Ngom Rom – “Places are the same”
Ngom Rom is a small village located about 25 kms outside Gulu city. The name Ngom Rom, when translated into English, means “Places are the same”. But one thing that separated Ngom Rom from other places was that it had no clean water.
When Drop in the Bucket was first approached about drilling a well for Ngom Rom, we knew this would not be an easy project. We would be drilling in an area best described as “water stressed”. Other organizations had already tried to drill in the area and were unsuccessful. Otim Geofrey, the Mayor of Pece- Laroo, took us to meet the local community. One of the first questions we asked them was “How would the community feel if the only place we could find water was in the middle of someone’s farm, business location or house? With no hesitation, the entire community replied that they would be willing to give up some of their land if it meant everybody would get clean water.
A village with a giving spirit
We surveyed several locations to find the spot most likely to yield sufficient water for the entire village. The most promising location ended up being in a woman named Angom Hellen’s garden. The elderly woman laughed and said she would be happy to donate land for the well. “We meant what we said when we pledged that the borehole should be drilled in the best location. And if the best place had been inside my home, I would have gladly sacrificed that too”.
Auma Alice, an elected local community leader, was proud to point out that this same giving spirit was consistent while the well was drilled. The local community came out in force to help assist the drillers. They also dug a soak pit and built a fence around the well to keep it safe. Even workers from the local quarry came by to help.
“We used to depend on water from the Unyama river water.” recalls Atoo Betty, a mother of three. She shakes her head when she explains how they always found mud and other dirt settled at the bottom of the containers they used for fetching water. “We would let the water sit for a while until the dirt settled on the bottom and then we would pour off the clear water from the top of the container. We knew the water wasn’t clean, but it was cleaner than the rest, so we used it.”
The New Well
Nyeko James Laten, the Chairman of the newly formed water committee, explained how before the borehole was drilled, all of the surrounding villages got their water from the Unyama river. “People from other villages are now coming to get clean water from the borehole,” states Nyeko.
While the water committee at Ngom Rom are happy to share their water, Nyeko asked us earnestly if it would be possible for Drop in the Bucket to help these other communities by drilling them wells too. Nyeko’s face lights up with a smile as he says “The name of our village means a place like other places. Wouldn’t it be nice if every village was like ours and had clean water?”