By Ndi Eugene Ndi
Glory, a Class Five pupil of Government School Zongefuh in Wum, Menchum division of the North West region, treks over 3km each day from home to school. The 10-year-old says whenever she gets to the classroom, she becomes extremely thirsty.
The desire to quench her thirst sometimes kept Glory from concentrating on her studies. GS Zongefuh has been without a good source of drinking water since it was created more than half a century ago. Water from the stream that is closest to the school does not have the qualities of good drinking water which her teacher taught them, Glory says. The pupil says she prefers being thirsty in class than drink dirty water from the stream which can cause sickness – forcing her to miss classes altogether.
The young Glory is just one among the close to 600 pupils of the school who were going through same ordeal until everything changed with the donation of a borehole to the institution this month.
Since February 11, 2022, a borehole has been put at the disposal of pupils and teachers of Government Nursery and Primary School Zongefuh (Groups One & Two). It has also been serving the community that desperately needed clean water.
Water is priority
The borehole is a gift from duo, Dr Kuchah Harry Kuchah, an illustrious son (though he ardently refuses to be addressed as such) of Aghem and Wendy Arnold, a trusted friend of Aghem.
“We initially intended to provide books, at least a Mathematics and English text and workbook for every pupil in the senior classes,” says Dr Kuchah. The benefactor explains that after concerting with the headteachers of the two groups of the school as well as the school prefects, it was overwhelming agreed that the most pressing need was water.
There is a popular saying that “water is life” and Dr Kuchah, a Basic Education Expert, no doubt understands the relevance of the adage. By the gesture therefore, the benefactors have literally given life to the pupils, teachers and the entire community by providing them with the borehole.
The 25-meter deep borehole is treated with chlorine, one of the items earlier donated by same benefactor to the Wum District Hospital during the early days of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.
Contributing to SDGs
It guarantees pure water not only for the pupils and teachers but also the community.
“We are both passionate about water and the importance of access to safe water,” says Wendy. “I am a teacher of English and access to quality education is another one of my passions which I share with Dr Harry Kuchah Kuchah,” he added.
Both water and education are among the 17 United Nations (UN)-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 4 of the SDGs aims to provide an inclusive and high-quality education which will improve the learner’s standard of living, and the community’s future. This can only however be achieved when learners are healthy and clean drinking water contributes to the good health.
More donations on the way.
According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), access to water and sanitation for all which is Goal 6 of the SDGs contributes to the achievement of most of the goals.
“We are delighted to have been able to contribute to both of these SDGs in our professional lives. Having visited Cameroon on various occasions together with Dr Kuchah, I understand the difference this will make in the lives of the children who will have access to clean water,” Wendy said further.
With their thirst now quenched with potable water from the borehole on campus, Glory and schoolmates no longer worry when they trek long distances to reach school and are now pursuing quality education free from water-related illnesses and diseases.
While parties are finalizing procedures for an official handover of the precious gift to the group of three government schools, the benefactors, described by beneficiaries as God sent, have finalized plans to offer a similar borehole to Presbyterian School Wum before the end of the dry season.