October, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Andrew Shidero Indeche
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 Bukhaywa to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point, Shidero 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 Andrew Shidero Indeche shared his story of how the coronavirus is impacting his life and his community. Andrew is the spring's landowner, and he serves as a pastor in the community's Friends Church.
We found Andrew breaking stones into gravel, which he sells locally for a little income.
Field Officer Georgina Kamau and Camera Operator Allan Amadaro met Andrew outside his home to conduct the interview. Both our team and Andrew observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Andrew's story in his own words.
What is one thing that has changed in your community since the completion of the water project?
"We no longer suffer from sore throats and colds, unlike before installation where mostly the children would complain of having sore throats from time to time."
How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?
"We are lucky to have clean water because, without it, we would still be drinking dirty water which would make us sick. This would have put us at more risk of getting the virus since we wouldn't be as healthy as we are now."
Andrew (right) at Shidero Spring with his daughter Patience (center) and Simon
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?
"We are concerned about the virus and as a community, we ensure that we follow all the rules and regulations like wearing masks and washing our hands frequently using soap and running water."
Andrew washes his hands with soap and clean water from the spring using the leaky tin handwashing station he installed outside his home
How has COVID-19 impacted your family?
"Now that children are at home, we have to look out for them...They always need supervision and 1 adult has to stay home."
What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
"The farm produce has reduced because now that everyone is at home, the number of feeding mouths has gone up."
Andrew with his daughters outside their home
What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community taken to stop the spread of the virus?
"We ensure that we wear masks whenever we leave the house and maintain social distance. I always wash my hands and take a shower when I get back home."
Like most governments around the world, the Kenyan government continues to set and adjust restrictions both nationally and regionally to help control the spread of the virus.
What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?
"The curfew time was pushed ahead by 2 hours which has helped the business people who depend on evening hours to make money. Social gatherings were opened and now I can continue to serve God."
Pastor Andrew with his mask on.
What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?
"We just hope that Corona will end but for now we have to continue educating ourselves on how to live with it."
When asked where he receives information about COVID-19, Andrew 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?
"We were thankful that you taught us how to sew masks because my wife has sown masks for each of us which has saved me some little money."
May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Bukhaywa Community, Shidero 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 Bukhaywa, Kenya.
We trained more than 14 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.
March, 2020: Bukhaywa Community, Shidero Spring Project Complete!
Bukhaywa Community now has access to clean water! Shidero Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. We protected the spring, constructed 5 sanitation platforms for different households in the community, and we trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices.
"It is so beautiful, I never expected it to look like that! We are very grateful to God for remembering us," said Walter Indeche, a young farmer in the community upon seeing the completed spring for the first time.
A woman with her baby feel the spring water for the first time after completion
Community members provided all locally available construction materials, including bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, stones, and fencing poles. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too.
Women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of thick plastic tarp, 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.
Artisan sets the discharge pipe into the headwall while another works on the stairs
As the wing walls and headwall were curing, 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.
Working on stone pitching for the rub walls
The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. Then soil was layered on top of the tarp so that community members could transplant grass to prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced in. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.
Kids celebrate the new spring
As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to begin fetching clean water. We met them there to celebrate this momentous occasion. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.
A girl enjoying the spring water
All 5 sanitation platforms have been installed. These 5 families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.
Owner of a new sanitation platform
Community member, local pastor, and spring landowner Mr. Andrew Shidero helped organize the training in coordination with our team. Together we found the community’s preferred date for training while considering other events in the community calendar such as the agricultural season and expected gatherings.
On the day of the training, the sky was sunny and the grass was wet since it had rained the previous night. We met under a tree next to the spring. 28 people attended. The group was active but some of the younger ones started to lose interest when they got tired, so we practiced a few physical moves to make sure everyone's minds and bodies were active.
Trainer Rose on safe water handling and cleaning water jugs
We covered several topics including community participation; leadership and governance; personal and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; operation and maintenance of the spring and sanitation platforms; dental hygiene; the 10 steps of handwashing, and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin. During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the leaders of the newly formed water user committee. The election was impressive and surprising when we saw one of the youngest chairs ever elected to the position - a young man who had just completed his high school. He proved to fit the shoe and vowed take up the task with commitment.
A woman demonstrates toothbrushing next to Trainer Georgina
We also brainstormed income-generating activities that can be used to start both a community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring, as well as a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop their own small businesses.
A man demonstrates the 10 steps of handwashing next to Trainer Georgina
When an issue arises concerning the water project, the water user committee is equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our team of field officers to assist them. In addition, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.
A boy enjoying a fresh drink from the spring
"Hygiene and sanitation will definitely improve now that water is readily available. You will see a big change when you come to visit us next time!" said an excited Walter Indeche, a young man and carpenter in the community.
Thank you for making all of this possible!
February, 2020: Bukhaywa Community, Shidero Spring Project Underway!
Dirty water from Shidero Spring is making people in Bukhaywa sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install 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!