Theogene and Apolonia’s Search for Clean Water
Theogene and his wife, Apolonia, live in a rural village in Rwanda with their 4-year-old daughter Lafie. Everyone in the village faces challenges with finding access to clean water. Most families use water from nearby lakes. But, Theogene searched for a better option. Each day, he traveled to get water for his family from a distant public tap.
He told us, “Even if I live near the lake, never in my life have I used lake water. I would still wake up at 3:00 a.m. to take a bike to fetch tap water.” He told us he would get home from this trip around 9:00 a.m., ready to start the rest of his day.
Even traveling the long distance to get tap water didn’t mean that their water was clean. After letting the tap water sit for a while, Theogene noticed sediment would settle to the bottom of the container. He began buying a water purifying syrup, made of chlorine, that he would add to the water before using it.
He is not the only one in the community that had doubts about the cleanliness of the tap water. “When tap water came in the area, many people had suspicions that it was contaminated. We have an elderly neighbor who would ask drinking water from us but would add that it should not be tap water, she wants rainwater or lake water. Right now, those mindsets are changing but some people still believe tap water is contaminated.”
Theogene and Apolonia began to hear of the Water Project several years ago. The project had come to the neighboring sector of Gashora and they heard of the families receiving filters and all the good clean water was bringing.
Theogene and Apolonia dreamed that the Water Project would come to their community. But that’s all they thought it was – a dream.
But the day did come when the Water Project was able to begin to reach out in the sector of Rilima. Local volunteers selected Theogene and Apolonia to receive a filter.
Theogene tells us that the filter “was a solution to my problem. Our filter is always filled with water to never run short. Even our young daughter now reminds her mother that they need to come home to drink water when they are in a place without a filter.”
Still, Theogene is surrounded by people who need clean water. He tells us that he has 10 neighboring families who come to his house to ask for clean water. He is happy to help his neighbors, but does admit that having more filters nearby would be very good for his community.