This Is Our Story - This Is Our Hope

April, 2015

Clearly this is a different place than the one I was at two years ago. 

This Is Our Story - This Is Our Hope

I must say that I really did struggle to give this story an appropriate heading. This is because of the unquantifiable, immense and inexpressible (Can we even use these words together!!!!!) encounter I had the other day during a field visit. This was at Kakima SHG a group in Makueni County which has been working with ASDF for the last two years. I vividly remember the first day I visited the group during collection of baseline data. One thing that I can remember was the desperate, wrinkled, tired old faces of a group of people who had given up on life due to the challenges of water insecurity.

During the interview I remember one old lady who shed tears as she narrated her daily routine of walking 8 km each day for a period of 6 hours to fetch drinking water from river Athi, which is heavily polluted with industrial and sewerage waste from the capital city Nairobi. This is the only source of water for a community village of over 800 households. Each day under the scorching heat of Kenya women with small children on their backs made this journey in order to have water for drinking and domestic use. Due to the high pollution of this water source many fell sick from amoeba and typhoid and were forced to spend their already strained budgets on medical bills. This story resonated well with all the members of the community. The community also highlighted how they had approached diverse leaders and even the government to be supported to tackle the water problem, but to no avail.

“The Dougan Valley”

On the day of my visit the story has changed. The smiles are as beautiful as ever, there is even singing, the birds all flock around the trees singing awesome music. In the background you can feel insects buzzing with activities, and to my awe the river is flowing again!!!!! Clearly this is a different place than the one I was at two years ago. I come across a few women working nearby to seek their story.

“I am really grateful to the three women who came to our support. By the way that was the first time we saw an aircraft land in our area. Because of their contribution we now have a valley of hope which we call the ‘Dougan Valley'”, remarks the chairlady of the Kakima SHG. (That’s how they can clearly remember Barbara and her daughters)

“Ever since we constructed the two sand dams and a shallow well our lives have completely changed. We have been able to save on time we used to spend in fetching water. I spend less than 15 minutes to fetch water. The water is clean and we no longer suffer from diseases. With the additional time we now have saved from fetching water we have been trained to plant vegetables which we are selling to get income and eat a balanced diet at the end of the day’s activities. Clearly if this is not development then I don’t know what development is!” exclaims the over jovial chairlady.

“If we had a way to all fly to where Barbara and family are we would all give her hugs and kisses because they have changed the lives of the village and villages to come have completely being positively changed, no more water diseases and long walks to fetch water.”

Such stories and testimonials give us the motivation and courage to wake up another day to support more lives as much as we can. But without sacrificial support from well-wishers like Barbara through The water Project such stories remain a mirage. Its moments like this that you really applaud and celebrate partners because in one way or the other the foot prints of their support will always remain engrained in the lives of communities across the area of our work.

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