Just a Drop of Joy
– Musunguu and Methovini Villages, in Makueni County, south-eastern Kenya, are close to Tsavo National Park – an area which is patrolled by some of the largest elephant herds in Kenya. Whilst tourists enjoy wildlife from the safety of their vehicles, children run the risk of being attacked by these animals whilst walking to fetch water.
This is a very real risk.
In fact, women and children can sometimes walk for three hours to a river only to find elephants there and then have to leave without water and continue their long walk in temperatures of around 35 degrees.
Just a Drop has constructed two sand dams for Musunguu and Methovini Villages and a rainwater harvesting tank for the nearby Kanyenyoni Primary School. Mutanu Mbaluka is one of the pupils at the school who has benefited from the project. This is her story:
In a place where age counts, being the last born can create hardships. Each day at sunrise, Mutanu – the youngest child in a family of six – clings anxiously to her donkey as she lets the older children past her place in the queue. It is already very hot as she finally reaches the scoop hole. The water that she fills her jerry can with is brown.
After school, she goes back to the scoop hole. The walk is half an hour each way. “This means no time to do my homework”, she says. In an environment where collecting water is essential to survive, high levels of absenteeism are often the result of the search for water, especially during the dry seasons. This was a stark reality for children like Mutanu, and despite the meaning of her name – ‘joy’ – trying to pick up the remnants of her education made her feel sad.
Now, thanks to the new water tank which was built at Mutanu’s school, she has one less barrier to face. She says, “With the new tank I will no longer have to fetch water from the scoop hole. But most of all, we will have better health and a cleaner environment.”
Read more about the project here.