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Soysambu DEB Primary School, Soysambu
Soysambu is a lush and fertile area between Kimilili and Kitale. Soysambu is separated from Mautuma by the river Nzoia, near to other small towns called Naitiri and Tongaren.
There are no major employers or industries in Soysambu so the majority of people rely on subsistence farming. Villagers grow maize and beans, although Soysambu is also known for producing good cassava, potatoes, bananas and a few dairy animals. There are a few bee keepers producing local honey, and to broaden the variety of food available in the region, a man-made lake known as Fish Bones was created for breeding and farming fish for food.
Soysambu is typically a peaceful area and has avoided major clashes between tribes which have caused problems for other areas in Western Kenya. A mix of tribes live together in Soysambu; mainly Bukusu, Luhya, Maraguli, and Kikuyu. Many moved in to the area after the land was redistributed under a government scheme following independence in 1962 and the exit of European settlers.
For a long time now, the people of Soysambu have continued to suffer from a range of water-borne health issues such as typhoid. According, to Morris Britain, a resident who a day before being interviewed had been diagnosed with typhoid or brucellosis, at least 3 out of every 10 cases of sicknesses at the local Makutano Dispensary suffer from these diseases. Literally everyone you talk to in the area has had to contend with water-borne diseases at some point in their lives. Ann Aleyo Ananda, a local resident who runs a pharmacy in the area, observes that the majority of her customers are typhoid patients who spend a lot of money on treatment.
The residents attribute this to a lack of safe drinking as the people rely on a stream that is a kilometer away from the school and its waters are contaminated. Others depend on small, shallow wells in various homesteads whose waters again are untreated and therefore harmful to health. Children are often requested to carry water before going to school while women have to travel long distances in search of the rare commodity.
The proposed water project at Soysambu DEB Primary School will benefit both the school (with over 500 pupils) and the local community (at least 700 families) according to the Assistant Chief from the area, Christine Taracha.
In addition, the production crops and the rearing of cattle will become more productive, and water-related health issues will be greatly reduced, including addressing the problem of typhoid. However, more interventions are needed to fight a general state of poverty, treatable diseases, a lack of health facilities, and a health problem – jiggers – which affects many families (particularly children) in the area.