The following short story highlights the reality in most of Rural Zimbabwe and a number of developing countries across the world. 663m people lack access to clean water in a world where globally women and children spend 125 hours a day collecting water ( Source: UN). May we grow in our responsible use of water and continue to advocate for access to safe water for all. ~ Deeply Driven
How I wish it would rain now. No, I am not singing that lovely and catchy Phil Collins song I heard my father humming to on his battery powered radio; I’m too thirsty and my throat is parched beyond melodious vocal ability. I literally wish it would rain now – in this instance, as I deliberately walk slowly to the river that has somewhat turned into a muddy watering hole. I know there is nothing there, just a muddy eyesore that continuously reminds my dehydrated mind that soon, I will have to increase the distance to at least a further 10 km to the next village borehole and fill up three 20litre plastic containers I am pushing in the wheelbarrow. I overheard on the radio program that it was because of Climate Change and El Nino, whatever that means. In my mathematically keen mind, I know that 40 litres will be enough for father and my brothers to pretend to bath for the day, and some left over for sips of water and making our evening meal today. Then I will once again take this slow walk to fetch more water. Oh, don’t think I made a mistake, the 20 litres is for our next door neighbour, and the water is payment for using his wheelbarrow for tasks such as the one I am undertaking now…
You see, mine is a family rich in traditional values and strict upbringing. I have been trained well to wake up early morning to fetch this essential liquid whilst my brothers go to the school a few kilometres away. They want to be doctors and teachers when they grow up and move to the big city. I wish them well. And pray that my input of keeping them fed, washing their uniforms and fetching their water will give them enough time to study so that they pass their O’levels and take care of me, whilst I wait for my future husband to come for me and dignify my routines and good upbringing by transforming me to wife-as the story often goes in rural Zimbabwe. I hope he will be proud of the manner in which I am efficient at fetching water in the early hours of the morning each and every day.
…It’s been a few hours now, I can see the up and down motion of the borehole lever a few meters away as the rays of dawn sweep over the horizon, the precious transparent liquid gushing in spurts and gurgles at the other end of the mechanism, and dripping into containers is a melodious sound to my ears.
How I long to feel your cooling licks dowse the fire that has been burning in my throat…
My pace quickens as the beautiful aroma of water and soil surrounds the area and reminds me of the day the first drop of rain water will hit this dry and cracked land. I take my position in the queue and wait my turn. This is agony, this is torture, yet, this is salvation. But in my uneducated mind I wonder, why do I have to struggle so much, to receive and partake of what they say is my basic human right? Equal access to safe drinking water said one of my brother’s books… and so maybe we are less human than others I presume.
They had said that they will drill one closer to our village area, but that was a few light years ago, the promise is yet to be kept.
As I walk back, my pace has quickened. Yes, partly because my thirst has been quenched, but mainly because I have to be picking twigs and firewood along the way for the fire.
How I wish it would rain now,
So that the droplets will wash away my sweat and tears, and maybe,
Quench this fire that burns my soul.
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Post contributed by Tatenda Samantha Majoni