The community of Garr-Bain hosts the River View Christian Academy (270 students). The water situation is very poor here. There are a few hand dug wells but all are contaminated causing water borne illnesses like typhoid, dysentery, and cholera. School children often vomit at school due to parasites in their systems. The mothers know the water source is bad but without water, family members die from dehydration. It is a game of chance each time they hand the cup of water to their child. Is today the day my child becomes too ill to recover? Deaths from water borne illnesses are a common place occurrence for this community. The chore to collect water takes time away from their schooling and the water they collect continues to keep these families in the poverty cycle with no hope of it changing.
Riverview Christian Academy was trapped in a vicious water crisis. The only water source available was a hand-dug well, which was essentially a pit in the ground. All 273 students and faculty drew water from this well with ropes and buckets. They were constantly afraid that there would not be enough water to go around since the water level fluctuated, depending on how much rain fell. They rationed out their water as much as they could to preserve enough for the most essential uses.
Furthermore, the water from this open well was unsafe to use and to consume. The water was rife with bacteria and other contaminants. For this reason, students sometimes suffered from waterborne illnesses after consuming the water. Water-related illnesses not only robbed them of their well-being, but also deprived them of time and energy they needed to provide for focus on their studies. If they missed time in their classrooms due to illnesses, they became at risk of dropping out altogether.
This constant stress was insidious and wore away the students’ and teachers’ morale. Something needed to change. The faculty
began to seek outside help.
A school faculty member named Dr. Sei Gour decided to take action. He had heard about the work Living Water International was doing in the region and decided to request their assistance. The Living Water Liberia staff was glad to respond to his request by scheduling a visit to the community. They soon arrived at the school and surveyed the situation. They affirmed that, though the situation was dire, the community was willing to mobilize around a safe water solution. Living Water Liberia therefore agreed to construct a safe water well. You made this possible, Ingomar Living Waters!
The Living Water Liberia staff soon returned to begin work. They drilled until they reached a safe water aquifer 52 meters deep. They flushed out the borehole to remove sedimentary rock debris, installed PVC casing, a gravel pack, and a sanitary seal. The staff completed a chlorine shock treatment and assembled the well handle. The well was complete!
|TOTAL WATER USERS||273|
|MAIN WATER COLLECTORS||students|
|PUMP TYPE||hand pump|
|PROJECT TYPE||new simple system|
|DEPTH OF BOREHOLE||52 m|
|WATER QUALITY TESTS|
|TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS||38 ppm|
Before we had this new safe water well, we used to fetch drinking water from an open well in the community. The well was not treated for contamination. We knew the water was not good. This new water source will help to protect our students from water-related diseases, and our school attendance will be better.
Living Water Liberia also prepared the school staff for a future of safe water management. They helped establish a water committee that will remain in contact with Living Water Liberia about the functionality of the well. The committee will also collect small, voluntary fees from the students’ households to cover the cost of future repairs to the well. The school staff is glad to have a plan to sustain their water access through a system they can steward themselves.
Living Water Liberia also led a sanitation and hygiene promotional activity for the school community, and 71 people participated. The lessons were interactive and utilized visual elements. The participants learned how germs are spread and diseases are transmitted. Living Water Liberia led a handwashing demonstration and practice session, explaining that this is the best defense against illness and water contamination. The community members also discussed the qualities of both healthy and unhealthy communities. This analysis helped them reflect on changes they could
make to improve the well-being of their community.
The staff teaches the community members to use the pump properly.
Living Water also presented the gospel to the school community. There were 163 residents present at the evangelism session where they heard the message of John 4:13-14 (NIV): “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The team also distributed 104 pieces of gospel literature that cite Scripture, explaining salvation through Jesus Christ.
The Living Water staff also led the students and faculty members in a well dedication ceremony. Together, the staff and community members gave thanks for the gift of safe water. They prayed that the safe water well will continue to bless those who
use it and remind them of the living water of Jesus Christ.
The community gives thanks for the new well.