Muteesi Chantal, a 55-year-old mother of six, has spent nearly all her life without water nearby her home. She and other members of her community in Namataba Village have to walk 1 km to fetch water from the only modern well in the village. She often sets off early in the morning before sunrise so that she can beat the long lines of people that fetch from the same well. The well is used by about 460 households which accounts for over 2000 people.
During the rainy season, Chantal walks through flooded muddy paths to get to the well. "By the time I reach the well, a dozen women and children are already in line. And as the sun rises, so does the line of people." At the well, challenges continue; the waiting in the morning sun heat is prolonged due to the unreliable flow of water from the well. School children, mostly from St. Kizito Primary School -Namigavu, crowd the well to collect water for school activities like cooking school meals. "I feel lucky if I reach home by early afternoon. But no matter the challenges, I have to get water from that well because it is the only available clean water point in all of Namataba village. There is no other option.” -Chantal.
Chantal truly values water and the impact the well has on her community. Her morning trip for water enables her to carry out her daily chores of taking care of her family. She uses the water in cooking, cleaning, drinking, and bathing activities for her family. She sees the health of those around her that fetch from ponds deteriorating due to infections from typhoid and coughs, with her neighbors falling ill often. They have to walk 3 km to Kanyale Health Center II for treatment. This situation pushes Chantal to forego her quality time with her family, by walking and waiting for water in lines at the modern well.
Her children, aged 7, 9, 11, 15, 17, and 20 regularly attend school at St. Francis Primary and Secondary School in Busunjju. Chantal hopes and prays that someday she won’t have to walk the long distance anymore when another modern well is drilled closer to her home. She and her family go to Christ’s Disciples Pentecostal Church in Namataba village. Other community members go to St. Steven’s Church of Uganda –Namataba. “Water is an essential element of life. If there is no water, there is no life in Namataba.” -Chantal