December, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Rose Nasenya
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 Luyeshe to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point, Matolo Spring. 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 Rose Nasenya, a 20-year-old student, shared her story of how the coronavirus is impacting her life and her community.
Rose Nasenya outside her family's home
Field Officer Lillian Achieng' met Rose outside Rose's family's home to conduct the interview. Both Lillian and Rose observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Rose's story, in her own words.
What is one thing that has changed in your community since the completion of the water project?
"Hygiene has improved in our community since the installation of this water point. Community members can regularly wash their clothes and other things."
Rose gives the calf a fresh drink from the spring
How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?
"We have been able to wash hands often. The water is free so we don't spend during these hard economic times."
Rose washes her hands at home
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?
"There has been no change since our spring is not crowded and many community members have taken advantage of the rainwater since the past months have been rainy. This enables everyone to fetch water without fear of crowding or getting infected with COVID-19."
Fetching water at Matolo Spring
How has COVID-19 impacted your family?
"My grandparents are old, thus being so vulnerable to COVID-19. Some people will visit and won't bother sanitizing or washing hands and won't be putting on masks. This endangers my grandparents' lives. My cousin lost his job due to COVID-19 and so he had to come back home to stay here with us. This stretches the budget of my old grandparents, whom we depend on."
Rose and her home in the doorway to their home
What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
"Education has been affected. I am a student who has been at home for a long time now and I have lost so much academically. Businesses have gone down and the prices of goods have really gone up. Some families can't afford the sanitizers and even the simple soap, making it hard for them to wash their hands effectively. Transportation has become a challenge since the transport fare has been doubled."
What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community taken to stop the spread of the virus?
"My community members have tried as much as they can to see every home has a leaky tin with water to wash hands. From the training we received, many have embraced mask making and the wearing of the same. Social distancing is practiced at funerals in my community since viewing of the body and attending of the burial is nowadays programmed."
May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Luyeshe Community, Matolo Spring
Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.
We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Luyeshe, Kenya.
We trained more than 12 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the training.
We covered essential hygiene lessons:
- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station
- Proper handwashing technique
- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing
- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.
We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:
- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19
- What social distancing is and how to practice it
- How to cough into an elbow
- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.
- How to make and properly wear a facemask.
During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point, along with a sign with reminders of what we covered.
Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.
We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.
Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.
October, 2019: Giving Update: Luyeshe Community, Matolo Spring
A year ago, your generous donation helped Luyeshe Community in Kenya access clean water.
There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water at Matolo Spring in Luyeshe. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…
December, 2018: Luyeshe Community, Matolo Spring Project Complete
Luyeshe Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Matolo Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been done on sanitation and hygiene.
Matolo Spring was supposed to be implemented in 2019, but when one of the other springs this year couldn’t be finished, Matolo Spring was proposed as the best candidate. Community members living around Matolo were so excited about a project that they had already gathered all of the extra sand and stones our artisan would need.
When we informed Mr. Reuben Matolo that their spring would be protected in November 2018 and not next year, he could not hide his joy.
"When you came for the survey, I wished you could protect our spring immediately because I was tired of my family and I falling ill frequently because of consuming contaminated water. The hospital bills were too much not only for my family but for other community members too," reflected Mr. Matolo.
"My prayers were answered. Thank you for considering Matolo Spring for protection. Continue doing this great work for other community members too, so that they can benefit from this worthy cause and access clean and safe water," he continued.
"Seeing clean water flowing from our protected spring is a dream come true for me. Thank you for fulfilling my wish at this old age of 78 years. Nothing can describe how excited I am! God bless you abundantly."
Mrs. Bilha Vulenywa is our main contact in Luyeshe. We called her about the importance of holding a hygiene and sanitation training in her community, and asked her to notify everyone who draws water from Matolo Spring about this opportunity.
Community members turned out in large numbers. Due to the scorching heat of the sun, we decided to hold sessions under shady trees by the spring. Everyone was active and eager to learn, asking and answering questions about each topic.
We handed out notebooks and pens so that people could write down or draw the new things they learned.
Several topics were covered during the training, such as personal and environmental hygiene, common local diseases and their prevention, and care of the water point. The ten steps of handwashing were demonstrated, along with demonstrations for dental hygiene and water treatment.
Participants most enjoyed learning about dental hygiene and how to better save money for their families. Participants were taught how to brush their teeth and when to brush. They were also taught the consequences of poor oral hygiene. There is a lady who said she had been using her toothbrush for the last two years. After learning that a toothbrush should be replaced after every three months, she said she was going to buy a new toothbrush that very day.
"Most people in our community have not been taking cleanliness of their bodies and environment seriously because they didn't know the importance," admitted Mr. Nelson Makhambala.
"But through the training, they are better informed about the negative results of poor hygiene and sanitation practices. Our village's hygiene standards will improve drastically and we will also teach everything that we have learned to other community members who couldn't make it to the training."
All five sanitation platforms have been installed and make wonderful, easy to clean latrine floors. These five families are happy about this milestone of having a latrine of their own. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.
Construction at Matolo Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.
"Before protection of this spring, some people could come with dirty containers and dip in the water source as they fetch water without caring about other users. Since it was open it was prone to contamination from human and animal activities. There was a time when a dog fell in and died in the water source! We were devastated but since we didn't have an alternative water source, we just removed it and continued using the water," remembered Jane Akamo.
"Now we don't have to worry about all these because the spring is protected and water that flows from the pipe is clean and safe for use."
Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, and gravel. Community members also hosted our artisans for the duration of construction.
Sand that the community delivered to be used for mixing cement.
The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh, and concrete.
Men working with our artisan to create a level foundation for the spring protection.
After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the headwall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.
As the wing walls and headwall cured, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This protects the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the headwall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.
The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.
The concrete dried over the course of five days. With this spring now handed over to the community, we will continue to follow up with the water user committee to make sure everything runs smoothly. They have already fenced in the spring area and plan to plant grass to prevent erosion.
As soon as the construction process was done, the community members were allowed to start fetching clean water from the protected spring. They were delighted to see clean water flowing from the pipe!
October, 2018: Timbito Project Moving to Neighboring Community
After a few delays, our field officers decided it necessary to construct a spring protection in a community that is fully willing to cooperate with each other and our organization. There were disagreements and challenges in Timbito, so we have asked their village leadership to submit a new application when everyone is fully prepared to work united on a project.
We were recommended to a nearby spring in Luyeshe Community. The people there have been drinking dirty water from Matolo Spring, and are so excited about this project that they've already gathered some sand to mix with our cement.
Please take a moment to read the new information and pictures posted about Luyeshe Community, and do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.
August, 2018: Scheduling for Timbito Community Spring Protection
Everyone in Timbito Community is excited about their new spring protection. Timing is very important as we ensure that everyone is ready for these big changes. The field officers and local leaders have agreed that the right time for construction and training will be over these next few months. We had previously scheduled this project for August but have modified that date to reflect the planning change made by the team. Thank you for standing with us as we continue work in Timbito.
We're always open to conversation about our process and are happy to answer your questions. And, if you get a notice like this – it’s actually further proof your gifts are being carefully used towards a water project that lasts.
May, 2018: Work Starting in Timbito Community
Dirty water from Katamba Spring is making people in Timbito Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.
Get to know your community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!