A Job for Hercules

A JOB FOR HERCULES: In the Azawak, wells are rare and dispersed throughout the region in such a way that most people live several to many kilometers away, sometimes over 15 km.  

Even those that live near a well do not have easy access to water.  The wells are 75 to 140 meters deep; accessing the water below requires expensive equipment and donkeys.  

It also takes having at least one strong man in the family.  While girls are the main water searchers, if they do not have a big brother or father to accompany them to the well, they cannot retrieve a single drop of liquid no matter how hard they try.  Simply filling up the water container that collects water at the bottom of the well requires Herculean effort.  

In this photo, taken at a deep well over 120 meters deep, both a man and a teenage boy haul and heave to fill up the water container.  Once the container is filled, five to six donkeys pull the water up to the surface.  The process is repeated over and over again, making retrieving water exhausting to all involved.