The red dust of Tanzania is sits on the surface of my skin, my hair is half braided and full of sand because we only had time to finish one side before we left from the school to walk to the river bed to collect water. I knew when I came to Iyoli that I would see things that would be hard, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.
The water in the river is dried up, and families, mostly woman and girls (but boys and men too), have to dig holes in it to reach water. As they head further into the dry season, the holes get deeper and deeper until there is no water left and they have to walk further to the bigger Bubu river that the smaller ones feed into. At the worst point in the dry season some families spend up to 8 hours collecting water each day.
I stood and watched as the school kids collected water from a big hole in the dried up river bed. Despite their extreme circumstances they are just like every other kid in the world, playful, curious and even a little naughty. Many people have strong opinions about foreign aid and what should or shouldn’t be done but when you stand together with kids, and mothers and fathers and cows and goats it’s not about politics and academia and theories, it’s about friends and their survival.
We are driving home and it is raining, finally. The dust is settling and I can smell the fresh clean air and I know how important this rain is to Iyoli village. The sand that sits at the bottom of my shoe is a reminder of the day. There are no words to describe this scene.