From the age of 4, Lydia Nakawunde collected water for her family before the opportunity for clean water from a tap changed her life. Today, with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Uganda Christian University, Sister Lydia works at Mother Kevin's sustainable farm in Kitotolo village, Mityana district. She is the head of staff at the farm. Recently, she’s been coordinating with a drill team from Wells of Life, in efforts to bringing clean water to the animal houses and the newly constructed farmhouse. According to Sister Lydia, getting clean water is not just a basic life necessity, but also a spiritual one.
“Living in Christ means living healthy, that’s the way life is supposed to be.” Sister Lydia tells her story:
“I grew up in a remote village in Kakiri, Wakiso district. In my community, girls were responsible for fetching water for the home. I and my sisters would walk for water early in the morning before going to school (Kakiri Preparatory School). I remember we always went to a seasonal stream for our water, and when it dried up in the dry seasons, we’d have to walk to another village, at their local well. Usually, there were long queues of people and the bigger part of the day would be spent only fetching water. I started collecting water at the age of 4. I am the first girl of 12 siblings, (6 girls and 6 boys), in our family. So my mother (Kanyike Valeria - 79 years old) mostly relied on me to help her on leading my younger sisters with collecting water.
I was also responsible for making sure my sisters cleaned up themselves before going to school. The water was never enough, so it was just cleaning our face and feet, and off we would run to school after our brothers had already reached there. I was usually late for my classes because of my responsibilities and I was tired most of the time during lessons. This affected my concentration and performance in class.
It is not easy for a family to live a life without clean water. I know it well. Families need clean water for domestic chores and hygiene in the home. When women spend most of the time fetching water from unreliable distant water sources, they don’t have that chance to contribute to the community or take care of their families as much as they would have wanted to.
After completing grade seven, I had the chance to leave the village to stay with my uncle in Nkonkonjeru town. My dad had passed away and my mother could not afford to raise us all by herself. At my uncle’s house, life was completely different from what I had ever seen because there was in-house running water. I would wake up, take a bath, eat breakfast, and then my uncle would drop me at school - St. Anthony Convent School-Nkonkonjeru. For once all house chores and water responsibilities were not relying on me as the eldest girl among my siblings.
I was able to finish my education. With God’s grace, I became an ordained Catholic nun in 1994. It is the reason for who I am today - the reason I am working at Mother Kevin Sustainable farm, providing agricultural knowledge and super-visional support and administration at the farm. I am also trying to help bring clean water to communities like Kitotolo village. With God by my side, I hope I can bring a positive change in the lives of families in this community.”