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Water Aid Zambia Blog 2015 Day Three

                                                                                        Day 3

What a day! Our 5:30am start was quite a shock to the system but we were all excited about what was to come. The group split into two with one heading to Ufweneuka ward where we visited a pre- intervention village and school; meaning, at present, they do not have access to safe water and sanitation.

The school and the village were very remote, only accessible via rough hill tracks. The first group went to Mulongalwiili School where they were taken on a tour of the very limited resources there. The school has 350 pupils who, at present only have two latrines to use. They were not maintained and never cleaned which none of us could imagine using. Due to the lack of facilities the children had to openly defecate in the nearby bush. This leaves them at risk, exposed and is very unhygienic. Two girls spoke to us and described how embarrassed they were when they had to go to the toilet.

The village headman welcomed the second group in Chinyaka where they showed us their current water source, a tiny hand-dug sinkhole in a dried up riverbed. The local woman walk up to three kilometres twice daily carrying 20 litre buckets of water from this well. The water is so scarce it can take them hours to fill their buckets and the result is still filthy. Some of the group helped to fetch and carry the water and found it incredibly difficult to do both. WaterAid plans to begin working with both of these communities in the next year.

WaterAid 2015All of us were struck with the welcome we received by both communities, being treated to local dancing and music. The instrument of choice was a friction drum which needs water to make the sound. The words reflected their feelings of a lack of freedom due to their current absence of safe water and sanitation. This has truly left a lasting impression.

The next stop was Chisekise where we visited a solar powered water supply which pumps the water from a borehole using a solar panel. The tank provides 5,000 litres of water to the local community distributed via a network of water kiosks run by the village. The kiosks consist of two taps where the local woman queue to fetch their water. This all sounds great but it is already under strain and water sometimes needs to be rationed as the community is ever growing.

 Again the group split with one going to Kazingwe water point, a pump which was installed in 1994 and is still providing the village with safe, clean water to date. The local pump maintenance group within the village ensures this is operational WaterAid 2015and well maintained constantly. The group was also very proud to host the global hand washing day for their district recently and continue to act as advocates for this across the district, teaching and being a positive role model to all.

The second group visited Simweendengwe, a school which has benefitted from a schools Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) package - which includes a menstrual hygiene management programme educating the local children, providing sanitary products, an incinerator to dispose of sanitary products and toilets with doors to protect the privacy of the local children. The local school was so proud of this and considers itself a flagship school in this regard, educating all district schools about this vital programme which keeps girls in education.

Overall this has been an emotional rollercoaster of a day taking in a huge range of projects and we beginning to appreciate that Zambia is a land of great contrast. What will tomorrow bring?