August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Violet Kadenyi Nabwera
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.
Violet Kadenyi Nabwera sees a lot of changes happening in her home due to the pandemic. She is also seeing a lot of her family - the most time they've ever spent together under 1 roof, in fact - because of the various iterations of lockdowns and restrictions in their area. But she'll get to that.
At 45-years-old, Violet is a farmer, mother, and missionary living in Ibinzo. Together with her family, Violet depends on Lucia Spring for all of their daily water needs whenever they are home - which, lately, is all of the time. Despite the challenges and worries brought on by COVID-19, Violet remains steadfast in her positive attitude and is determined to find the good in every situation they face.
Violet Kadenyi Nabwera
Our team recently visited Ibinzo 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 Violet shared her story of how the coronavirus has impacted her life.
Trainings Manager Jacklyne Chelagat met Violet outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Jacklyne and Violet observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Violet's story, in her own words.
Violet tells how her community has changed since the protection of Lucia Spring, and how they are using its clean water to get through the pandemic.
"The installation of Lucia Spring brought with it a lot of benefits to our community. Members of our community no longer contract water-related diseases. Sanitation and hygiene have been improved and the spring no longer dries up since the water is well directed to 1 point for drawing, making it accessible to everyone.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused changes in all sectors and our spring is not an exception. We agreed as community members to fetch water in turns, some to fetch in the morning, others in the afternoon and in the evening. While fetching water, everyone is supposed to wear a face mask, observe social distancing, and take the shortest time possible at the spring.
We spotted girls from different households observing physical distancing at the spring.
One of the guidelines issued by the government is frequent handwashing and maintaining high levels of hygiene. To achieve this, we have been constantly getting water from the spring. We use water from the spring to wash our hands, clean surfaces in our homes, and to clean reusable face masks.
The most important steps the community members are observing every day include: washing hands frequently, wearing masks, and to some extent keeping social distance. We no longer hold gatherings for [just any] reason.
Violet washes her hands with soap and clean water from Lucia Spring using the handwashing station she set up outside her home.
My husband and I are missionaries who move from one place to the other spreading gospel. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, restrictions were placed to limit movements and this made it difficult for us to fulfill our mission and passion.
On the other hand, my children are at home as a result of school closures; this has interfered with their academic programs, making them look disoriented. However, the pandemic has increased the parent-child bonding and it has created a conducive environment for parent-child relations. As a family, we have spent so much time together and we have learned a lot from one another. As a matter of fact, this is the longest time we have stayed together as a family.
Violet with her 2 daughters at home.
[The pandemic] has highly promoted boredom as we spend most of the time indoors. We no longer go visiting friends and relatives. Loss of income is also the greatest challenge as we use to get support anytime we traveled to spread the gospel. Today, everyone treats the other as a suspect and potential carriers of the virus.
The restriction I was most excited to see uplifted is the ability to allow congregants to attend churches and places of worship. It was really frustrating when on Sundays, we could all stay at home and only attend services via television, radio, or social media. But considering the fact that infection cases are on the increase, I am currently comfortable with the restrictions placed because they are for our good and safety."
Trainings Manager Jacklyne Chelagat leads the interview with Violet and camera operator Allan Amadaro
When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Violet listed the radio, television, 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 acquisition of knowledge about making masks locally. This helped the needy in the community who could not afford to purchase masks to be able to get them."
May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ibinzo Community, Lucia 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.
Trainer Shigali passing out informational pamphlets on COVID-19
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 Ibinzo, Kenya.
Al elder shows his pamphlet
We trained more than 12 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.
Homemade face mask tutorial
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.
Demonstrating how to sew a face mask
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.
Installing the prevention reminder chart at the spring
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.
Team Leader Catherine Cehpkemoi emphasizes handwashing and social distancing as key preventative measures
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.
May, 2019: Ibinzo Community, Lucia Spring Project Complete
Ibinzo Community is celebrating its new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Lucia Spring has been transformed into a flowing, safe 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.
Construction at Lucia Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.
"We are so glad to have this water point! Now I know water-related diseases will be out of this community. Initially, we had been suffering from the menace of waterborne diseases like typhoid and diarrhea. We have been using a lot of family resources to treat our loved ones which increased our poverty level," Village Elder Ndeta recalled.
"Now that we can get clean and safe water, our hygiene and sanitation standards will improve and poverty levels for this community will reduce because we shall use our resources to generate more income and enhance our lives. Thank you for bringing joy in our community!"
Ibinzo Community is very happy about the project. They promised to form a self-help group and will use the water drainage from the spring to make a fish pond since there is a high demand for fish in the community. They will sell the fish and generate income.
They are planning to register the group and get a certificate from the government, which will give them access to government grants that they will use to boost their fish farming and engage in more income-generating activities like poultry farming, banana growing, and many other things. Because of this, they are projecting to increase their living standards and eradicate poverty in their community.
Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, and gravel. Some even made extra efforts to work alongside the artisan after delivering all of the materials. Community members also hosted our artisans for the duration of construction.
Carrying bricks down to the artisan
The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh, and concrete.
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.
The ceramic tiles installed under the discharge pipe protect the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water and beautify 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 concrete dried over the course of five days, during which a community member wetted the concrete to make sure it would dry without cracking. The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.
After the backfilling was done at the reservoir area, the community members were already waiting and ready with poles and nails to help the artisan fence in the area.
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 will continue to encourage them to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors as we visit for monitoring and evaluation.
During construction, we asked the village elder to mobilize participants for a hygiene and sanitation training session. Attendance was as expected since we asked the community itself to give us the ideal time for training.
It was cold early in the morning but as the day progressed, it became hot and sunny. But since we conducted the training under a large mango tree where there was cool shade, the environment was still comfortable for the participants. All of the participants seemed to be very interested in the training and were busy making notes and nodding their heads whenever the facilitator made a point.
Participants learned about:
– Leadership and governance for the spring committee
– Management and maintenance of the spring
For this topic, the facilitator did an onsite training to show people the parts of the spring and to teach them how to operate and maintain the water source so that it will serve future generations.
Village leadership was there and said that they will formulate some rules concerning the care and maintenance of this facility, and whoever breaches those rules should pay a fine. That money will then go into a savings account for any repairs when they are needed.
– Family planning
– Personal hygiene, including handwashing
Participants follow along as the trainer demonstrates handwashing
– Dental hygiene
Participants enjoyed any topic that included demonstrations. Everyone wanted to get up and volunteer during both the handwashing training and toothbrushing training.
– Waterborne and water-related disease, along with water treatment methods
"I'm glad to be among those who attended this training. I have learned a lot of information concerning hygiene, leadership, the importance of community participation and collaboration, and how to take care of the spring," recounted Mrs. Tunde.
"Initially, I did not know the ten steps of handwashing, nor I did not know how to brush my teeth correctly. Now that I know, I will exercise these lessons and train others on the same. I promise that the sanitation and hygiene for my family and this society at large will improve."
Thank You for making all of this possible!
February, 2019: Ibinzo Community, Lucia Spring Project Underway
Dirty water from Lucia Spring is making people in Ibinzo Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to build a clean water point and much more.
Get to know this 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 news of success!