has always been hard, but it has got worse in recent years because the water
table has sunk dramatically in many areas of the country. A decades-long
drought has brought salty seawater far into the country up the few rivers.
Even wells bored well away from the sea are now so salty that the water is
almost undrinkable, and large numbers of people have to walk for miles to
fetch drinking water, which is often a job for women and girls. In one town
with some 5,000 inhabitants, the only deep well which had given good water
had finally also become salty. A Christian church in the town had a small
area of land, and some of the townspeople suggested drilling a well there.
Most considered it a waste of time, because a well had been dug there some
years before, and had brought only salty water. The Christians prayed, and
had the impression that they should drill the well. They hit water only 6
meters down, and the water so sweet that the first people to try it shouted
that someone had put sugar in it. Some consider it to be the best water they
have ever tasted. Every morning, 300 women wait to draw water from the well.
When all 300 are finished, the well is empty - but the next morning, it is
again full. In Senegal,
people are well aware of the symbolic nature of events: the townspeople go to
a Christian place to receive what they need to live. Every one of the
population is convinced that this is a miracle performed by the Christian
God, and even in Dakar, the capital 100 miles away, people are speaking about
the 'Christian miracle well'."