Jordão’s family, like any other family in that community, had many difficulties in finding water. They had to walk long distances to fetch the precious liquid from the Namuresse river, which is 3 km from their house.
15 year old Jordão Miguel, a pupil in the sixth grade, is the oldest son of a couple, with whom he lives, along with his six siblings, in Muitxala, in Gurue district. Jordão’s family, like any other family in that community, had many difficulties in finding water. They had to walk long distances to fetch the precious liquid from the Namuresse river, which is 3 km from their house.
“I used to wake up every day at 05.00 to go to the river. When I got there, I took a bath first, and then I carried water home. Only afterwards could I go to school, which is 2 km away. I always arrived late for classes and very tired, and my school results were poor”, says Jordão sadly.
Many diarrhoeal diseases are caused by the direct ingestion of contaminated water, particularly in places where there is no system that supplies treated water. Like many urban communities in Gurue district, water from the river is used for drinking, individual hygiene, and cooking among other uses. The practice of defecation in the open by the banks of the river is noteworthy, and in the rainy season all the impurities are swept into the river. The water becomes unfit for consumption, and provokes water-borne diseases. “Here at home, whenever we drank water from the river, we used to catch diarrhoea, which passed from person to person. I often missed school because I had diarrhoea”, says Jordao.
Currently, in the Muitxala community about 70 families are benefitting from the Hygiene and Sanitation Programme, supported by UNICEF, which relies on the construction of a water source. As a result of this action, these families are building latrines with the aim of attaining the status of LIFECA (Community Free from Defecation in the Open).
“I’m happy! Now I have time to rest, to play, and my school performance has improved, because I have time to revise the lessons and do my homework”, says Jordão with a smile.
“Today I breathe a sigh of relief, because we have a water source nearby. Now we drink clean water, and the diarrhoeal diseases in my family have declined. We have a latrine and a tap to help all our family wash our hands. The building of this source has brought changes in the life of my family and of the entire community. And to maintain it, a Water Management Committee has been set up, and it’s working properly”, says Jordão’s father.
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