- Katie Emerson
Let there be water!
The teachers of Common Faith Academy have had to fetch water from miles away. When a group from the UK visited the school last year, they felt it was their priority to provide a water source. With hard work and determination, they sent over funds in early 2016 for Pen to Paper Ghana to build a well at the school and the work started immediately.
From talking to people with knowledge and experience in well building, we decided upon a borehole, which uses machinery, rather than a hand dug well. Not only can it dig deeper and be completed in much less tine, with little children around, the size of the hole is much safer with no possibility of them falling into it. Lucky we did go with this method, as the hand dug well would never have reached the depth at which we actually reached water!
On the 9th March, after a very bumpy and claustrophobic ride in the van with the workers, we arrived at the school. The pure excitement of seeing the large machinery being driven in was written all across the children’s faces. After the workers had set up, we let the children have a go at pulling the levers and pretending to drive the machinery.
It was then home time for the children and as the kids embarked on their crowded journey back home on the school bus, the drilling continued for another couple of hours. Adding a drill piece every 10ft, it became a competition to guess at what point water would be reached. By 70ft and still just stone dry, myself and Richard looked at each other with relief that we hadn’t chosen a hand dug well as that’s as deep as it would have dug! By 100ft, the soil was turning into clay, a sign that water was not far off. At 120ft we had water!! They continued to dig to 150ft, with at one point a huge spurt of water, with clay I may add, shooting out of the hole; before we knew it, we were covered, even with our attempt at retreating!
After waiting for the plastic pipes to be delivered and it beginning to get dark, they left the machinery and we embarked on our journey back home. Arriving home at 9ish, with a nice layer of clay (maybe it’ll do wonders for our skin!), all that we needed before sleeping was a nice shower. Little luck with that one – our water tank had run out so no shower until the pump had been turned on for a while. Really makes you realise how much we take water for granted in the UK.
An early morning start again on the 10th, getting to the school site by 6:30am. With it being extremely quiet with no children around, the guys got on with clearing out the hole by pumping water through it. By half past 8, little kids were trotting past, showing their excitement again till they were led into the classrooms to begin lessons. One new activity for them today was moulding the clay from the well into shapes, mainly being letters but one had the resemblance of me, with straw as my blond hair!
While pumping out the water till it became clear, a group of ladies walked past carrying buckets on their head to walk a distance to collect water. With the well being built, it will not only help the school but those in the community. The well was then left for a few days until a plumber came to fix a pump to the well. This was then used for the whole day to completely wash through the water to ensure the pump will provide fresh, clean water.
The plumber then came back to fit cement round the hole, which had to dry fully for two weeks, before he fitted the hand pump.
From the school and Pen to Paper Ghana, we cannot thank the following people enough for collecting the funds: Ben, Chris, Hannah, Jessica, Katie, Phoenix and Sidraa. The well is going to make a great difference to the people of Trede and we hope that you will come back and visit us soon.