Clean Water for Takui, Cameroon

As part of its ongoing work to support the health of the region, the Himalayan Institute Cameroon in partnership with the Honesdale Rotary has started construction on a water catchment system in the village of Takui in Northwest Cameroon. The installation will harvest water that flows from a local spring and channel it into an easily accessible and clean well.

The old Takui water tap (above) was dirty and poorly managed. Without a catchment container, the water flowed constantly during the rainy season and was often dry during the dry season.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with the traditional village council and the majority of the labor has been done by local residents. “It was important for us to get the full support of the local community,” said HIC staff member Ntani Divine. “You can dig a well with only a few people, but it takes the whole community to keep a well clean and functional.”

Community members help carry small stones…

..and big stones, too!

On the first day of construction there was a huge outpouring of community support. “Even the village elders were carrying stones and concrete. Today we really saw true community spirit! The people are happy for what HI is doing to provide water for them as they have been suffering from water problems for a very long time,” said Ntani. “For those who couldn’t work, like elderly women, you will see them watching babies and babysitting the children of those people who could work. Even elderly men who could not work came out in great numbers to give courage and support to all of the workers.”

Here is a sketch of what the water catchment system will look like when it is complete.

One of the grandmothers of the village named Beri Vi Mbang, speaking in the local dialect, said, “I did not think that I would drink such beautiful, clean water in my lifetime.”

Living in the United Stated it is difficult to wrap our minds around her sentiment, to fully appreciate the value of clean water which is so often taken for granted in our part of the world. Next time you go to turn on your faucet, do a mental experiment: imagine what it would be like to have to walk over a mile every time you wanted to fill up your glass. For the people of Takui, clean water is now a little bit closer to home, and that will make a world of difference.

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