Thursday, November 20, 2014

Akipi! Akipi! Akipi!

My welcome into the home of Augustine and Grace in Bobol village was incredible. Grace was so excited to see the three of us. We were treated to the fun-filled high pitch whooping of an African women and the Lord was praised in our honour. They were thrilled to have  a borehole in their village and honoured to have an opportunity to properly thank WaterAid for their role in facilitating this.

Augustine taking to Jenine and Nicole
Instantly, the differences to Ojolai were evident. The people seemed happier and better dressed and shod. Their house is delightful. Augustine took great pride in showing me around, with different buildings for each room. The latrine was a massive improvement on Deborah and Michael's in terms of cleanliness and construction with a tipi-tap contraption for hand washing. The range of crops and fruit grown were much wider too. Augustine showed off his cows. In rural Uganda, people invest their savings in cows. He currently had 6, down on 12 from last year. He is about to sell his surplus rice crop and buy two more.

I went to the borehole to collect water. The water from the pump was clean and the atmosphere there was happy and relaxed. It had been installed in 2012. As part of the programme, some hand pumps mechanics had been trained in the community. The villagers pay a subscription of 1000 shillings a month (25p) to cover maintenance. Later on Augustine took us to the swamp where they used to collect water. It was just that. A filthy muddy mess with evident soil erosion and shared with all the animals. It is not difficult to see the difference.

Augustine and Grace could both speak excellent English and were very knowledgable. They had 8 children ranging in age from 30 to 14 and they had managed to send them all to private boarding school in Soroti, the nearest town, costing around 400,000 shillings a term (£100). They clearly were wealthier than Deborah and Michael. However, some of this was definitely related to the change in outlook since the water, sanitation and hygiene programme was implemented in Bobol. They said that they no longer get sick from drinking the water, so they are healthier and need to buy fewer medicines. They spend less time collecting water and so have more time to tend crops and improve their homestead. The animals looked considerably healthier too, so both the food and income from selling them has improved. They both said it had 'changed their lives' for the better. I would call it a revolution.

No comments:

Post a Comment