The Memorial Well

The Brenda Mottershead Memorial Well

6 June 2001 was a great day for the Gambian village of Duntumalang. Until then, to fetch water, the women of the village were forced to make a ten mile round trip, wading waist deep through treacherous swamps to bring it back in buckets.

Water drawn from an existing well was so polluted that, not only did it cause sickness and death within the community, but bees, consuming the liquid, died within minutes.

Instead, the Brenda Mottershead Memorial Well gave them access, there in their village, to a regular supply of pure, safe water.

Brenda's well was officially opened by two representatives of Wilmslow Wells for Africa, who travelled there at their own expense. Our secretary, Helen Battilana and committee member Joyce McClure cut the tape, alongside the Akalo (village chief) and Musa Sanyang, the field officer of Schools for the Gambia, who organised Helen and Joyce's travel within Africa.

Joyce describes the final leg of the journey to the remote and isolated village as "a three-hour drive through the bush, then a mile walk on a very uneven track and arriving covered from head to toe in red dust!"

Helen remembers her first sighting of the village, rising above the surrounding swamps and crowned with a cluster of huge trees: "It gave me a feeling that people had lived here for ever."

The whole village joined in the celebrations, with singing, dancing and speeches, everyone dressed in their best clothes and greatly excited. Helen and Joyce recall amusing moments, such as the Akola offering them a huge knife to cut the tape. Helen managed to find a tiny pair of scissors in the First Aid kit as a safer alternative.

The villagers, disappointed that the visitors from Wilmslow had to leave before the celebration feast, killed their best pig, cut off its head and offered them the body "to take home".


So Brenda's well, with its gleaming memorial plaque, is a constant reminder of a
remarkable woman and a fine example of how her vision continues to be fulfilled.

Brenda Mottershead

Helen Batilana & Joyce McClure officially 'open' the Memorial Well