By James Byrne - It’s been an exciting past couple of weeks for Nhanguo, a small community of maize and millet farms about 15km from the main Gorongosa gate on the road to Vila Gorongosa.
On Sunday April 27th, 2013, at 9am, the ceremony was performed. The sacred black and white cloths were laid out, maize flour was scattered on the rocks and soil, a cigarette was lit and laid in offering, and red wine was splashed around the makeshift altar. Hands clapped in unison, voices intoning their request to the spirits to grant their blessing to the plans for a borehole. The spirits approved and celebratory mugs of red wine was passed out and consumed by those old enough to drink wine. The kids celebrated with Fanta!
Photo: The drill penetrates deep beneath the surface for water. (By James Byrne)
The next day, a huge truck turned off the N1 and trundled down the dirt road to Nhanguo. People gathered to watch as the huge drill on the truck’s spine was raised and speared into the earth. Each drill piece was about 5 meters long and the workers screwed in piece after piece until the drill was 60 meters below the soil on which we stood. Every 5 meters they took soil samples and laid them out on the ground. The soil began as pale brown, then got lighter, dryer and dustier until they got closer to water. Then the soil got darker, wetter, and began to clump. The workers knew they were close to the cool, pure water hidden beneath millions of years of sediment and rock...
Photo: Soils taken from different depths. Deeper soils on the right. Top left is the surface soil. Bottom right is the wet soil close to water at 60 meters. (by James Byrne)
Finally, the water gushed from the hole, sending the children running for cover and soaking those too slow to react. Smiles as broad as the Pungue River spread across the faces of the onlookers. The women seemed especially happy. It is they that mostly bear the burden of gathering water for their families. Until today, they had to walk 7 kilometers to the nearest borehole, shouldering their heavy loads back in the hot sun. From today on, fresh, clean water will be just a few paces away!
Photo: From now on, this child from Nhanguo will enjoy fresh, clean water! (by James Byrne)
This well, and others like it, is made possible because of the Gorongosa Restoration Project and revenue from tourism in the park. You can help support the restoration by visiting the Park or donating to one of our projects.