Clean Water

Nigerian Village Welcomes New Well

October 26, 2023

Nigeria is nestled within the western curve of Africa as it turns to the south, situated just above the Equator. Waves from the Gulf of Guinea lap Nigeria’s shores, and the country holds the record for the highest population on the continent. Nigeria’s people come from diverse backgrounds, but they endure similar water-related health hazards from village to village, including severe cases of malaria, cholera and intestinal diseases.

On the southern coast of Nigeria, the Akwa Ibom State sits isolated between rivers. Even more remote, the Ishiet Erong Village is located in the Akwa Ibom State as home to the Iman Ibom people. Victor Nyong (pictured below, center) is HHI’s talented and ambitious trainer for Nigeria, and he reports that this wonderful group of people is known for their dynamic and intelligent personalities and rich cultural heritage. Their land consists of dry valleys, expansive plains, and a critical lack of access to clean water. 

Ever resourceful and industrious, the people of Ishiet Erong work hard on their farms growing oil palm trees (producing an edible oil used for cooking), cassava (a starchy root vegetable, like a potato) and other vegetable crops. Many women in the village sell baked goods to boost their income, and because the Gulf is nearby, their economy includes a market for fish, oysters, crab and shrimp.

Sifon Akpan lives in Ishiet Erong, operating a local food eatery for her community. On a typical day, she rises at 4:00 in the morning in order to make the long trek necessary to hunt for usable water before returning to open her business. She reports a daily “survival of the fittest” mindset as residents compete to gather the cleanest option before it’s gone. Many times, the water is polluted anyway, and Sifon must resort to pricey purchases from vendors taking advantage of the situation. Concerned for her fellow citizens, Sifon says, “I have many of my neighbors that cannot afford pure water… [they drink] the water from the stream, after allowing it to settle for a while.” 

Despite varied options for business and sustenance, the Ishiet Erong Village has suffered tremendously from a growing mortality rate due to contaminated water. Most recently, residents endured compounding outbreaks of typhoid, cholera, diarrhea and skin infections, all attributed to the use of a shallow well that was compromised by faulty sanitation and poor hygiene practices. The community has mourned many deaths–especially women and children, who have been affected the most.

Itoro Akwa raises her children in Ishiet Erong. Drinking stream water has resulted in frequent hospital visits for them all, due to abdominal pains and coughing fits. When she took her son to the hospital, “the doctors said he had typhoid fever, and we were warned to stop drinking the stream water. But can we stop fetching from the stream when we have no other water source here?”

And the answer is YES… now, they can stop drinking from the dirty stream.

Because of HHI’s caring and faithful donors, the Clean Water team has been able to reach Ishiet Erong, drilling a life-saving borehole on the shared grounds of the Church of Christ and Primary School there. This deep well accesses potable water within the bedrock layers of the earth, so that the Iman Ibom people do not have to settle for small, risky puddles filled with bacteria. They can count on easy access to clear, refreshing water to quench their thirst, to use for cooking, bathing, and watering crops and livestock. 

After training in healthy hygiene skills and proper sanitation guidelines to help them keep the borehole running at its most helpful capacity, the people of Ishiet Erong have stepped into a new chapter in life. They are grateful, and they are thriving.

Brother Benjamin is a Minister in the Church at Ishiet Erong, and he insists that the borehole has tapped into a new beginning for the village. “Thank you HHI for transforming the entire church and the community. Thank you for the love you have demonstrated. May God bless HHI.” 

Brother Akpan also works for the Church in the village, and he believes the borehole will improve fellowship and directly help the church in practical ways: “It is indeed a wonderful and valuable gift. We cherish this kind gesture. The Church will now find it easy to access water for cooking meals… [and] church items can be easily washed, such as communion cups, chairs and clothes.”

Clean Water is essential to life, and HHI’s donors understand that concept so well. Thank you for your concern, and for making an impact on the other side of God’s great world. We are all created in His image, and we are knitted together to need fresh water (physically), and living water (spiritually). By supporting Clean Water, you are providing both to the family of God, and your decision will positively affect generations to come.

As God promises to restore His people in the prophecy in Ezekiel, we must lift each other up as we take our walk through this life: “I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.” – Ezekiel 36-25-27