Everyone will benefit from this project but it’s especially the kids that will feel the freedom of simply turning on a tap to fill their buckets. Children, along with the woman, are mostly the ones who fetch water. Everyone knows this, you see it on every NGO video about water collection in Africa, but it’s true.
On the way back to the hotel from Iyoli each day you can see all the girls in their blue school uniforms digging holes and filling their buckets in the dried up river bed after their school day ends.
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this river bed.
This is the rainy season and still the river bed has no water in it – not a drop – so people are still digging holes to gather water. The water holes look like polka dots that gradually disappear as the wind blows. I keep asking if it EVER flows enough so that you can put a boat in it and lazily dip your feet over the side and dangle a fishing rod in the water. The answer is no. Maybe 3 times a year the water stays for a few days but mostly it is dry. Sometimes it rains and there might be water up to your ankles for about an hour (or however long it rains) but the sand gobbles it up and you still have to dig about a foot to get to the water table.
Calling it a river is like calling a limp piece of casing without meat a sausage or an empty cone an icecream cone. It’s a river without water and calling it a seasonal river is a lie, there is no season in which this river has water. Perhaps it should be called a seasonal rainwater absorption pathway.
On the day we did the pump testing at the project site the kids in Iyoli stopped to play in between filling their buckets and children, as children do, adapt. They do what they need to do and continue to laugh and play along the way. As the pump tests were carried out they sang a song about playing.
I’ve also put together a video of the pump testing process with the swahili translation.
After the project is complete we are going to rent a projector and sound system and have a movie night in Iyoli where we will show all of the videos and photos that have been taken during this project of the community. The videos are translated into Swahili specifically so that the children can see the whole process as one learning documentary for them to have as a historical archive of their well. I also want to find a place to print off all my pictures to give back to the community.
Then, just for fun, we will show a swahili movie for everyone to watch, kind of like a drive in – but no cars. There is nothing better than a good movie night!
I wonder if there is popcorn in Iyoli.