One of the things that we have learned from first-hand experience while working to provide water in Burkina Faso, West Africa are some of the difficulties that occur between people of different belief.
It was a bit of a surprise when some of the Engage Burkina Team pulled into a village with a team of leaders who have provided resources for wells (and hope to provide more) and showed them a well we had dug…right next to another well.
Our primary desire is to make clean water accessible to those that have none. But here was our well, next to another one. Initially, we were a little embarrassed. Why did the Burkinabe leaders we had entrusted with making decisions on where wells would be placed put one here?
We have learned there are different reasons for this.
#1 – Wells done by a group of villagers on their own, in their desperation to find water, may have been done incorrectly. Wells can become contaminated or collapse in on themselves if not done the right way under the right supervision.
#2 – All of our wells are put under the care of the Burkinabe Christian and Missionary Alliance Pastors. Why? There are spiritual reasons for this, but there’s also an extremely basic humanitarian reason. The Christian Beliefs of the Pastors we partner with lead them to one incredible conclusion – The wells we dig or drill are for everyone. Truly the message that the Pastor gives to the rest of the village is that ‘My Well Is Your Well’.
In a part of the world where survival is limited by access to clean water, some deny this necessity to others. Amazing isn’t it? A village chief may be influenced by a village witch doctor to not share water with specific groups of people. We have seen this be especially true among villages where there are Christians because they worship differently than the witch doctor, and don’t comply with their schemes.
Several of the villages we work in have had wells go dry. But thanks to the resources provided by those that give to Engage Burkina the wells that we have put in continue to provide clean water. When that happens we don’t deny clean water to anyone, even if you have denied it to us.