Westfield, Jamestown Rotary Clubs Team Up To Build Water Wells In Niger

Sue Hammond and Jim Wakeman are a husband-and-wife team from the Westfield/Mayville Rotary Club who traveled to Niger, Africa, to visit water wells build in remote communities.

Niger, Africa is located in the middle of the continent and is pure desert. It is the poorest country in the world. Only 20 percent of its children attend school because it is the children’s job to carry water from the source back to their families, usually over many miles. The people exist on farming, uranium and gold mining and raising onions.

Hammond, Wakeman and other members of the group traveled from New York City to Niamey, Niger. In Niger they met a Peace Corps volunteer who served as a guide and translator. The Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Jamestown and Wakeman and Hammond all donated $2,000 each to build three wells in Niamey. The wells are hand-augured 15 meters into the ground and are usually located near a school or between villages. The villagers are taught how to maintain the wells and handle minor repair problems. Most importantly, when the wells are installed, it frees up the children to attend school, who before this spent between four and five hours a day gathering water for their family.

When Wakeman and Hammonds traveled to Niger they also brought suitcases filled with clothes, books and toys for the villagers.