In Buluk community, like many remote villages in Ethiopia, girls spend a lot of their day on the endless task of fetching water. Sometimes they travel as much as four hours back and forth, with only river water available. And even then they must share with their cattle.
“The river water we use for drinking is polluted with animal and household waste, soap from laundry, mud during the summer season – not to mention visible aquatic insects. But there was no alternative. Stomachache and diarrhea is very common in our community and I used to have a stomachache every single time I drank river water,” said Misra Kedir, who is 16 years old.
Misra suffered from waterborne disease for most of her life – so much so, that she even had to drop out of school. “Stomach ache became normal over time and you just get used to it. But when I was in Grade 5 it became unbearable one day while in math class. The next thing I knew, I woke up in hospital suffering from typhoid. I had to stay in hospital for several days and take medicine. But the medicine didn’t cure the typhoid because the only water I had to drink was unclean.”
It took Misra a year to recover from her illness and she missed a lot of school. Not only that, but her study time was also impacted because of the constant search for water.
“Fetching water is mainly my responsibility at home – unless I am too unwell. I was often late to school and there were days I had to be absent. I didn’t have time to study as I also have other responsibilities such as cooking, collecting firewood and making coffee.
“The project to install clean water facilities, carried out by imagine1day, has freed me from these hardships. Now I am pain free and we can access water so easily – it is amazing.” says Misra happily.
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