Update from the Survey Team

Woman carrying water can

Wau, Western Bahr El Ghazal, South Sudan

We have evaluated ten wells so far. Today that number will change to 13. What we have learned is that our wells are still operational, but more importantly when a part needs replacing or the well breaks down for some reason, the villages have learned how to be self-sustainable. In villages where wells have broken down, even if the person trained for maintenance doesn't know how to fix the well, they know who they can get for experienced help.  And when it's time to pay for the labor and parts, all the members of the village chip in to pay for it.

Another thing we have learned is that there are no power issues with any of the wells. Most of the respondents I spoke with laugh when I ask the question about equal access to the well. One man said, "When there is so little water, you cannot deny it to people for any reason. That is not the way we live."

Finally, the one thing that remains consistent is that there is not enough. In one village, the chief told me that his area is very large, almost 2,000 people and even though they have one well, it is not enough. They need another well for the villages on the other side, and they need water to feed their animals. There is a well close to the compound, that we pass on the way to the market. The line of Jerry cans waiting to be filled is always very long. At another well near a school, a man named Angelo, who was the headmaster, said the well is too busy during the day with so many people from the village.

Everywhere we go, people plead with me for more water. "We are trying," I tell them, and they thank me. Most people tell me that having a well nearby makes them safer.  Taking long walks for water leaves their women and children and animals susceptible to wild animal attacks. We are doing some good.

These are hopeful results from our short time in the field.