November 23, 2021

Water is Life: Stories of Gratitude from Kenya

It is estimated that only 59% of Kenya’s total population has access to safe, clean drinking water. According to UNICEF, “in Kenya, 9.9 million people drink directly from contaminated surface water sources and an estimated five million people practice open defecation. Only 25% have hand-washing facilities with soap and water at home.”

With these statistics, it’s no wonder communities become overwhelmed with joy and gratitude when Well Aware breaks ground on a new water system. In recent visits with partner communities in Kenya, they shared with us their thoughts and feelings on their new, reliable clean water sources.

 

 

Musalaani, Kenya

Musalaani, Kenya

Recently, we visited the Musalaani (Miumbuni) community in Machakos County, which has a population of over 2,500 people, where we drilled a new well in 2018.

With the current drought and lack of rainfall in the area, the Musaalani currently serves over 7,000 as families from neighboring communities travel to and congregate around this well, some traveling as far as 8 km away. Speaking to their former water committee chairperson, Mr. Kithanze, he was beyond words with gratitude as he could not imagine what the situation would have been if the well hadn’t been implemented. In his words…

“We are grateful for Well Aware’s help with this borehole. Previously, at a time like this, we’d have our women waking up in the wee hours of the morning to fetch water in neighboring communities. Our girls would be pulled out of school to aid in the exercise. Families would skip meals and showers would be a privilege for the few.”

But, this is not the case anymore. Even amid drought, thousands of people in Musalaani continue to have access to reliable clean water for all of their needs – from drinking to bathing. This is the power of Well Aware’s projects!

 

 

Kaliini Secondary School, Kenya

Asked to bring a man that’s grateful for water, I’d cross over to Kaliini Secondary School in Makueni County. A school that merely had a population of 100 students before Well Aware gifted the school with a complete rainwater system packed with massive storage in 2019.

Kaliini Secondary School, Kenya

Fast forward to 2021 and the school now hosts over 300 pupils (200% growth in just 2 years) forcing the management to construct more classrooms. Speaking to some of the newly enrolled students, we learned they chose the school because it has reliable clean water. With this system, they are guaranteed good health, sufficient drinking water, availability of food and, above all, hygiene and time to study. Although there are more schools in the neighborhood, students choose to transfer and enroll at Kaliini.

A message of gratitude from Mr. Muange at Kaliini:

Sweetwaters Secondary School, Kenya

On the other side of Mount Kenya, in Laikipia County, the effects of water on education can also be felt where we drilled a well earlier this year at the all-girls Sweetwaters Secondary School.

Sweetwaters Secondary School, Kenya

The principal, Margaret, said she will forever be grateful for the miracle of water there. During a celebratory ceremony at the school in August 2021 after the successful completion of their well, she said:

“It’s ironic that our school is called Sweetwaters yet we had no water in the school. The well is a dream come true.”

The school, which hosts over 300 girls, is now gearing up for an increased intake as more girls want to enroll in the school because of the water. The girls also voiced their gratitude in a short skit praising how they now have the power to read and put more time into their studies, since they will spend less time searching for water.

So many stories of gratitude...

I could go on and on, narrating encounters of communities we first met when their grounds were yellow and dry, withered with hopelessness…but, after the implementation of a lasting clean water system, the communities have flourished beyond their imagination. Communities like Salaita, Ndabibi, Kiliku, and so many more.

Indeed, water is life and I am forever grateful for the impact Well Aware has in Kenya and East Africa.

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