Amy L. Jones
December 10, 08
“The Global Water Crisis” Africa
It was a four hour journey and most of the woman and children walked that twice a day. Just imagine getting up before dawn to make this long journey to get a bucket of water filled with a little water, dirt, algae, cow and goat feces, bacteria, mosquito larvae and other insect eggs, parasites, and various waterborne diseases waiting for a host. They have no time for anything else in the scalding-hot heat of the afternoon. What they carried was liquid that was at conflict with themselves. With no other options but this, the muddy water could make them sick with the various diseases that lay rampant in this liquid poison. How can it be that Africa, among other countries in the world, has no access to the purest elements there is; water? They hang on by a simple thread praying for a miracle, while often dying, for something as simple as clean drinking water. Although the water crisis in Africa is acute and its effects are devastating, there are many organizations trying to raise awareness and find viable solutions.
Mary Adhiambo is a thirty six year old woman raising four children on her own. A few years ago her husband became violently ill with malaria and typhoid. He started having frequent diarrhea, which only subsided while he was in the hospital. It became clear to Mary, that her husband felt better in the hospital because their friends would bring him bottled Dasani drinking water. Nevertheless, lacking in finances, he had to be discharged a short while later to return to contaminated water. Later, Mary and her husband were both tested for HIV, and both tested positive. Mary tried her best to keep the house clean and to take of her young children while her husband was sick, but without adequate clean water, it made it nearly impossible to keep everything clean.
Mary would walk up to three miles a day to find water for her household. Clean, sanitary water was sold in the market but too expensive for her to afford. One jug of water would only be enough to 2
clean the bedsheets and linen. Sometimes she would walk all day looking for water. Cleaning her husband would leave her no water for simple chores such as: cooking, and cleaning. A neighbor sympathized with Mary's family and gave them a cow so she could milk it, and sell the milk to pay for her sick husband's drugs. With the continued diarrhea and no proper hygiene due to the lack of adequate water, he fell sick again with malaria and typhoid. With low immunity from HIV, he was unable to improve and died soon after.
Being an HIV-positive widow, she sought help from a health facility. She gained her strength and joined a womans group called Kagago. This group applied for a borehole (a very deep hole drilled into the earth's crust to gain access to clean water) with the NGO GWAKO ministries, and they were granted the community borehole soon after. Mary proclaimed, “the borehole changed my life, and I am no longer the same, and I have been trained on health, hygiene, and sanitation” (Mary Par. 4). Mary has since started a kitchen garden and has planted various vegetables to sell at the local market to support her family.
Fig 1. Village People getting what water they can, most of this water dries up in summer Chibwe, Zambia March 4th, 2007
Mary is one of the lucky ones. Even after losing her husband she was able to find support and able to support her family while staying healthy with HIV. Unfortunately, so many die with diseases from the lack of clean water that many people find readily available in their respective countries. As of today, there is inadequate access to clean water for about 1.1 billion people (Water Facts Par. 6) Waterborne diseases and the absence of sanitary domestic water are one of the leading causes of death worldwide (Water Facts par 4). For children under the age of five, waterborne diseases are the...
Cited: Adhiambo, Mary Stories from Africa. Kagoga, Africa 17 Dec. 2007
Berber, Phillip & Donna Damon, Matt H20 Africa Foundation 7 Sep. 2007
Haseltine, Dan The Revolution A field Guide “Clean Water” 6 Apr. 2006
Pearce, Fred The Global water crisis: Managing a dwindling resource Oct. 2006
Wendell, Daren The Earth Expedition Personal Interview 2 Nov 2008
www.water.org Waterfacts A Guide to clean water 2008 Water Partners of America
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