I am an Italian intern at Water Access Rwanda and Monday the 20th was my first day of work. We went outside Kigali, about three hours away, to a village in the north-east of Rwanda, in Nyagihanga Sector.
The village where we went had severe water problems because they did not have access to any safe water sources next to them: the population could either go and fetch the water some kilometers away from the village or, alternatively, they could go and get the water to a big puddle nearby. Usually the children are the ones in charge of getting the water and therefore they were the ones who would go to the puddle. In order to fill the tank however they were forced to step into the water. The puddle was deep and without even realizing it a kid might fall into the water and drown. Yes, drown. Why should a kid born in an area with no rivers or lakes know how to swim? Is it possible that children die because of the need of fetching water? When I was told this story I was shocked. Having access to water should be easy for everybody, but it is not. After many casualties eventually people intervened and made the area, where the puddle was, protected.
Last year Water Access Rwanda built four wells giving the village the possibility of finally having easily access to the water. Last Monday we went there to repair one of the four wells that did not work properly and also to distribute some filters donated from an NGO(Wishing Well) to the school of the same village. It was amazing seeing how grateful the whole community was. Without those filters those children would have continued to drink rainy water collected in a tank risking to catch severe diseases.I was amazed by every work done the same day by Water Access Rwanda and the Nyagihanga residents.
We spent the afternoon assembling the 50L filter system with the help of the teachers and the employees of the school. Everybody was enthusiastic about the new filters and willing to try them out, realizing the importance of their use.