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HOME | PROGRAM IN AZAWAk | a letter from the azawak

June 21, 2006
A letter from the Azawak

My Dear American Brothers and Sisters,

Photo: Moustapha
Moustapha interviewing Fulani women

My name is Moustapha. I am Tuareg from the Azawak region of Niger. I am also a member of the Nigerien NGO Water For Life (a partner of Program Amman Imman), which is actively struggling to bring water sources to the Azawak. Why the Azawak? Because my people of the Azawak are literally dying of thirst.

Once the marshes that formed during the rains dry up, we dig holes around the dried marshes searching for water that has seeped into the ground. These water holes usually provide enough drinking water for a couple of weeks, but when the rains have been good, the water can last up to one or two months. Our most extreme hardships begin once these water holes also dry up. When this happens we have to travel up to fifty kilometers (32 miles) round trip to find one of the rare wells in the area. Even then, there is no guarantee that we’ll find water there, because these wells also are prone to drying up. Sometimes entire villages are abandoned during the nine month dry season because everyone goes in search for water.

It is truly an injustice that my people are dying of thirst because there is so little water in the Azawak. In other regions of Niger, each village has at least 2 or 3 wells or more, and many times they will also have a borehole with a hand pump. This is why we -- the people of the Azawak who know that something can be done to end the extreme suffering endured by our people -- have initiated this fight to improve the lives of our people with the help of our dear friend and sister of the Azawak, Ariane Kirtley.

Photo: Moustapha
Moustapha and his cousin Heini.

With this letter I write to implore you, in the name of the entire population of the Azawak, to help us so that we may at least have enough water to drink and assuage our thirst. Help us save the lives of our children who are dying because they do not have water to drink.

I pray that my call for help will be heard by many brothers and sisters in America. I am convinced that you will do something to help us because we are in dire need. We are counting on your help for our survival.

Moustapha Alkassoum
Camp Tantigalley Teckniwen
Region of TchintabaradÈne, AzawaK

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