We visited an extremely rural area today that was very badly affected by the recent war with many people only returning to the community around 7 years ago when it became safe to do so. As a result the land is largely uncultivated and so there is little chance to earn money from the sale of crops or livestock.
The village consists of 588 people living in 114 households and only 37 of these have latrines. As well as this being a major issue in that so many people simply do not have a safe place to go to the toilet there is also no clean water within 5km so most people collect what they need from an open well.
Our family was introduced to us by our interpreter Ruth and consisted of Serina and Sam and their daughter aged 2 and son aged 7 who was at school when we arrived.
We had a go at ploughing with oxen, which they made look easy but it was very tricky to keep the furrows straight! We then helped with some weeding, led some goats out to graze and then set off to collect water.
Although it was a relatively short distance to walk (around 200 metres) I was shocked to discover a murky grey pool which animals also drink from and their waste washes into after rainstorms. There were fish and turtles in the water and yet this was all they had.
Sam told us that it would dry up for about three months from December onwards and then a much further walk would be needed. Between myself, Gillian and Roger we carried 40 litres back for our family, Roger had the heaviest container and walked most of the way with it on his head!
Ruth told us how the atrocious water affects the family by giving them stomach upsets, one boy was off school today for that reason. Yet everyone was happy and industrious, and two meals were prepared for us to share with the family. Absolutely nothing was wasted and great pride was taken in keeping the compound clean and tidy.
Ruth explained how difficult it was to make an income as so much time was spent collecting water and school was too expensive for many of the families. She told me that "unless you work hard and sweat, you don't earn", and of course with such poor quality water many people are ill which in turn affects the work that can be done. The nearest doctor is 6km away!
I found it so shocking to see the water that this village has available to them but was really inspired by their resourcefulness.