A Less Tiresome Walk for Water
Jean Baptiste is a father of six children and has lived in Bitega village all his life. He recalls memories from his childhood spent tending to his family’s livestock; an occupation he continues to this day.
Much of his life was also spent fetching water. First, for his parents and siblings when he was a child. And now, for his wife and children. His daughters had also begun to help him, although his six-year-old can only carry five liters at a time.
The trip to get water is grueling. He walks many miles to the Nyabarongo swamp, which is the only nearby source of water. Each day, he walks to the Nyabarongo, fills 20 liter containers and then begins the slow journey back up the hill towards his home. The process takes between six and eight hours a day.
After all of that effort, Jean Baptiste didn’t drink the water he collected. Despite his thirst, he knew that the dirty water he had collected would only bring sickness.
Then one day, Jean Baptiste was visited by a volunteer from the local church who told him that his family was selected to receive a water filter through 20 Liters. The volunteer told Jean Baptiste that the filter would make the dirty water he collected from the swamp safe for his family to drink.
“It is a long way to walk with water on your back and yet you cannot just drink some of it to quench your thirst. But now the journey seems less tiresome knowing that there is a glass of water safe for drinking at your arrival” says Jean Baptiste, as he grabs a glass full of water.
The water filter did not benefit Jean Baptiste’s family alone, but also his neighbors. “Neighbors are free to bring their water and use the filter. We also welcome passersby to come and ask for a glass anytime of the day,” he explains.