Water and Culture
by John Bidwell, Segou, Mali
My village, Nampossela, is located near a stream. Between Nampossela and the stream, there is a sacred well. This well is believed to be the birthplace of the village, meaning that long, long ago someone decided to settle here after his cow stopped to drink at that spot. The well was the village's first source of water, but people no longer drink from it, or use it for washing clothes. The well is for ceremonial use only. It was the first to be repaired with cement and bricks (most wells are gaping, eroded holes) and includes a cement hump where animals are sacrificed.