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  • Peter with children in village
  • water tower
  • Water company stall
  • water well
  • Victoria Falls at Zambezi River

Zambia 2013 Day 2

With the memories of Chisumo fresh in my mind, we travelled to a township outside Monze called Chiseekesi. This town was named after a huge monkey bread tree which had been on the site for many centuries. The ancestors of the town people had to live in the tree in huts to protect themselves from the lions that roamed freely below. The lions are long gone, but the people faced  dangers to their lives, which were worse than the lions, from water-borne disease and other hygiene related illnesses.

That's why WaterAid stepped in to help them with the installation of a water supply about 3 years ago. The supply consisted of a small borehole and pump, a solar panel, and control kiosk and an elevated water tank. The water system is now operated by a local water company who maintain the equipment. Since the installation, illness has reduced considerably and the local people are extremely grateful to WaterAid and their supporters for making a significant impact on the lives of many people.

The township has a committee that looks after all issues related to the town. WaterAid ensure that there is strong leadership in the communities to make sure that the life changing projects are sustainable. We met the chairman and head man from the town, along with many others and lots of happy smiling children.

The interesting thing about this project was that the water from the tank was distributed to the people at 2 kiosks in the town where the women could go to fill up their containers. One of the kiosks was run by Dorothy, who was referred to as the mender (water) vendor and was one of the residents who had been trained by the water company to keep records and collect money for the water. The water costs around 5p for 20 litres and is given out when a prepaid book is presented to her. Everyone is delighted with this supply and extremely grateful for the work and support from WaterAid.

The whole system cost around £40000 which works out at about £14 per person. So in this instance, £14 can make a huge impact on someone's life.

We then moved another 50 km on to another town called Muzoonka (big snake, due to the huge Anacondas that once were found there, thankfully not now!)

This was another settlement of around 3000 people who used to have a water supply which was owned by the railway company who built the town for workers. The railway company left about 12 years ago and the water supply was left to deteriorate. The people now have only two wells where everyone draws water from, once again in plastic cylinders on ropes. We met with the town committee who asked for support to deal with their challenges.

There is no project on the plan to deal with this, so no promises could be given, only a hope that in a few years something could be looked at.

I felt frustrated that there was nothing that could be done quickly to help them, particularly as I said goodbye to them all and saw the hope in their eyes as we parted.

We then  travelled another 250km to Livingstone, the place discovered by the great David Livingstone from Blantyre in Scotland. We dropped our bags at the accommodation and with an hour to spare we went about 10 km to see the magnificent Victoria falls and the majestic Zambeze River. The falls were magnificent and with 750 megalitres per minute of water falling over the falls I couldn't help wondering why this fantastic resource could not be utilised in some of the towns and villages that I had visited!