LENGTH: 89 minutes
DIRECTOR: Aissa Maiga
Nominee for Golden Eye, Cannes
Houlaye is a 12-year-old girl who lives in the small semi-nomadic settlement of Tatis in Niger, in the region of the Sahel, an arid belt of land running between the Sahara and the tropical zone whose population and livestock is increasingly threatened by climate change and water crisis. Every day she and her friends must walk several kilometres to fetch the family’s water from hand-dug wells, whose availability depends on the whims of climate and season. The villagers have asked the local schoolteacher to write a letter asking for help and the groundwater tests show that, as in many areas of the Sahel, there are unimaginably large quantities of fresh water just 200 metres below the surface of their land. The challenge is to access it. It is a long process to convince the government to sink a borehole and give them access to the water, but inspiration comes fromHoulaye’s aunt Suri and the schoolteacher. A moving story of the search is told through Houlaye, revealing the everyday life of this small community and its relationships as it moves towards the promise of a new life. She and her generation have much to gain from a successful outcome, as continuous access to fresh water means the community will be able to adapt to climate change.The villagers have been literally ‘walking on water’.
“From one end of the globe to the other, water is becoming increasingly scarce – for a billion people access to safe drinking water is almost non-existent……a crisis with huge consequences. As a result, millions of families spend their lives trying to get access to water.”– Director Aissa Maiga.