It’s been nearly a year and a half since our team was in Kithoka, Kenya, drilling a brand new clean water well for the community of nearly 10,000 people. Upon return to this site exactly a year later, the impact that clean water has had on the community can be seen almost everywhere you look. Crops are flourishing, food scarcity issues have diminished, and the quality of life for those in Kithoka has greatly improved almost overnight. But, as nice as it might be to relish in these accomplishments, it is important to recognize and reflect on what life was like for those before the well was implemented and why we do this work in the first place. Water is life, and its absence affects every facet of daily activity and community development.
Before our visit to Kithoka, evidence of the water crisis could be seen in every direction. Clean water was difficult to come by.
While the community did have private and county-wide water pipelines, the water was rationed and determined to be polluted. Those who could not afford access to pipeline water had to collect water from nearby ponds and streams, which were also contaminated. Both sources of water in the community resulted in high numbers of waterborne illnesses.
The only semi-reliable source of clean water was rainwater, which was difficult to store for many residents, and also had to be rationed
Rainwater was still not fully reliable, as droughts are a common occurrence in the area.