The village of Bakaba in rural Chad is not easy to get to notes Kingsley Mbushou, project manager of our partner, Hope Services, headquartered in Cameroon.
“It has a difficult road path that’s only easily accessible with particular car models and strong motorbikes,” he says.
As such, there is no electricity, however the approximately 1,000 village residents are able to depend on solar energy for their basic power uses.
There is just one elementary school “with no structure. Children attend classes under thatch shades temporarily constructed as the beginning of each school year.”
But even more concerning is that there is no water supply system, requiring them to rely on a few boreholes (wells) “which are in the state of dilapidation,” Kingsley told us.
And the one public health center, with just a single trained staff member, “is poorly equipped to meet the needs of the community, as most basic medicines are not available,” he said.
Diseases are prevalent in the community, such as malaria, and especially waterborne diseases including typhoid and gastrointestinal illnesses.
At present, there is no water supply source near where more than 400 students attend school, and they must walk hundreds of meters from class just to get a drink of water.
In Bakaba, there is a well, but “it is seriously degrading and poses a risk for children. The walls can collapse on them as they play around or try to carry water. There is also too much congestion at this source as hundreds of villagers visit it each day for their water needs.”
Kingsley visited Bakaba last winter where he met with the local chiefs, members of the local development community and local residents to discuss their need for a new well to serve the population of the village and the schoolchildren.
“The community is already taking concrete actions toward our upcoming project by gathering some materials that will be needed, such as sand and gravel,” Kingsley said. “They also offered unskilled labor free of charge that will accompany the experts during the implementation phase of the water project.
“Community involvement is one of the keys to success on this project,” he added.
Esther Ndichafa the founder and executive director of Hope Services reached out to Bread and Water for Africa® requesting grant funding to drill the proposed well 50 meters (150 feet) deep ensuring it will provide a reliable source of water, free from contamination for years, even decades to come.
The only thing that is holding up the drilling of the well is the cost – 4 million Central African CFA francs, which may sound like a lot, but amounts to just $6,885 which we hope to be able to raise from our supporters from across the United States this spring.
In the meantime, the residents of Bakaba are waiting, and hoping for the day to come when having easy access to this basic necessity of life is no longer a luxury , but a joyous new way of life.