Why was WellHaLo founded?

The WellHaLofoundation was founded on April 16th 2014 with the aim of supplying clean drinking water to the Gambian population, because water is a staff of life and a prerequisite for a healthy life. The North East of Gambia is lacking of water. Clean drinking water starts with sustainable water wells. We also realise other structural improvements, like rebuilding the bridge or realise a medical post.

I founded WellHaLo, because when I was on holiday in West Gambia in 2013 I saw with my own eyes how poor the Gambian people are. In Western Gambia I soon had good contact with the Gambian people. One of them was Hamat Jallow, a man who worked at the hotel. He told me what life in Gambia is like and how poor the people are. As my guide he took me to several areas in Gambia. I was devastated by the misery and especially the poverty, that I needed a few days to recover. That’s why I decided to go back to Gambia in February 2014 to do something about it. I couldn’t live with myself, living in Holland with all the luxury, while people there are suffering.

Hamat Jallow was my guide in February for three weeks and he took me to his village Kerr Sulay, in the Middle East of Gambia. The West still has some luxury. Here it was like I was living in a documentary of National Geographic, but with the bitter reality. We were in the land of nowhere, dry land, dry bushes, with dirt roads and the only green I saw where the Baobabtrees, the only trees that bare fruit. These trees are green because their roots go very deep into the ground.

Before we went to Kerr Sulay Hamat took me to another village first where they’ve built a sustainable waterwell on solar energy. The well wasn’t finished yet, but working. These waterwells are relatively expensive, about 7500 euro, but will last a very long time. The traditional waterwells with a generator that are used in most villages have a great disadvantage: they need oil and most of the time there is no money for oil. The wells will silt and are a source of infectious diseases, because all kinds of insects like the malariamosquito lay their eggs in the water.

In the village with the sustainable well I saw with my own eyes what clean water yields. The people had a piece of land where they had planted fruittrees and rice.

My immediate thought was: “Gambia needs more of these wells and I am going to help.”
When we were traveling to Kerr Sulay I saw that there were lots of villages on these dry plains with just dust, dead trees, underdeveloped and without any form of luxury.In Kerr Sulay it became clear to me. Hamats village is about 75 kilometers of the village with the solar well. Kerr Sulay only has a dried out well with dirty water. I was bewildered. How can these people cope? How do they survive? Well, just by drinking the polluted water from their well.

I took a lot of medicines with me against diarrhea, but never enough to help the people in the village. I saw children with such big bellies that the veins where visible and with eyes that said that their young lives would soon be over. I was so upset. Some teenage boys told me that this was the only way. There was no other water than the water they were drinking.

The people there had great hospitality and gave me a very warm welcome.They were very friendly and sweet.

My decision was easily made: I had to do something about this. I could never watch myself in the mirror if I wouldn’t. There was no way back for me. On Facebook I told my friends and family about my plans and they reacted with great enthusiasm. Their reactions made my decision even stronger.