Access to clean water- a personal story

It is BLOG ACTION DAY 2010 today and the theme for this year is access to clean water and the effects of lack of access to clean water on communities’ world wide and this is something that is very close to my heart.

Like most folk that grew up in rural Africa my family home didn’t have running water and we had to collect rain water into huge water tanks on either side of the house. This process involved trapping the water from the roof using pipes and guide into the water tanks. As you can see from the video clip below recorded by my good friend @tmsruge this method provides access to a large quantity of clean water and doesn’t take up any time at all.

But there was the dry spell and in my day this run from December to February, this was the time that we were at home for the “summer” . It didn’t rain much back then or not at all,  but  it would appear that the seasons have changed the last time I was in Uganda in December it rained nearly everyday.

During this dry spell we had to collect water from a local spring that was 30 minutes away from the house and involved crossing a main road. We would carry the water back on our heads in 20 litre cans and we sometimes had to do this twice a day.

If the farm help couldn’t  find water for the animals we had to collect water for the animals too.

But this water was never safe to drink and in fact if you looked closely you could see mosquito larvae or certainly what I thought was mosquito larvae. We would then have to boil it as this was the surest way of killing off any germs before we could use it.

Given all this we treasured every drop of the water that we had access to  and fortunately for us children we were at boarding school for the best part of the year so we never had to miss lessons in search of clean water. In addition only a small part of our holiday time was assigned to this activity as mother had worked out a way for us to use the water more effectively.

Fast forward to 2010, 40 years and the whole scenario I have described above are still true for a lot of children and for some it is worse.

They are not a t boarding school and their day begins at 5.30AM because they have to collect water before going to school.

They get sick because the water they have access to is disease causing.

They miss school because they are ill.

They are unable to gain meaningful employment as adults because they dropped out of school due to illness that can be attributed to disease causing water

The women can’t  commit time to income generating activities, they have to collect water and boil it to ensure it is safe

Folk in rural Africa keep animals for food as well as well as for income, animals need water too, so water must be found for them too as they will die and the family will have nothing to sell to pay for education, health care or food.

So today I appeal to you folk- lets break the cycle of disease causing water in Ruhanga SW Uganda

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