Water is one of the absolute, life-critical needs that every carbon-based living thing on earth requires. Yet many of us completely take it for granted. Not so in South Sudan!
Available water sources are often far away from peoples' huts and villages. They must walk a long way (in many cases an hour or more each way) to/from the water source--a journey which can be fraught with danger for the women and kids who are most-typically tasked with this arduous daily chore.
The critical task of getting sufficient water for one's family can take several hours each and every day!
If it's dry season, and/or there is no local river or stream nearby (which is often the case) then the most likely source of water will be a hand-dug well, like the ones pictured above and below.
A hand-dug well can be quite deep--the water level in the one above is about 60 feet down.
The ladies use whatever water-holding container they can find--old cans, plastic jugs, etc--to which they tie a long rope. They then toss their water container over the edge, until it splashes down, far below, into the dirty water hidden at the bottom of the dark hole. Then, after their container fills, they pull it up, hand over hand to the top, where they pour it into a larger container. The process is repeated many times over by each person, each day, in order to fill one or more larger container(s), in order to get enough precious water to provide for their family's needs that day. As you can see in the picture below, the ropes cut grooves into the logs (this is extremely hard and dense wood!) that are placed around the edges of the well. I asked, and was told, that this log (below) has been here at this well for at least 20 years!
After all of that hard work, the result is a can of murky (at best) water. As the shallow water at the bottom of the well becomes stirred up, from all the cans dropping in, it get's more and more muddy. Can you imagine spending several hours of your day, each and every day, working so hard for something that is so critical, and yet so easily obtained (and often wasted) by most of us?
In contrast to the above hand-dug wells, the below pictures show bore holes, which produce a much more reliable, clean, source of water, that is also much more easily and quickly obtained through a hand operated pump.
Several organizations we fly throughout Northern and Eastern Uganda, and South Sudan, are focusing on providing reliable, clean water sources, like these, in strategic locations.
Of course, people still have to walk to/from the bore hole, usually carrying their water on their heads.
However, the bore holes are placed in strategic locations that not only make it much safer and quicker for those who are tasked with this daily chore, but also generally help foster strategic relationships between the organization and the local community. And that goes a long way towards building the trust and respect that is required to open doors for the other projects and objectives the organization might have in the area.