Words by Daniel Bosley; Pictures by Aishath Naj
Not every home in every island still has the luxury of potable water in their own yard – in the city they rely on bottles, while most islanders prefer to drink harvested rainwater when they can. But those that do still have fresh groundwater will have to do a little maintenance every few months in order to keep it clean.
Here is our guide to keeping the well fresh:
1 – Take two buckets (one large, one small), one scourer and one
victim volunteer. If the well’s annual cleaning coincides with the volunteer’s, more the better.
2 – Set up your viewing platform. This is vital for the team of overseers and foremen (& women) who will ensure the job goes smoothly, and is also useful for anyone else in the neighbourhood who wishes to come by and ‘help’
3 – Get into the well and start bailing. Use the large bucket to empty the well almost to the bottom, exposing the sides in order to start scouring.
4 – Scrub, scrub, scrub, pause for breath, and scrub some more. As you work away below the island’s freshwater lens, the rainwater – filtered down through the layers of sand and stone – quickly seeps back in.
5 – When the water is almost back up to its original level, you’re scrubbing time is up. Back to bailing out the green soup you’ve created.
6 – Just as you reach the bottom again (and think you can’t take anymore), use the smaller bucket to collect the last of the dirty water before it’s diluted into the incoming fresh.
7 – Get out of the well, unless you want everyone’s English tea to be English-flavoured for the next few weeks.
8 – Rest, for tomorrow you paint it!! (Leave the viewing platform where it is).