“One night, my child was so sick and he was sweating with a very high fever. I was scared and had to quickly rush him to Samuel Mukasa, the Village Health Team (VHT) worker, to get him medical first aid in the wee hours of the night. I feared my little boy would not make it to the next day if I had not got him any medicine”, recalls Nalwadda Juliet, a 40-year-old mother of five.
She recalls the hard times when her family frequently suffered from typhoid because of drinking dirty contaminated water from a pond. The nearest healthy facility, Kassanda Health Center III, is 7 miles away from her community which made it hard for residents of Katovu village to get treatment for the frequent water-borne disease infections.
Getting a cup of clean water for a child shouldn’t be difficult, but here in Katovu village, Kassanda district; it used to be a struggle to have enough clean water in the home for children to drink, let alone for other basic needs before a modern well was drilled in the area. “We had great difficulties getting water in the past,” recollects Samuel Mukasa, the 35-year-old VHT, and father of three young children. “My wife and children had to climb up steep slopes to get to a pond in Bukkoki valley.” The water shortages forced residents to choose between cooking and bathing. “During the dry season, my children only bathed once or twice a week and we rarely washed our clothes because the pond would dry up leaving us no options but to walk to Lussaba village searching for water,” says Samuel.
In most Ugandan traditions, culture has it that fetching water is usually women and children’s responsibility—which was often risky for women in Katovu village. Many reported being harassed when collecting water from the pond. “The pond had bushes around which made women vulnerable to attacks from men when fetching water,” explains Juliet. “It was also especially difficult for pregnant women to go down and get water from that pond. But we prayed that the Almighty God could see us through all our water struggles one day,” she continues.
In 2018, well #355 was drilled in Katovu village by Wells of Life in honoring the life of Margaret Jordan (USA). The well changed the grim reality that Juliet and the rest of the community were experiencing by providing abundant clean drinkable water to Katovu residents and the neighboring communities of Lussaba and Kamuli. The well is the only reliable source of clean water for over 1500 people and has helped in preventing epidemics caused by water-borne diseases. Families in Katovu village now have easy access to the water source because it is close by. “Today, we have easy access to clean water right near our home,” says Samuel.
“This is really good for my children. Nowadays, they take a bath every day, and wash their dirty clothes daily, especially the school uniforms.”He shares. Best Hour Primary School, in Kamuli village, is the main education center for the children from Katovu village.
Juliet says the well has also solved some of the security problems for women and girls in the community. “Women and girls can easily and safely collect water now,” she says. This is because the well stands close to most households in the community - making it safer. Juliet conveyed her gratitude to Wells of Life for the well that has improved health conditions for her family and the community.
“Thanks to you, Wells of Life. My children no longer suffer from typhoid fevers; they are healthier because we drink clean water. May God reward your generosity with blessings,” she concluded.