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For Eugene, Spring Protection Was Personal


Friday, May 1st, 2020

Please note, all photos in this story were taken before social distancing recommendations went into effect.

Eugene remembers Edward Sabwa Spring from “before”. It had always served many people in his home village of Kisasi, Kenya, – up to 200 community members at present – but it had never been clean. The unprotected spring was located down a steep and slippery path which brought endless contamination from surface runoff during the rains. The spring area was dominated by mud and rocks, and it was completely open to people, animals, and all sorts of pollutants.

Children fetching water from unprotected Edward Sabwa Spring

This is a memory Eugene, now a young man, knows well. That is because it defined his childhood and, unexpectedly, his first week back home in 5 years.

Our team went to Kisasi to begin spring protection with the help of the community, and early on we noticed one young man in particular who was working very hard at the construction site every day. He said his name was Eugene. Eugene amazed the staff and this prompted them to find out the secret behind his hard work. Eugene then shared his story.

Since he was born, Eugene had always drunk dirty water from Edward Sabwa Spring. At one point, he suffered severe typhoid and had to stay away from school for such a long time. Eugene’s father sought help to protect the spring, but all of his efforts proved futile.

But Eugene’s greatest motivation for his hard work, he said, was that he had left this village with his dad 5 years ago to live in Eldoret. The week before we met him, his father had passed away and so Eugene decided to come back home to Kisasi. No sooner had he buried his father than he was informed about the protection of Edward Sabwa Spring. Eugene saw this as an opportunity to honor his dad who had worked tirelessly to ensure that one day, they would have clean water.

“My dad and the ancestors – wherever they are right now – they are proud of me and they are smiling. His death has brought water home. I will work hard to ensure that the spring is protected and also ensure that it is well maintained,” added Eugene.

Community members celebrate the protected spring

Thanks to Eugene and many other women and men who helped out with manual labor, provided locally available materials, and housed and fed the artisan, Edward Sabwa Spring is now a flowing source of clean water. With dedicated community members like Eugene prepared to care for the spring, we look forward to tracking its sustainability for many years to come.

Young boys enjoying the spring water

To read more about Kisasi Community and the Edward Sabwa Spring project, click here.

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