November saw a mixture of weather; while very hot and mostly dry there were some localised heavy downpours of rain- fortunately not in the areas we were wanting to travel. Those dirt tracks can soon become absolutely impassable, as we know from past experiences!!! On this occasion our journeys took us frequently up into the mountains where village women climb up and down very steep paths to fetch the daily water requirements carrying buckets weighing, when full, anything up to twenty kilos. Wow!! some in our party found it difficult to make it without any bucket at all! On reaching the water source, sometimes a little trickle and sometimes a fair flow, the women wait in turn to fill their buckets and that can take a long time. We are now raising funds to build ‘spring boxes’ for these villages so the water can build up and be stored while being protected from any contamination and then be accessed by a tap. If habitation is below the source, pipelines will bring the water closer.
Another long, straddling village on one hill has a strong flow of water on a hill some distance away. Rather than make the long, strenuous journey down and up to fetch the water, holes have been dug in the valley between. The water within is dirty and readily dries out so we are trying to raise sufficient funds to install a gravity pipeline crossing the valley to carry the clean spring water to the 3,000 inhabitants, giving them taps at six different locations through the village so that all will have a much easier access. In time we would like to extend the pipeline to a neighbouring village with a population of 2600 – when we can raise the large sums needed.
A well is under construction by DAK in a Maasai village we visited which is normally very dry and where we found water with a terrible, dirty colour; it had come down from a village where the night before there had been very heavy rain that had swept away houses killing many inhabitants. Cattle were stood in it and children were drinking it.
The women are all thrilled to know they will soon have some good clean water to drink within easy reach.
We visited many more villages needing DAK’s help.
For a number of domestic reasons at home no visit was made during 2010, but now in 2011 we have been to see the present situation. Following a very poor ‘short rains’ season, in fact in some areas practically no rain at all; we saw acres of dead maize. This of course was a great concern to those villagers who rely on their harvest, not only for their own diet, but also for a small income. However the ‘long rains’ season, although not bountiful, has brought a more optimistic looking crop.
We were delighted, as were the villagers, with the new wells, one of which is for the Maasai village mentioned above. Two spring box projects were still under construction where, as their contribution, the villagers themselves were having to help with the digging of the pipeline and the supply of some of the stone. Unfortunately some of the stone they carried was too porous to be used and had to be replaced, which delayed the actual completion of the building. Now with it all finished the women are finding life far less strenuous.
The most surprising and exhilarating news was from an anonymous donor who sent us the funds needed for the long straddling village referred to above. We couldn’t believe it! It did actually happen, and the project itself is now almost finished. The villagers organised themselves so that each area within the community took turns to carry the necessary aggregate along the pipeline route.
This was the start of the dig between the intake and the storage tank:-