Historias 7 de 9
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A drilling team arrives in a little village close to Ouaninou in the Western part of Ivory Coast. They are greeted with celebrations and excitement.
The team is armed with satellite readings and maps that show them where they will find water. The whole village, especially the women, turn out to watch them as they start work, delighted at the thought of clean water for the whole year. No more long daily walks to water points in the dry season. No more suffering from the guinea worm, and no more sad funerals of people who die before their time.
Everyone leaves their work to see with their own eyes the water rushing out of the ground like fireworks. The teachers have to stop teaching, because the students run from the classrooms to be there when the miracle happens.
But the miracle does not happen at once. The first hole finds nothing and the drilling workers shift their equipment and carry on in the stifling heat, maps in hand. Little by little the villagers leave the drilling site and take up their daily activities again. As the days go by the team moves its truck to a number of different places. The satellite data says there is water. The powerful drill comes up empty. Almost three days of intense labour and not a trace of water. Their hopes turn to despair, drop by drop, in silence.
The old man watches for three days. Every time the team starts work, he is there in his chair. He admires the tenacity of the workers, and he assumes that their impressive technology will solve their problems.
But by the evening of the third day, the old man cannot contain himself. He approaches the man in charge, who can no longer look the villagers in the eye. He stares instead at the dusty ground. The old man says: ‘I admire your courage. You are doing everything in your power to give us water, but may I give you some advice? In my long life I have observed that nature teaches us everything we need to survive on this earth.
‘The water runs beneath the earth in small brooks. We cannot see these little brooks beneath the earth, but they exist. I have noticed that in the dry season the termite hills continue to grow. And termites need a lot of water. They look for water in the brooks deep down in the earth. I know the location of the termite hills in the fields around the village. I will show you. Put your machine there. You will find water.’
The next morning the drill is in place. The team starts drilling. By noon the village has water.
Dirección web - http://www.irc.nl
Autor - Jean Yves Clavreul
Idioma(s) - English
Origen geográfico - Ivory Coast
Derechos - Extracted from Water Stories, © IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, 2003