Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Day 4 19th feb -Erica

Another 5.30 start and off again at 7. The roads to the pre intervention village were terrible, it was more like off roading and we swapped and switched between carriage ways every few miles. The government and the contractor building the roads fell out a year ago, im glad they finished the bridges first before downing tools! 3 hours later we arrived a Jonhar this village welcomed us warmly and we spoke to women about their troubles. The water makes them ill particularly in summer and they get malaria which makes them ache and feverish. The women collect water from a well that has no covering so they also get typhoid. Every morning the go to and from the well up to 5 times carrying at least 10 litres of water at a time.
The villagers have no toilets and they can not deficate in the agricultural fields around their homes so they have to walk about 2k to the road to go there. At night the girls are scared to go alone so their mothers go with them. The villagers want piped water to their homes and there is a government scheme to help with this and WaterAid is supporting by doing an initial analysis and survey to understand the villagers needs. They will then help with sanitation too. We spent the morning with Awahd and her family, they have electricity and a quite big house. They have land that they farm and a calf. she has 4 sons, 2 are still studying and 2 are now teachers in another village. They have no clean water and sanitation. They want clean water and toilets so they can be clean but also to save time so they can work to earn more money and spend more time with their children to help with their studies. Awahd gets up at 6am and goes to the loo by the road 1- 2k away, she then comes back to clean her teeth. Then she and her daughter in law go to collect water. They each go back and forth 4 times in the morning. They then go to work in the fields when they come back they collect water again. Awahd's husband, has to help her collect water which is rare, this is because lifting heavy weights gives her pain in her chest and heart, she also has liver problems.
we also met Sumon a 14 year old girl she has 6 brothers and sisters but she is the only one who collects water and cooks she also goes to school. Carrying water hurts her neck. She wants to learn to sew so she can make clothes for herself and others.
Again, we have lunch on the way to a post intervention village. Another huge welcome awaited us in Kamhar! 70% of the households have toilets and they have got rain water harvesting on every house. There is a pumped well that provides piped water to people's houses between 6 -8 am. There is also another well that is used as a back up if the first well runs dry. This village has a problem with drought so there has been lots of resiliance built in. there are check dams as well. Some one donated the well to this village so they now have a safe water supply.
I have noticed that water and sanitation really does change people's lives, it gives people time to earn more money to help work themselves out of poverty and it helps children go to school. They seem happier, healthier and very proud of what their community has achieved.
Sorry if my last two blogs are a bit pants, I wrote them on the train on my phone. I promise to do a proper review of my trip once I get back!


  1. Guys,

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing your blogs. It has brought back a lot of memories for me of the India Supporter's Visit I was lucky enough to go on in 2007.

    It is so true that the work WaterAid does makes such a difference to people's lives and what you've been able to relay shows that it really does work... and it's the simple things that work best!

    I am checking your blog first thing every morning so please keep posting. Take care.
    Christina Chinnian

  2. Hi Christina - thanks for you support - can't wait to share our experiences when we get home. Caroline x

  3. Erica,

    I'm loving the blog, as Christina says, it brings back a lot of memories.

    I hope this experience will help you bring a whole new side to your talks when you are back in England (dare i say it!) I know it filled me with so much passion for the cause a left me eager to share my experiences over time.

    I know you maybe don't want to think about home quite yet, but if you need someone to talk to in the days after you come home (you'll see ;-)) then i'm sure anyone of us former tripees (real world) would be willing to lend a sympathetic ear..... God, that sounds like its going to be a disaster when you come home.... Oh, dear...Its not going to be....O.K. i'll shut up now!

    Enjoy your experience, and keep up the blogs!

    Matt Armitage