In December 2008, the Kamuli water sanitation project was completed, supplying clean water to 48,000 people in rural villages in Uganda. Fifteen new boreholes were drilled and twenty existing boreholes were rehabilitated. In addition, 10 schools in the community received water catchment systems and hand washing stations. Villagers received education and training on sanitation, hygiene, and water source management.
The Kamuli project has changed the lives of these Ugandans forever. Here are their stories.
Jesca Naabiye lives in the small village of Buryanpande in Uganda. She has eight children and shares her husband with two other families. Jesca and her older son do most of the work to sustain the family. Prior to 2008, it was very hard for them to get enough water for the family. The nearest borehole was more than three kilometers (two miles) away.
“Many times it was too far to walk for water, and there were too many people waiting, so we would just go to the nearby swamps and get water. We knew the water was not clean, but it was all that we had,” Jesca said.
There is now a borehole less than half a mile from her house. Jesca received education and training on sanitation methods, which she has implemented to improve her family’s living conditions. There is also a new latrine pit, as well as drying racks for dishes and hand washing stations at her home.
“We have done so much to change our lives for the better,” she says proudly.
Saidi Kigongobero is 13 years old and the eldest child of a large family in Bulyampande, Uganda. It is his responsibility to get the water for the family. Before 2008, he had to walk 11 kilometers (about seven miles) round-trip to get water from a borehole. It was so busy at the site that he often had to wait two or three hours for his turn. To avoid the long wait, he frequently went to the borehole at 10:00 o’clock at night, not returning home until 1:00 o’clock in the morning. He was so weary the next day that he often missed school or was unable to complete his assignments.
“I felt like I was wasting my life doing nothing except hauling water. I was not in school most of the time and we still never had enough water to drink. It was hard to think that was all my life was ever going to be,” he said.
Today, he proudly walks to his new borehole. It is only a half mile from his home, which allows other family members to help gather water as well. Saidi says that he is doing much better in school and his entire family is in better health.
Jaanita Nambakikwa is a widow with three children who lives in a small village of the Kamuli District of Uganda. Before 2008, she had to walk three kilometers (two miles) to the nearest borehole to get water. Her husband was sick with AIDS and unable to help.
She said, “Sometimes I was so tired that I would get water from the swamp. I did not know it was bad for us. My husband got sick with a bad stomach, and sometimes my kids got sick.”
Unfortunately, Jaanita’s husband died after contracting bilharziasis from the bad water. This is a common story for many families in the village.
In 2008, Latter-day Saint Charities provided funding for a new borehole to be constructed within a half mile of her home—and for villagers to receive sanitation training. Since the well began operation, Jaanita’s family is much healthier, and she is grateful to now know what things she can do to help her children grow into strong adults.