islamic govt. opposition. The people are so happy with the school. The parents are illiterate, but some are coming at night to learn, too. The vision and heart of our partners here is to sustain the effort to see this generation grow and change, growing up knowing the God of the Bible to make their own choice. We, Heaven’s Family, are also working to help the school.
We have been working with them for one year now, the school project has been very successful. We feel confident that the well project will be successful as the chief is completely in favor of the Christians who have been serving there.Also, there is a stable and established church community. They have spent years building trust and are committed to the community, not in and out. This is not a place where heavy persecution is an issue, thankfully. The elders and people are very excited about clean water and are ready and understand about future maintenance of the water asset. This initiative is by credible Jesus loving Christians who identified this need when they went on missions to the area years ago where the school is now located. The church and pastor are part of the Baptist Church in Nigeria. The pastor and his group are respected and held in high regard by the community leaders. we will of course use a reliable driller. We want reliability and success for all projects and work to make sure drillers are responsible. Same goes with the surveyors…sometimes there are issues, but mostly they do a very good job.
The plan is to drill on the land given to the church by the community is most desirable. I do understand the question of the very best site to drill. In the case that the site is completely unfavorable for drilling a new site would need to be officially approved by the chief and elders for a community well site. We do want to de as reasonable as possible, but balance that with where we think the well will be safest over time. The well will benefit the entire community, currently no one has access to clean water in this village.