"I only dream of what positive effect just improved access to water can have on the lives of my people.”
These are the words of Nsubuga Emmanuel, 54, a father of two children and chairman of Kitto village in Mityana District as he draws water from a jerry can that he just bought from a village water vendor. Getting access to safe water at home is still a challenge for the 130 households in this community. This is because Kitto village still lacks a safe water source to sufficiently sustain residents in their daily lives.
Most of the residents spend hours walking to collect water from a pond in the valley, four to five times a day, located two kilometers away. The water in the pond is greenish and dirty which has put the lives of the residents fetching from the pond at risk of getting infected with typhoid, coughs, and the flu. When sick, it is also expensive and a long distance to reach the Kajouji Health Center III in Kajoji village for treatment of these water-borne diseases. Emmanuel adds, “The water is really bad. Sometimes, you can see the waste in it with your own eyes without straining.”
The clean water well is located in Namudali village, a long distance away from Kitto. Only water vendors manage to fetch water from it using their bicycles and motorcycles and then sell the water to residents here in Kitto. But residents are so poor; they cannot afford to buy water every day. “No one can survive without water”, Nsubuga says. “All my fatherhood life is associated with household financial responsibilities, especially the provision of clean water for my family. When I buy clean water from a vendor, I know I have given my family health and education to my children. But to my village, I still have a hurdle of finding a solution to this water crisis and I pray for a reliable clean water well in my village. It would be our very special treasure.”
Emmanuel’s children, like others in the community, walk to St. Andrew’s Primary School-Kitotolo in Kitotolo village. On Sunday, community members go for prayers at churches like St. Andrew’s Kitotolo Church of Uganda in Kitotolo village and Evangelism Joy Pentecostal Church in Namudali village.
Emmanuel planted vegetables and maize, which have never been cultivated because of a lack of water due to long dry spells experienced in the community. This maize garden, when water is sufficient for the crops especially during the rainy season, he says, gives the family access to otherwise expensive food; saving money that would be spent at the market, improving the family's diet, and potentially providing income from the sale of excess produce. Stories of resiliency and hope can only become possible when access to safe water is improved in vulnerable communities like Kitto.