|Members of Legacurry Presbyterian Church who left for Burkina Faso today (Fridayl. Clockwise from left is: Craig Finlay, Robert McCullagh, John Urey and Ian Thompson.
A NUMBER of local peopleset off from Lisburn today (Friday) for Burkina Faso, where they will spend the next two weeks drilling wells for the local villages.
Craig Finlay, Robert McCullagh, John Urey and Ian Thompson, who are all members of Legacurry Presbyterian Church, will remain in the West African nation until January 31, where their work will provide water for approximately 1,500 people.
Members of Legacurry Presbyterian first visited the country in 2003, when 18 parishioners worked on various projects involving schools and young people in the region. Whilst there they discovered there was a real need for a water supply and a team from the Church provided the first wells in 2005.
One member of the team, Robert McCullagh, who is visiting for the third time explained: "Burkina Faso is the third or fourth poorest nation on the world scale. Following the first overseas visit we linked up with Friends in Action, who assist missionary groups around the world, and we drilled our first well in 2005 before visiting again in 2007 and now 2009."
The group, who will link up with the Christian charity READ, who locate areas in need of a well, hope to drill three wells whilst on the mission. However, if circumstances allow, they will drill more.
Robert said: "We hope to get three done, but we may get more, it depends on the ground conditions. Some can be quite difficult and take two to three days and others can be done in a day.
"Each well costs £5,000 and provides water for about 500 people, so we have raised £15,000 for this trip. This is the 12th well we will have sponsored.
"Over the years we have provided 6,000 people with clean, fresh water."
Robert said the group will return to the country in future, if they are able to. "If we can, we will go back again," commented Robert. "There is still a massive need there." Those from Legacurry have helped with a variety of projects in Burkina Faso throughout the years, as Robert explained, "The team go out and help build classrooms for a school. One man helped to look at farming methods there, helping them to plant potatoes at a deeper level. People had thought they would lose the potatoes if they put them down any further.
"We're looking at projects that provide food and water. The vision is obviously looking at supporting people to develop."
Robert concluded, "Whilst the people are extremely poor, we can learn quite a lot from them. The people spend a disproportionate amount of time looking for food and water, yet they show a resilience and happiness that is a lesson to us all here."