Wata (Water) is one of the most important compounds to Geechee culture. The water carried us from Africa to the New World (America). The water also helped our ancestors break away from bondage. Wade in the Water was a popular negro spiritual that our ancestors sang to alert others escaping slavery to hide in the water so the human traffickers (slave owners) wouldn’t get them. For some Geechee churn that grew up in food desert communities, water was the only thing we had to drink until the first of the month when the food stamps came. Sometimes, that aint even been guaranteed.
Today, we took a trip to Blackville, SC to fill our jugs with healing water from God’s Acre Healing Springs. On our trip, we met an elderly Black fella and a few Black families. The elderly fella was from the area and he told us stories about the Healing Spring. He started coming to the spring when he was 13 years old and told us “you gotta have faith in da wata fa it to work”. According to the legend, Native Americans healed four wounded British soldiers during the American Revolution by taking them to this spring. Currently, people from all over the world collect water from this spring to receive healing benefits.
Not all the stories we discovered on our journey was happy. Some families from Denmark, South Carolina visit the Healing Springs because the water in their town is not safe for human consumption. According to CNN, the city of Denmark has been adding a chemical known as HaloSan to the water supply. “The chemical was not approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency”
As yall boi see, da wata is more than just a liquid to us Geechee folk. Da Wata carried us, saved us, healed us and kept our bellies full when needed.
Visit God’s Acre Healing Springs located in Blackville, South Carolina to get a taste of da healing.
“Wata Da Food Ya Drink Da Stay Live” – Geechee Proverb
Translation: Water is sometimes in food desert communities as a substitute for food to stay alive.