New well brings hope to Liberia community

College View, Liberia

College View is a newly established community in Sanniquellie in Nimba county on the Church of the Nazarene's Liberia Central District. College View became accessible in 2011 and gained its name from the Nimba County Community College, the only government-formed institution of higher education in the Nimba province. The town of College View only has one road that leads to it, limiting its accessibility for a population of 10,000 people, which has been growing rapidly in recent years.

Like most new and growing areas in Liberia, the town lacks roads, schools, clinics, and potable water. However, this new area has two major churches, and one of them is the Church of the Nazarene.

College View suffers a water crisis every dry season. A standard borehole that goes down about 50 to 75 feet to access an aquifer only supplies water during the rainy season and costs US$100. The water, however, is not drinkable. Digging a well that would access potable water from a hand pump costs at least $1,000, and the cost has made it difficult for a family or community to dig such a well. 

The people of College View get their water from two private pumps that both run dry during the winter, leaving residents with no option but to fetch water from the community college's hand pumps, which also run dry. The security agents at the college sell the water for 50¢ (U.S.) per 20 liters. Since the dry season lasts from December through April, large families have to use more money — between US$50 and US$100 for the four months — to get water for drinking, cleaning, washing, cooking, and bathing. In addition to the cost, fetching water is the job of women and school-aged children, who must wake up early to fetch the water and arrive late to school.

"During the dry season, I usually went to school very late because I had to fetch water from the college about 20 minutes walk from my house," said Layti, a local student. 

In July, World Hope, in partnership with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, was able to drill a well down 167 feet that has brought clean, potable water for the first time for the people of this community. 

The community has taken ownership of this project by helping with drilling and monitoring. There is also a committee in place to care for and maintain the pump. The community chairman, Chief Peter Vonleh, describes the hand pump project as a great relief given the community, adding, "We will do everything to maintain the pump and keep it running." 

Madam Louban, chairlady elected for the hand pump, told women in the community there is a need for the women to take full responsibility of the water pump because they and their children are the primary users of the pump. 

Some in the community have noted the number of people using the pump and have expressed concern that the well will run dry. Engineers have confirmed that the pump was drilled into a porous aquifer that will never run out of water, no matter what season of the year. The community has placed open and closing times on the pump to keep the pump from being damaged, not because of the water supply. 

Madam Cooper Duo, who donated the land on which the pump sits, said the impact of the project is beyond significant.

"We have suffered water crisis over the years, and we need to maintain this God-given opportunity so that our children don't start suffering again," she said.  

The community of College View is thankful for this gift of water and hope for their community. 

--Church of the Nazarene Africa Region via Out of Africa

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