We arrived in the village of Nayagon after an experience of a journey - we call it an experience as we really have no other way to describe it! A drive punctuated by small shrieks from those at the front of the bus who could actually see what was coming, and those at the back landing back in their seats after savage bumps! But nevertheless we got there in one piece....and all knowing that the best place to sit in and Indian bus is in the middle!
And the welcome we received was well worth the drive - we were welcomed like royalty by warm people only too happy to share their lives, and left a lasting reminder of our visit by signing our names on their wall....
We met Srilal and Kamala who opened their homes to us generously and told us about their daily struggle with water. They have 2 sons and 2 daughters, but regularly accommodate further extended family in their home. As Kamala led me by the hand to the water source - a natural spring approximately 1 km away - she did so caringly and with great dignity. The source itself is a spring which you have to climb into a tunnel to access - it isn't protected from cattle or other animals and the girls diligently fill small vessels which are then transferred to larger ones outside of the tunnel.
Each of the girls does this at least 3 times a day and carries 10 litres of water on their heads back to the village, leaving themselves aching and sore. And trust me, we've tried and its heavy - I could hardly lift it, never mind put it on my head. But they have no option - no water, no life.
The source is blessed by a lady who physically lives at the stream - Mira - she spends all day praying there to ensure that it continues to flow and protect it. Sadly I fear that this may be beyond her control....
We were interrupted during our time in the village by two elderly ladies who had walked from the next settlement specifically to talk to us who shocked us with their words regarding water - "fetching water is killing us" - these are ladies that in the UK we would treasure and care for - they are people's Grandmas - it shocked me and will make me hug my Granny a little tighter the next time I see her.
And this village is relatively lucky, at least at this time of year...as their water is relatively uncontaminated and it only makes them sick occasionally - 2 or 3 times a year they get fevers which are likely to be Typhoid - although they never seek medical attention so no one knows for sure.
The lack of clean water and no sanitation means that the hygiene is poor, which in turn leads to illness in the family - this village truly is part of those statistics that get quoted - 2000 children due everyday due to lack of clean water and sanitation. It's not just a number - I have seen the faces of the people it affects.
Thanks for following our journey and keep checking back for updates..