If many of us were asked what color water is, most, if not all, would say that water is “colorless”, but I would say that for communities in Kenya, water is different shades and colors. It has life, liberation and growth. In some communities, water comes out in shades of blue uniforms with yellow collars, others in yellow jerry cans lining a water kiosk. Shades are also seen in beautiful smiles on women and girls who never before in their whole lives have had running water and happy kids who can take a shower before going to school.
With this, let me shade for you the many colors of a community in Isiolo county, Eremet, a community so remote that the roads are very dusty and become completely impassable once it rains. The first time I went out to this community I kept asking my colleague, “Are we there yet?” And for many miles the answer was the same, “NO!”. Eventually after a long, rough drive we got to this beautiful community in the middle of nowhere, and as soon as I stepped out I could tell that there was growth in it and this milestone was brought to life by clean water.
Since Well Aware did a borehole rehabilitation in 2015, the community has had evident growth in terms of education, health, sanitation and security.
After the original borehole, implemented by another organization, in Eremet had failed, the Primary school had a drastic drop in the number of students that attended. Many children whose parents sent them to school so that they could bring back home with them a jerry can of water, saw no need to send their kids to school anymore. With a lack of education at such a young age, this stunts too many kids’ futures. But this narrative changed as soon as the borehole was rehabilitated by Well Aware; the primary school population doubled. More people were drawn to this area and the overall population increased, resulting in the need for a high school, which has already grown to more than 80 students. Eremet now has a bright future with the generation of kids who are in school, and clean water has made this possible.
The community members of Eremet are traditionally pastoralists with their main income coming from their livestock. The lack of clean water had taken a toll on their source of livelihood with the death of their livestock, followed by cattle raids with the aim of rebuilding their herd, leaving the area a hotbed for conflicts. These cattle raid conflicts resulted in many orphaned kids, widowed women, school dropouts, extreme hunger, and an economic plummet. Now, the locals have taken up a new way of life where the livestock are plentiful and agriculture has become a close second income. Many community members grow seedlings and sell their crops to other communities, generating income and replanting the surplus, promoting reforestation. In a community where moving from place to place for their cattle was common knowledge, they have now established roots, which has already transformed these community members’ lives in more ways than one. And on top of all of this, today you can gladly walk through the community without any fear, because of the newly established police security in Eremet.
The community is peaceful now more than ever, kids can stay in school and water-borne diseases are no more. Clearly the shades of Eremet have changed so much, from a brown, dusty environment to a green, hopeful community with cows grazing freely, kids rushing in and out of school, community members lining up for clean drinking water, and a security system promoting the overall welfare of the community. Clean water changes everything and in the community of Eremet, the colors of water are seen as a rainbow. To learn about more of our partner communities, click here.