I saw the above slogan a few weeks ago during a visit to the Nile River. At first glance it seems to be a simple statement but it got me thinking about the importance of water here in Uganda and around the world. At home in the states, I take water for granted. I can take a hot shower, turn on the faucet or pour a glass of water any time I want. Life is not so simple in many parts of Uganda.
This past week, UVP broke ground for a shallow well in Buwaiswa. The well will provide better water access to more than 60 households in the village. Building a well may seem like an easy task, but in reality, it is a complicated process. First, UVP worked with community members to decide on the best location for the shallow well. We wanted to improve water access for the greatest amount of people possible. UVP also took into consideration factors such as nearby crops, use of fertilizers, animal grazing and possible flooding. After several land surveys and community meetings, the residents of Buwaiswa chose a location for the well and began digging this past Monday.
It has been an exciting week as the digging of the well begins. My fellow interns and I visit the site each day and observe the progress made. It is amazing to see how the community is working together to construct the well. As the men dig each day, children surround the hole and women set up a cooking area to sustain their husbands’ work.
I am hopeful that this new well will help improve the lives of many villagers. Immediately next to the well is a pool of dirty water where families currently collect water for drinking, cooking and bathing. I hope that with the construction of the new well, this dirty pool of water will no longer be used. I am also hopeful that this well will be maintained and sustained by the community. I have heard countless stories of organizations sinking wells in villages and then vacating the area and leaving the community without knowledge on how to maintain the well. To prevent this from occurring in Buwaiswa, UVP organized a sanitation committee that consists of community members who are trained on how to maintain the well and what to do if parts break or are damaged. The goal is to help villagers help themselves. We do not want Buwaiswa to become dependent on us, but to instead be able to solve problems on their own. Water really IS life and safe water is the key to improving livelihoods in Buwaiswa and around the world.