Last month I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Burkina Faso and document members of the Appleton Alliance Church drill water wells in remote villages of West Africa. Access to clean water in Burkina is a huge problem. The local people are forced to drink from rivers, shallow wells, and even puddles that have been infected by livestock waste. Ranked as the third poorest country in the world, nearly twenty percent of the children who live in Burkina die by the age of five due to water related illnesses. In fact, one of the workers on the drill rig came down with malaria the week we were there. The primary goal of this trip was to show that even though we, as Christians, live thousands of miles away, we care about the well being of all people. Despite the population being over half Muslim, their reaction to the gift of clean water was amazing. We were able to get three good quality wells in the Mangodara area. In return, we were given a number of chickens, a goat, and endless smiles. After seeing how hard these people struggle for basic needs, waking up to cool, clean water just steps away from my bed has taken on nothing short of a magical quality. It was a trip I will surely never forget.
Story by Michael Leschisin, Photographer, Image Studios