Hubei team helps bring clean water to millions in Ghana
A construction team from Wuhan, Hubei province, has helped ease difficulties in obtaining drinking water for nearly 8 million Africans over the past 20 years.
The team, which has provided supplies of pure underground water, began to dig the first well in February 1998, and now 4,700 wells have been built in the northern provinces of Ghana, West Africa — about the same number as there are in Hubei.
Despite a wealth of gold and ivory resources, Ghana’s infrastructure had declined and people had relatively low living standards, earning the equivalent of about 10 yuan ($1.40) a day.
According to the World Bank, 31.9 percent of the population was still living below the poverty line in 2005.
In particular, some villages in remote mountainous areas found it hard to obtain drinking water, which was only available during the rainy seasons.
Li Baohong, one of the initial eight members of the Hubei construction team, said the first time they arrived in Ghana’s Upper East Region, many women and children spent a lot of time searching for water.
Some children even developed edema, an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin and in body cavities, due to a type of parasite that existed in ponds, said Li, who was 29 at the time.
“We have experienced and witnessed cholera and malaria, which we had only read about in books,” he said. “The difficult living conditions encouraged us to speed up the construction of wells.”
Nearly 50 percent of the regions in Ghana suffered from lack of water resources, Li said.
During the dry seasons, some residents could only use water they drew from ponds.
“What is worse, some ponds are used by animals and humans,” Li said. “Water pollution will have a serious effect on humans.”
The demand for clean drinking water has increased in tandem with the country’s growing population.
The wells that have been constructed have largely helped to improve people’s living standards, with water and electric pumps and overhead power lines being set up.
Ghanaians often brought sheep and guinea fowls to the construction team, Li said, adding, “We were very touched by some villagers who used traditional rituals to pray for the team.”
Li’s team also faced some difficulties when drilling the wells. Extreme temperatures took their toll on some of the members, and the local food was also a challenge.
Meanwhile, China has been strengthening poverty relief exchanges with Africa.
According to Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, the country has held 133 poverty reduction seminars and shared its experience with 3,587 poverty reduction practitioners from 133 countries and regions, including 2,122 representatives from 52 countries in Africa.
Liu made the comments at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 2018 in Beijing in August.
“China and African countries have accumulated rich experience in self-development and poverty reduction. China is willing to strengthen exchanges with African nations to benefit both parties,” he said.
The global community has hailed exchanges of poverty relief experiences. During a tour of successful relief projects in Bijie, Guizhou province,