This project has been completed under the direction of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Jasmine Keefe. To read about the start of the project, CLICK HERE.
The project was designed to build a new borehole and install an electric pump, tower, and storage tank.
“These days we will not be in shortage of water anymore; we have our own water around our area, ya da mo ase paaa! [We thank you very much!]” – A widow rejoicing at the opening ceremony of the Jamera Mechanized Borehole
This is the heartwarming conclusion to a six-year saga that has finally put my conscience to rest and has resulted in celebration and great relief for the 3,000 villagers of Jamera.
It all began in 2013 when I was living in Ghana as a Peace Corps volunteer. I had heard about a small farming village called Jamera on the other side of my market town, about a half day’s journey from the village where I lived. Unlike a lot of Ghanaian tribes who have ceased practicing many of the traditions of their forefathers, the people here still hold onto many of their important tribal customs. This includes the celebration of their annual Sumgbee Festival which marks the beginning of yam season. Excited to witness a true Juju festival and be immersed in a yearly revival of what the Nafana tribe and other local tribes were like in generations past, I made plans with friends to attend. The festival was an incredible display of ancient cultural tradition that included wrestling matches; other physical challenges and feats of strength; parades of chiefs, queen mothers and elders; dances, drumming, music, and festivities. While there, the eldest of the two chiefs of the village thanked us all for attending and entreated us to come back one day and help the village. He blessed us with the desiccated tail of an elephant and held our hands. I didn’t know if I would ever be able to return, let alone help those gracious people in any way, but I held this memory in my heart and hoped to return to it as my life unfolded.
Three years later, I had the opportunity to return to Jamera, this time wearing a different hat as the nonprofit founder of Change the World of One. While officially visiting with the chiefs and elders I asked them to explain the most pressing issues that their villagers were facing. Without hesitating, the chief elaborated on how his people were struggling to gain access to clean water after the tragic breakdown of one of their only three boreholes. Women and children had to wait in line for hours every day to pump water from the ground using only two functional hand pumps. Alternatively, they could walk several miles to the neighboring village. Sometimes, they even collected dirty stream water from “the bush” which is notorious for harboring water-borne illnesses. Creating a safer and more efficient means of collecting potable water would change the lives of the 3,000 villagers immensely.
Of all the issues identified by the chief, water accessibility was the most crucial. I made a solemn promise to him and the people of Jamera that somehow, I would find a way to help them address their needs. At the time, I didn’t know when or how I would do this but I knew I wouldn’t stop until I came through on my promise.
Years later, I discovered Water Charity. I was amazed at their efficiency and the number of sustainable, meaningful projects that they’ve accomplished around the world that have changed so many lives. I eagerly wrote a proposal to create the very first mechanized borehole in Jamera and submitted it with my heart in my throat. Soon it was returned with a declaration of support. Ecstatically, I contacted my on-the-ground country director in Ghana to tell him that thanks to Water Charity, Jamera’s dire need for water would finally be answered!
Three years after I made the promise to the chief, construction began. The work went well. The whole community pitched in to clear the land and mold the concrete blocks for the structure. Men, women, and children milled curiously around the construction site for weeks as professional borehole engineers sank their tools deep into the earth pulling out layer upon layer of different colored soils and sands. Finally, they tapped into the abundant wellspring of life far below the villagers’ feet and pumped it up to the surface where they dipped in a dented tomato tin and passed it around for everyone to sip. It took time for the project to be assembled, wired, electrified and painted. Schoolchildren continued waiting hours each day at their hand pump boreholes before eagerly rushing to the work site after school to watch the progress.
Finally, the long-awaited day arrived. The chiefs and elders held a ceremony around the brightly painted purple structure topped with a sturdy polytank full of clean cool water that had been pulled from the ground using a motor-driven submersible pump. After speeches, pouring of libations to the gods and much shaking of hands, the four taps were opened and water poured forth into buckets, cans, and metal head-pans. In that instant, the future for thousands of villagers changed dramatically. Children are now able to arrive at school on time and have a better chance of staying in school and pursuing higher education. They have more time to complete their homework, help with other chores, and play. Women have more time to attend to the multitude of life-sustaining activities that they tend to day after day. Babies and children are bathed in clean water. There’s an abundance of water for everyone to drink, clean with, cook with, bathe in and enjoy. Water is life and now Jamera’s access to it has multiplied exponentially.
“Americans never forget their promises, in fact, we are even short of words, God richly bless them, tell them we say “mugyaso” [thank you to] them.” – Nana Sah Fufuo II, the elder chief of Jamera
Water Charity has made this project possible and in doing so has changed the lives of so many in Jamera. Thank you from the wellspring of our heart!
We extend our thanks to Jasmine for completing this important project. We are happy to have been able to collaborate to allow her to help fulfill the needs of Jamera.