|Irene washing her son's face|
We are greeted by two young mothers, as we inspect a borehole site and it’s imposing solar panel roof. Its size makes it a unique site in the hilly landscape. From here one can see the seasonal Wethanga River just about a quarter mile below. We can even see the homes across the river that have no access to clean and safe water. But the World Vision Area Development Program is planning a pipeline across the seasonal river to serve the other villages. The young mothers, Irene (30) and Janet (31), look relaxed. They are going to pick some pumpkins from Janet’s field. They are relaxed because they are no longer tired from the toils of fetching water from the Wethanga River and hauling it up the hill to their homes, about 3km away.
|Janet at the borehole well|
“I used to borrow a donkey and if I didn’t get it, I carried the water on my back, a whole 20 liters (4gals), meaning I could only get the water once a day. That was water for everything – washing, cooking and bathing,” explained Irene. She followed by asking us, “Can you imagine bathing with one liter of water?” And as if to answer her own question, she retorted, “Life was so difficult.” But now it takes less than 10 minutes to get clean water near her home from the solar powered Kangondi borehole.
Janet was more graphic in her expression of the situation before, offering an emphatic explanation. “You can see for yourself how clean we look. Life before was hard especially for pregnant mothers. You would deliver a baby, and in a few days, you are forced to go for water in the river, lest the house erupts in a bad smell from uncleaned nappies (cloth diapers).” She continued, “We never dared use white or bright color clothes for lack of clean water for washing. In the rainy season, only then we could harvest a little clean water for washing them.” Sometimes they didn’t wash the vegetables or the food they needed to cook because of limited water. Janet has 3 children and her firstborn Morris, 13, is sponsored by World Vision. Irene has 2 children, 10 and 3. Both mothers can now collect clean water near their homes and have the time to do other duties, like harvesting pumpkins at Janet’s farm.
|Irene’s daughter Mercy washes her hands at school|
We met Janet’s son Morris and Irene’s daughter Mercy, both at the Kangondi school, looking bright and healthy. Their stories represent that of many in the village. Stories of relief after World Vision provided the Kangondi water pipeline project. The water committee chairman, Pastor Chris, tells us how many didn’t believe that the solar power would manage to pump the water up 5km to the distribution tank. Many in the village were shocked when that happened. The project has 3 distribution lines from the tank, all running downhill. There are 6 water draw points (kiosks), 27 home connections, 2 schools and 5 churches all connected.
“Now there is great hope in our lives. We are clean and healthy,” says Janet. Irene concludes, “We can begin to think clearly even of other constructive things to do for our lives since the water burden has been removed.”