I’m sitting on a beautiful beach in Sierra Leone, surrounded by white sand, with the blue of the sea in front of me and the green of the interior behind – as reflected in the colours of the national flag. We’ve just returned to Freetown from Manowa and are waiting to meet a potential contractor before we set off for home.
CED’s Secretary Barbara Brighouse was coming to the end of a visit to Sierra Leone with her husband Rob. They had travelled to Manowa in Eastern Sierra Leone. Barbara describes the visit:
My reflections of the past week are mixed. This is my first experience of Sierra Leone – it’s only by being here that I have been able to get a much better understanding of the issues that we and our partner PTI face as we proceed with the Fresh Hope Manowa project. We’ve spent most of the week in Manowa, carrying out a topographical survey for the water distribution system and supervising borehole pump tests.
The water from the borehole at the secondary school was being discharged into the swamp about 250m from the borehole. As I was measuring the flow rate a steady stream of people came both to watch and to collect water. The spring from which they usually obtain water was nearby. It has been partially protected, but not in such a way as to prevent contamination.
During the dry season the water may be reasonably clean but as soon as the rains start the water becomes contaminated from latrines situated above the spring. Whilst still the dry season now, it rained heavily on two occasions during the week and a chance meeting with the secondary school headmaster revealed that there had already been a small outbreak of cholera.
Rob, with Moses of PTI, was taking dip meter readings up at the borehole; at one point they had to break from their task to show respect to a funeral procession of a small child. So what hope is there for the people of Manowa?
As people collected the water we were pumping from the borehole as part of our test programme, they became very excited about the future project. A woman went away singing about the cleanliness of the water. A boy peered into the barrel being used to measure the water flow and said “Wow! Dis ee clear oh!!” That’s hope.
There is still much work to be done. If you would like to be part of bringing hope to Manowa please consider making a donation to support the project