Mamie lives in a remote village in Bevehun, Sierra Leone. She used to collect water from a brackish, contaminated swamp full of insects and bacteria for drinking, cooking, and doing laundry. “During the rainy season, the water is so dirty that we can’t even see underneath,” she said.
Although water-borne illnesses like diarrhoea, typhoid, and cholera were a constant in her community, the people of Bevehun had no other choice. The entire community was forced to drink the contaminated water because it was the only water source they could reach on foot. Sadly, this is the reality for many rural communities in Sierra Leone.
Mamie dreamed of having access to clean water so her young son could be healthy and happy all year round, even during the rainy season. “It will help us to clean the community; help us to be healthy and feel good,” Mamie said, with a smile. “It will be the happiest day of my life until I die.”
The worst water he’d ever seen
Thomas Jones, Regional WASH Programme Manager for GOAL Sierra Leone, recalls when he visited the remote community in Bevehun earlier this year and witnessed the situation firsthand.
“It was some of the worst water I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I could not believe that people were drinking it,” Thomas said. “I even asked the Chief, ‘Are you sure? Is this your only source?’ The Chief knelt down and drank it in front of me. I will not forget that particular moment. It was my reaction that made the Chief realise that the water was unsafe.”
The drilling rig arrives
In Sierra Leone, GOAL staff are working tirelessly to bring clean water to remote communities across the country. With GOAL intervention and support from charity:water, a drilling rig arrived in Bevehun in April to bring residents the safe, clean water they deserve.
“There is a drastic between a community that has clean water and a community that does not,” Thomas explained. In communities with clean water, children do not miss school due to illness, and families do not have to spend precious time and money on costly medical appointments. In these communities, laughter comes easily, and people are healthy and happy.
Thomas hopes we all remember this story the next time we take a drink of water.
You can support GOAL’s work in Sierra Leone with a donation today.