Our implementing partner reports from the field...
Kantenga is an isolated village standing on a solitary hill in Bukanga sub-county, Luuka District. It is surrounded by wide flat bottomed valleys made up of swamps, with fewer than average trees on the periphery of this village. This gives it a strangely bleak feeling when you consider you are almost on the equator. There are around 800 people living in the 92 households that make up Kantenga. There is no school in the village, but the community have begun a joint nursery system to cater for the many children that live in the area. It is a particularly poor village, over 80% of the houses seem to have thatch roofs, a clear sign of poverty. This is born out in testimonies from the community who say they are suffering from food shortages during the dry season. They say there maize is being plagued by witchweed, their banana has the dreaded wilting disease and rice is failing to thrive in the valleys, so their harvest is very small. This is dreadful for a community of subsistence farmers. There are cash crops such as coffee, but according to the community most people do not have coffee plantations as it is the older generation own that land, whilst the children remain with small plots.
The water situation in the village is also dire. The nearest safe water source 1 mile away and the round trip to the borehole is a minimum of 1hour, if it’s not busy, which it often is, in which case it can take 3 hours for water. Considering each household uses at least 5 jerrycans a day, water is a heavy burden for the community. The alternative is the muddy pools in the swamp that are shared with animals, and that is what many of the community are using to this day.
[GPS coordinates for this project are approximate.]