The man who builds wells in Ethiopia to save the country

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Alejandro Carballo landed in Ethiopia for the first time six years ago. He traveled from Madrid as a missionary, but he didn't want his experience to be limited to one summer. That's why he started working with “Emalikat,” a Spanish NGO that builds sustainable wells in the planet's driest regions.

“What I liked about this project was that, besides building the wells, they give agriculture courses, they provide seeds so that the people can start planting their own crops. They also built a pre-school and elementary school so that the kids there can get an education.”

Since that missionary summer during which he discovered Ethiopia, Alejandro has continued traveling to the African country every Christmas, and he has raised more than $11,000.

Building a well is no easy task. The water is found between 19 and 56 feet underground. Although digging can be done by hand, it's necessary to install cement cylinders to keep the well from collapsing.

Each well costs about $1,100 to construct, and it's shared by six families. That's 80 people who, without this water source, depend entirely on the precarious harvest they get during the rainy season.

This water source brings with it a major improvement to the community's health conditions, and it gives younger generations a more secure future.

“The men work in the fields, while the women look after the house and the children. Because the towns where they live don't have water, they have to travel far to get water from other towns. They spend all morning getting water. Once a well is built in their town, they have all that free time to go to school.”

It's a complex project that has already helped more than 7,000 people in Ethiopia. There are more than 1,000 families who benefit from the 120 wells excavated and who have begun selling many of their own locally grown products.


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