Fetching water is such a part of life in Uganda and elsewhere that groups of children and women lugging heavy yellow cans full of water are ever present along the road.
The burden of collecting water falls on everyone, but in a family with the option, it becomes primarily a responsibility of the girls.
As we drove through Masaka, visiting schools we’d be equipping with rainwater harvesting, we came across this particular group of beautiful, vibrant teen girls.
We stopped for a moment to visit with them and take photos. They laughed and teased each other and we joked with them.
Driving on, our Ugandan partners pointed out that these girls could benefit from the tanks we were putting in at the schools nearby and might not have to miss as much school due to their families water needs.
That realization made us so grateful. Because, although Africa itself has captured our hearts, it is the experience of making a personal impact that drives our pursuit of opportunities to expand our reach.
Knowing that our recent projects might help these girls directly – and would definitely help other girls, girls we hadn’t even met yet – made it a little easier for us to keep driving.
Facts on Water
For a family of six, collecting enough water for drinking, cooking and basic hygiene may mean hauling heavy water containers from a distant source for an average of three hours a day. Women and girls are mainly responsible for fetching the water that their families need for drinking, bathing, cooking and other household uses. (Source: WHO/UNICEF)
There are many heroes working behind the scenes for RainCatcher. These heroes work hard every day to provide children clean drinking water. Today we honor Sylvia Bofry, Director of the Kyempapu school district. Without Sylvia our current project in Uganda would not be moving forward and many previous projects would not have occurred.
Inspired to create great change for the children within her district, Sylvia is the key to opening the doors of the schools in Uganda to RainCatcher.
If Sylvia had not partnered with RainCatcher thousands of children would not be drinking clean water today. Many children would have become very sick from the unsafe water they have. Sometimes they would remain sick for months at a time. Some of their little bodies would not be strong enough to battle the diseases that are carried within the contaminated water. Many might not have lived to enjoy the lives they live today. Without the clean water projects that Sylvia has made possible, hundreds if not thousands of children would be unable to attend school at all. Instead they would spend much of their day fetching contaminated water. Water that they know could potentially kill them.
We honor Sylvia today. We honor her commitment, her heart, and her passion. Most of all, we honor her love for her children. Together, we honor the thousands of lives that been saved and changed forever because of Sylvia’s heart.
We are saddened that Sylvia is unable to join the team on this trip. Her daughter was ill with a fever and in a hospital with in Kampala. Sylvia chose to be by her side and we extend our deepest wish that her daughter has a quick recovery.
As this post is being written, our team is traveling through Uganda locating new schools that will need our immediate help. Many children are still needlessly suffering because they cannot get clean water.
These children need your donation today. Only $25 can provide a family clean drinking water for 1 year. It is that simple.
Want to thank Sylvia yourself? Post a few words of gratitude in the comments below!
After several long hours on the road, the team finally arrived at the first of dozens of destinations. Upon arrival at the Kabandiko Primary School, they were quickly greeted by the teacher of school, Ssebandeko Charles. He came to the car to greet the team before they even had a chance to get out. His ear to ear smile was infectious and seemed to spread as quickly to the team as it did to the curious children standing nearby. After signing his guest book the team wasted no time getting straight to work on their final assessment of where the rainwater-catchment tank would be located.
The teacher Ssebandeko Charles was very excited to learn how soon they’ll receive their tank from RainCatcher and he shared stories of the many of his students who had perished from the water-borne illnesses that plagued so many. In a short amount of time, the kids would no longer have to make the long walk witnessed as the team drove in to the community. In a short amount of time, kids would no longer miss school or worse due to water-borne disease. In a short amount of time, the entire community would be able to live a healthy and prosperous life… a life beyond the burden and dangers of water collecting.
After a long two days of travel from the states, and two days on the road in Uganda, team RainCatcher was excited for their first day in the field. Crammed in the back of a car on a bumpy and dusty dirt road, the team experienced their first of several long car rides to visit the remote communities on their list they would provide clean water for. The sides of the road were lined with children on both sides carrying soiled yellow jerry cans on their daily hike for contaminated water. It was easy to tell whose cans were empty and whose were full by the speed and posture of the children carrying them. With the exception of the children, the roads were mostly barren. With no villages in sight it was hard to tell where the children were coming from. One could only imagine the distances the small children must have traveled for the 30+ pounds of water that was unsafe to drink. Despite the laborious task at hand, many of the children still had it in them to wave back at the team as they drove by.
While back in the states, the team often discussed the statistics regarding the 3 mile average walks for water. Despite their previous knowledge and field experience, the sight of the small children, most of them young girls, was still saddening. It proved as an instant reminder for why they commit themselves to the journey in the first place.