August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Melvin Nanjira
This post is part of a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting them. We invite you to read more of their stories here.
Our team recently visited Mung'ang'a to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic is affecting their lives.
It was during this most recent visit that Melvin Nanjira shared her story of how the coronavirus has impacted her his life.
Field Officer Joan Were met Melvin outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Joan and Melvin observed social distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Melvin's story, in her own words.
What is one thing that has changed in your community since the construction of the well?
"The community now has a water source that is nearby and the water is treated regularly. Our children no longer have to waste study time while going to the spring to get water for use in the school."
How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?
"The water has enabled us to install and refill hand washing stations in our homesteads."
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kenya, has fetching water changed for you because of restrictions, new rules, or your concerns about the virus?
"Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the watchman of the school well is insisting on handwashing before fetching water. He will pump the water for us to wash the hands before filling our containers."
How has COVID-19 impacted your family?
"When Covid-19 cases started increasing in the country, Shianda market was closed down for a month. This affected my clothes thrifting business and I had to use up all my savings and capital to support my family. Now that the markets reopened, I don't have any money to continue with my business."
What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
"This pandemic has multiplied my worry and anxiety concerning my 13-year-old son who has sickle cell anemia. I had to take him to stay with his grandmother and will not let him resume school until the pandemic clears."
What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community taken to stop the spread of the virus?
"Most homesteads have installed leaky tins in their compounds for hand hygiene."
What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?
"I was excited when the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi was lifted. This gives me hope because I can get a soft loan and get a bale of second-hand clothes that come from Nairobi and revive my business."
What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?
"I'm not looking forward to the lifting of the 9 PM to 4 AM curfew because it has reduced the cases of burglary in the area."
When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Melvin listed the radio, word of mouth, and our team's sensitization training.
What has been the most valuable part of the COVID-19 sensitization training you received from our team?
"The whole training was very helpful to me. I now realize that Corona is really real and not a government gimmick. I can now protect myself and my family by fabricating masks, practicing proper hand hygiene, and observing social distancing."