At Metah Spring, Dreams of Clean Water Run in the Family

Friday, June 5th, 2020

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

Pause. Think. When is the next time you will get clean water?

Perhaps a cold drink from the sink, the refrigerator, or the water cooler – will it be within the next hour? For many, accessing clean water is a lengthier process. In the case of the 320 people who depend on water from Metah Spring in Mukangu, Kenya, their wait for clean water has been multi-generational.

Now, Mukangu community has access to clean, safe, and reliable water thanks to the recent protection of Metah Spring. This is the story of the pioneering family who has never given up on their dreams of clean water, and how they intend to see their protected spring last for many generations to come.

Rebecca Metah and Field Officer Karen Maruti stand on either side of the discharge pipe along with other community members celebrating the protected spring.

This spring was named Metah after the late mother of Mr. Aggrey Lusimba, Mama Metah. Mama Metah was the spring’s landowner before her passing placed it in Mr. Lusimba’s ownership. Metah Spring’s is named in memory of the woman who pioneered to ensure that her family and community would one day gain access to clean and safe drinking water.

“Though she died before seeing her dream come true, but truly wherever she is, she is singing and thanking God that she realized her dream,” said one community member.

Mr. Aggrey Lusimba

Mr. Lusimba recalled how Mama Metah would walk miles and miles, office to office, seeking help to have clean water in her community. This was prompted by the attack she had of typhoid that nearly cost her her life. She had to be hospitalized at the County Referral Hospital of Kakamega for treatment and spent close to Ksh 12,000 ($120). This was a lot of money that would have otherwise used for undertaking other productive activities.

At one point, Aggrey recalled, Mama Metah made everyone laugh when she stated she was going to write a proposal of spring protection to Kenya’s president. She believed it was the government’s role to ensure that its people accessed clean and safe drinking water and would stop at nothing to see her spring protected.

As the proud son of Mama Metah, Mr. Lusimba is a leader in his own right. In addition to being the spring’s landowner, he is a respected village elder and the community pastor. He is “a man who commands respect and has a voice in this community,” others noted of him.

Training held at Mr. Lusimba’s homestead. Facilitator Karen Maruti, standing, leads the session. Mr. Lusimba is seated 3 seats counterclockwise from Karen, wearing a baseball hat.

Mr. Lusimba was sure to give assistance in any way he could during the spring’s protection. It was Mr. Lusimba who first greeted the artisan in his home with a tea cup on the first day of site work. He also provided a room and meals for the artisan throughout the construction process. Community members prepared locally available materials and came to help the artisan with the physical labor at the spring by Mr. Lusimba’s request. When it came time for training, Mr. Lusimba mobilized community members to attend the training and even hosted it at his homestead.

Mr. Lusimba’s grandaughter is the next proud generation of the Metah name.

Rebecca Metah stands proudly with the spring (still under construction at the time) that shares her namesake, her grandmother.

“My name is Rebecca Metah, and I was named after my grandmother. She was called Metah. She was the pioneer of safe and clean drinking water in this community. She went to be with the Lord, and may her soul rest in peace. She walked from office to office, seeking help regarding the protection of our spring. From the Chief’s office to the District Commissioner’s office, and yet all her efforts were futile. She walked with a 1-page proposal that was done by my elder brother, Kusimba.”

Rebecca Metah, Field Officer Karen Maruti, and another community member join hands in unity over the spring’s successful protection

“Today, in my life, is the greatest day as I took over her name, and I also inherited her passion for safe, clean water in this community. I had planned that once I start working, I will use my salary to improve our spring. Thanks to your team and all of you who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we have safe, clean drinking water,” concluded a very proud and determined Metah.

Kids get a fresh drink at protected Metah Spring.

Read more about the Metah Spring Protection Project.

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