decades of acute water shortage that continues to hit Sare Samba village, Lower
Fulladou West District of the Central River Region making it difficult for the
villagers to have portable and clean drinking water has finally become history
as the village recently commissioned its first hand pump sponsor by the
community of De Zilk village in Netherlands.
It was a day of joys for the people of the village who were for the past 20 years drinking water in an open well situated at the outskirt of the village. The population of the village is more than five hundred inhabitants which is also increasing, thus putting more demand pressure for quality drinking water. The new hand pump is worth more than two hundred thousand dalasis.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Juta Baldeh, the village alkali spoke at length on the significance of clean and portable drinking water. He recalled that due to the population increment of the village, women were queuing at the only open well for hours in search of water. “The situation get worse more especially during the raining season as the well is abandon due to the fact that the water contain some particles does making it’s not fit for drinking.”
The alkali said the women of the village use to go to Sinchu Njanko village, which is in the Naimina District of CRR about two kilometres from Sare Samba in order to have access to clean water. “The women use to go to their farms and after returning from their farms to go and fetch water using donkey or horse carts to get water. The entire people of the village are happy about your timely intervention. We will continue to pray for the people of De Zilk villages, in Holland and Lo De Haas and his wife Coby De Haas whom through them my village was able to get the water,” he said in emotion.
Juta Baldeh also thanks the chairman and founder of Foundation Hands Together for The Gambia, Herbert Damen, for his support and love for his village, adding that, Herbert was the fellow who introduced Lo De Haas and his wife Coby De Haas to the village and also informed them of the difficulties that the village was encountering more especially in term of clean water.
“We will continue to pray for all of you so that the Almighty Allah will give you long life and the strength to accomplish your development aspiration for the people of this country,” he noted, saying that garden and milling machine now remains the top challenges the people of his village are encountering with, thus urged the donors to support them on that aspect.
The Chairman of the Village Development Committee (VDC), Bubacarr Baldeh thanks all those who have contributed in ensuring that Sare Samba get a hand pump, adding that it will go a long way in preventing inhabitants of the village from drinking contaminated water.
“We have been writing to many organisation, association and individuals to help us with water for the past 20 years, but to no avail. However, when Herbert Damen introduce Lo and Coby to us within a short period, we were able to get water,” he said.
The VDC chairman said they use to faces serious water scarcity and their women finds it difficult to water their gardens at the backyards of their compound, causing many of them to abandon them, which he said is their main source of economy.
“Sare Samba village also have some domestic animals and most of the farmers too face challenges to get quality drinking water for their animals,” Baldeh explained.
Lo and Coby coming to the village to grace the occasion, the VDC chairman said, manifest how happy they are “We are so much happy because clean water was something that we were looking for the past 20 years but we just meet you people just for two days and we now get clean water.”
He said “Yesterday we don’t know you people but today I can tell you that you belong to the village and we want to have a strong partnership with the people of De Zilk village in Holland and that they are always welcome to visit Sare Samba at any time.”
He called on the donors to also help them with milling machine and a village vegetable garden. “The women of the villages use to go to the rice fields which are about 2 kilometers away from Sare Samba but due to the hippopotamus rampage on their rice fields they now abandon going to the fields. Now they are only seating in the village doing nothing. They want to do gardening in order to sustain their families’ survival but they don’t have the support.”
Both the garden and the milling machine, he added, will generate income for the people of the village. “The produce that the women will get in the garden will go a long way in fighting malnutrition among the children of the village.
Tako Baldeh, women leader in the village said “We the women of the village are so much happy about the development because going to the next village to get water was one of the challenges they were encountering with.”
Since the village was establish more than hundred years ago, she explained, clean and portable drinking water have being number one problem of the village, adding that even the one hand pump is not enough due to the fact that the population of the village is rapidly increasing.
“The entire villages within the district and the region at large are almost having garden apart from Sare Samba, thus we are soliciting support to you so that we can also have a garden. We have being knocking the doors of organizations, association among others for us to have garden and milling machine but to no avail.”
Sainabou Baldeh also a women leader in the village recalled on the struggle they use to go on in daily basis to access potable drinking water for their survival, saying sometimes they encountered extreme difficulty to access water for their household consumption.
She said the open well use to be the only source of portable water, noting that during the raining season the well is unfit for drinking as the water is full of mud. “We use to get water at Sinchu Njanko village with our 20 liters containers, which were fueling our poverty.
“Sometimes before we finish cooking launch it has to be around 5 O Clock in the evening due to the fact that we use to go to the open well and queue before we get water,” she said in emotion, adding that it was as a result of water shortage in the village.
Sainabou added that, they now finish cooking launch before five. “We now finish cooking dinner before our children sleep. We are extremely happy for the support and we will continue to pray for all of you more especially Lo and Coby, Herbert Damen and the entire people of De Zilk village.”
For his part, Lo De Haas thanks the people of the village for rousing welcome accorded to them. “We are happy that you now get clean and portable drinking water that is fit for consumption,” he said, adding that they also raise money in Holland which in turn they support Gambians communities.
He said they are also supporting Latiriya village in Kombo North District of West Coast Region and Sare Wallom village in the Jimara District of the Upper River Region, while assuring that they will look into some of the challenges that have being raised by villagers particularly on the need for garden and milling machine as Sare Samba is in their heart.
He called for the sustainability of the hand pump so that it can last long, saying that its very necessity for the village to get a garden. “We cannot promise you anything at the moment but we are going to see whether we can raise funds to support you with a garden.”
Momodou Jawo, friend to Lo and Coby and Herbert Damen who is also a native of the village thanks them for rescuing the people of his village from contaminated water which would have been catastrophic. “I cannot speak at the moment so much for the fact that am really touch. But I just want to sincerely thank you people and Herbert Damen, the people of De Zilk village, the secretary general of Foundation Hands Together The Gambia Mr. Henks and all other people that have been visiting the village for the past years.”
The ceremony ended with cultural displays showcasing the villagers’ appreciation to the donors.