Last year, students had to waste their lunch and recess time trekking 30 minutes away to a local river for water.
“Before, sincerely, life was hard," explained 40-year-old teacher Victor Mutisya. "We expected little or no rainfall. This pushed us to look for water from [the] River Manyanzala, which is one kilometer away. The pupils would rush to the river during their free time. Due to long queues at the river, most of the time, the activity would delay school programs as [the students] would wait for a long time before coming back.”
“Initially, we experienced a lot of challenges pertaining [to] water," said 13-year-old student Christine M. "Drinking water was not always available. Also, food couldn’t be cooked well. Our hygiene was very poor, from our utensils to the classes. We used to carry water with us every single morning. Myself, I used to trek for 30 minutes carrying water to the school: a very tiresome activity indeed.”
But since we installed a high-capacity rain tank at the school to capture the rain whenever it comes, life at Kyamulinge has improved drastically.
“Now, getting water from this water tank is very easy and convenient," Christine said. "Anyone can get water anytime they feel like [it]. I am really happy about this project. I no longer have to carry water with me every morning. This has really reduced the stress and burden of coming to school with a jerrycan each day.’’
“To us, [this] is a great change," said Mr. Mutisya. "Pupils don’t run here and there in search of water. We are currently saving on time [once] used for fetching water. We are now able to cover our syllabus on time and prepare our pupils early for exams. We are not worried anymore about sickness as we are satisfied that they are getting safe water.”
Now, members of the school community have the mental and physical energy to improve things for themselves and the school.
“In the past year, as a member of [the] environmental club, we managed to plant 50 trees and [are] still hoping to plant more," Christine said. "I have managed to keep myself clean and my environment clean, too. Currently, we have plenty of time to play and do assignments whenever we have them from our teachers."
“In the past years, we really wanted to have at least [one] handwashing point at the school, but due to lack of water, we couldn’t," said Mr. Mutisya. "Now, we have been able to have several handwashing stations.’’