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Friday, July 30, 2010

Clean water brings more than health to the people of Wiro, South Sudan, it brings hope!



Jessalyn Jacob and other women from her village of Wiro in South Sudan used to spend their nights far from the village, sleeping on the cold ground beside a shallow, hand-dug watering hole.

Some mornings, the women would go home empty-handed because not enough water had percolated up through the earth into the small hole. When there was enough water, it was murky and teeming with unseen but deadly parasites and disease. But Jessalyn had no choice but to bring back what ever water she could gather – the small hole in the ground was the only source of water for her family and her village of 3,000 people.

In spring of this year, HOPE International Development Agency completed a bore-hole water well in Wiro. For Jessalyn and the other women of Wiro, having access to clean water right in the village has transformed their lives. Gathering water is quicker and much safer.

“The water is clean like the water that comes in bottles”, says Jessalyn. These benefits are not surprising; this is what we expect will come from providing villages with a stable, convenient source of clean water. Thanks to the borehole, the people of Wiro will be healthier, suffering from fewer waterborne diseases like typhoid, parasites, and skin infections.

In addition to the health benefits of having clean water, there is another very important benefit of having clean water available right in the village. Families like Jessalyn’s will not have to abandon their ancestral lands where they have lived for decades. Throughout even the worst years of the war, when nearby SPLM soldiers relied on the village for labour and food, Jessalyn was committed to staying on her land, in her house, cultivating cassava, maize, and sorghum to feed her four children and eleven grandchildren. Because her father’s grave is nearby, she did not want to leave her home. But at the height of the dry season earlier in the year, Wiro’s villagers met and decided that it was time to move closer to a more reliable and abundant source of water. They did not feel that they had any other options. They made plans to relocate.

Thanks to the borehole, the people of Wiro will not have to move. Indeed, they have begun to imagine what else might be possible for their village: more water points, a school, micro-credit to build income generating businesses. Jessalyn would like to open a small shop.

Learn more about how you can help other villages in South Sudan who are in desperate need of clean water.

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