Dear Friends of the Azawak,
Firstly, I hope that you are all well, and looking forward to the summer, with time away from work and school, resting and enjoying family and friends.
Here in Niger, it is summer all the time, but work does not end to help cope with the heat. The rains seem to have forgotten and bypassed Niger this year. Everyone is suffering, but those menaced the most are the villagers that count on the rain to grow millet and other crops, to have water to drink, to bathe, to give to their animals, and to simply survive.
The strenuous heat has slowed us down a bit… well, particularly me. Denis has been admirable, making the 1700 km round trip journey to the Azawak many times. The last time he was there, he and the construction company conducted a 12 hour pumping trial, to make sure that the borehole has a sustainable quantity of water. During 12 hours, water was pumped out of the borehole, and to our great relief and happiness, the water table only dropped one meter. This is really good news, and means that the borehole should not run out of water any time soon.
We also ran another test on the water quality, just to be sure that the first tests had given accurate results and that nothing had changed since February. The water is pure, and can be deemed, according to the laboratory, mineral water quality. This is also amazing news. It seems so sadly ironic that most people of the Azawak are forced to drink contaminated water, often of deadly quality, when below them – albeit 200 meters below -- pristine water runs throughout the Azawak underground floor. In Europe or in the USA, we could be selling their mineral water for a good deal of money.
I'm impatient to get this delicious and healthy water to more and more people. On Denis' last trips to the Azawak, the situation was getting more and more difficult as the shallow marsh wells had all dried up, and many of the deeper 100 meter open wells had also dried up. Finding water of any quality, good or bad, is almost impossible, and this situation won't get any better until the rains fall.
This morning, Denis left again for the Azawak with a construction team and a huge truck filled with equipment (water fountains, animal drinking basins, piping, etc.) for the Tangarwachane borehole. 30 construction workers are going to be working every day for the next few weeks to finish equipping the borehole. At the same time, the management committee is going to be established and trained by professionals from the ministry of hydraulics.
I'm traveling up to the Azawak next week to make sure everything is running smoothly, and see the end of construction, and celebrate the accomplishment of our first borehole. This is so exciting, as I'm convinced it is going to be a real success story, and will pave the way for future boreholes.
Have a wonderful summer!
Yours in peace and friendship,