by Virginija Mickute, OFS
Kongo is a village community in the Nabdam district in the northeast region of Ghana with around 150 households and a Spiritual Renewal Centre (SRC) run by Capuchin friars. SRC is comprised of the Immaculate Conception Church, a retreat centre and a Marian Grotto, making it a popular pilgrimage site. Twice a year, during major celebrations (Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and Feast of the Assumption), it attracts up to 5,000 pilgrims.
Well4Africa water project involved drilling a borehole (over 40 metres deep), installing an electric pump, two large water tanks and a pipe system. The pump room, water storage and water collection centre were built, so that safe drinking water could be conveniently accessible to both the local community and thousands of pilgrims. On 10 January 2021, the community of Kongo celebrated the blessing of the borehole (photos above and below).
The project was mainly intended for the pilgrims who come to the Spiritual Renewal Centre at Kongo. Before that, there were two water boreholes with hand pumps in the area. However, during summer season, the water supply was not sufficient for the whole community. People had to walk two or more kilometres to fetch water. The problem was even more acute during pilgrimage days: apart from long lines waiting for water, it was often not enough of it to meet the daily needs of pilgrims. Now pilgrims have free access to the water facility, which makes the environment cleaner and allows the pilgrims to attend the pilgrimage programme without having to walk long distances to get water. The borehole serves fifty families living near the Spiritual Renewal Centre to meet their daily water needs. The Capuchin Friars of Kongo are in charge of the maintenance of this borehole.