I spent the day with the family of Deborah and Michael. He is a teacher and so out at work much of the time. She runs the household. They have three sons, baby Thomas, Oscar age 4 and Pious 6.
The work was hard, but it is what they are used to. The women tend the fields, collect water, clean the house, prepare and cook food on an open fire. From scratch is just that - digging out the cassava and killing the chicken. And then there are the children to look after and the baby to wash and feed. Don't let me complain about having to keep on top of the washing!
|Deborah collecting water from the village 'well'|
The village water source was unprotected and filthy. It was disgusting to think that most of the community had to drink this water and carry it a good way. The jerry cans are 20kg each and they lift them on their heads like they weigh much less. Luckily for Deborah they were wealthy enough to have a bike and she could cycle to the nearest borehole and get water to drink. Even so, the baby got washed in the water several times a day and it was used to make tea and for cooking and bathing. It made me feel humble to be able to access clean water without thought.
The family had grasped some hygiene concepts. They encouraged us to wash our hands and had a plate drying rack. They had also dug a latrine for the family. The whole community mirrored this and we're moving in the right direction. A situation that WaterAid want to see before they start to intervene.
At the school, the same theme continued. The children were happy to see us, but clearly tired from a day at school with little water or food. However, the school was only 2 years old and the community had founded it themselves to educate their children - it was an inspiration to see what they had achieved in such a short time.
I would love to return in a couple of years and see how the village progresses with the help of WaterAid. The investment in a water supply could change the outcome for the entire community.
Let's make it happen - they are doing everything they can to help themselves already.