WATER PROJECT FOR KIBINGEKITO VILLAGE IN UGANDA
This is a water project presented by Father Peter Ssekajugo, IMC, for his village of Kibingekito. Father Peter worked as a missionary in Colombia for many years and has helped in the Hispanic and English Ministry of our diocese.
The Kibingekito village is located in Masaka district south of Lake Victoria in Uganda. Masaka district is about 130 kilometers from the capital, Kampala. Kibingekito is one of the most abandoned regions by the Ugandan governments, it lacks the basic needs like hospitals, good schools, communication, roads. The area also lacks clean water safe for human consumption. The few existing wells and springs of water are dirty and contaminated. Women and children walk long distances in search of water. Many children miss classes or come late to school because they have the obligation to collect water in the morning before going to school and in the afternoon when they return home. Even at school the students are have to interrupt classes in order to go to the well to fetch water for home use. Water problem is one of the causes of children's poor academic performance and poor health.
In my childhood, I experienced these problems. We used to wake up everyday thinking about the hunt for water and firewood. Very early in the morning, we could start the journey to the water spring. On the way, we were joined by other children and we formed a big team. Joining together, with our friends gave us opportunity strengthen each other and to share our experiences and problems as children. On one side we enjoyed this encounter but on the other it made us delay on the way and so come late to school.
Water was never enough for at home, since we never had enough containers nor sufficient time to collect the required amount for the day. Some distances made it impossible for one to carry a bigger container for such a long distance. This obligated mom, after garden work, to go down the stream to look for more water that could keep the family going until we returned from school. The distance to the spring depends on the season. During the rainy season, people cover shorter distances, in the dry season, they walk a couple of miles.
Mothers suffer a lot in this trajectory of water harvesting. They go up and down the mountain with big water containers and at the same time carrying their children on their back. They are the same mothers who have to collect firewood.
Our plan is to provide the households with enough fresh potable water. This means making it more accessible such that both women and children save time and energy. Even the academic performance of boys and girls would improve totally, since they will have more time to devote to their studies. The water system will also benefit the animals since thy will not have to walk long distances in search of water. Even the natural environment could be conserved since people will stop cutting down trees in such of water springs.
Providing water for our people is practicing the works of mercy and thus living the Jesus' message: "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me...Whatever you did for anyone of my least brothers you did it for me." Mat 25: 35-41.