Sunday, February 28, 2010

PASE helps bring potable water to the dry, dusty Sahel, Part II

Bossabina II and De Gaulle are two adjacent villages in the northwestern Central African Republic (CAR), near the border with Chad and Cameroon.  From 2003 until 2008, this area was plagued by armed bandits and rebels, who carried off anything they could find, including crops, livestock, and what few personal belongings people may have had.  Children were kidnapped and held for ransom, and some villages were burnt and villagers killed.  The people of this region are poor, and the area, part of the Sahel, is hot and dry, with little surface water. 


From February 1 to 12, PASE (the French acronym for the Water Management Project of EELRCA - the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic) built five spring boxes.   Original plans included only one, or possibly two spring boxes, but the community response was so overwhelming that PASE decided to build five spring boxes total.  Between 100 and 200 villagers volunteered every day to carry rocks and buckets of sand on their heads to the work sites, and to assist in digging out the springs so that pipes could be installed. 


 In the photo above, a Fulani girl gets water from one of the five springs, Girgiri 2, to fill up the basin, which she will carry home on her head.  Many Fulanis, a primarily Muslim ethnic group, live in this area.  Although the work was sponsored by Lutherans, local Muslims were among the volunteers and will benefit from this project as well.  While we were working at one of the springs, an elderly Muslim man arrived.  He prayed for our work and asked God to bless us.  The villagers sang and danced at the completion of the spring boxes, which will provide an additional 50,000 gallons (200 cubic meters) of clean water per day to the two villages. 




Joe and Deborah Troester are ELCA missionaries in Baboua, the Central African Republic. Joe serves as technical advisor for PASE, which provides clean drinking water and promotes good hygiene and sanitation to villagers. Pastor Deborah teaches at the Theological School in Baboua. 

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