The Ogwari Primary School – Where People and Livestock Were Drinking the Same Water
The Ogwari Primary School is clearly visible from the road. A person driving by might have thought this school and the whole community were thriving. But what you wouldn’t see from the road was a water situation that was both alarming and sometimes deadly. Now thanks to new well drilled by Drop in the Bucket, things are looking up for the local residents.
Before the well
Mr. Oree Okello Jackson, the elderly headteacher of the Ogwari Primary School reveals that the community shared the same shallow well with animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
According to Mr. Oree, “Once pigs enter your water source, and dip their mouths in it, you should consider it unsafe.” The pigs and other livestock are free to roam around the area. While they’re drinking, they stand in the water and often urinate and defecate. This same waterhole has been sustaining the entire community for drinking, cooking and domestic use.
The real negative effect
Sometimes, when there were no adults around, local children would also bathe in the water hole. Although, the community knew the water was unclean and not safe to drink, there was no other option. Oree said the contamination was visible as you could see small organisms swimming in the buckets of water people collected for their homes.
Ejang Sharon, a housewife and mother of three, painfully recounted the time her three-year-old daughter Adong Bridget fell critically ill and was rushed to the hospital after a series of stomach pains and vomiting.
The test results revealed that Adong had contracted bilharzia, a chronic disease caused by water-borne parasitic worms. Known to damage the internal organs and potentially lead to death, Ejang was terrified that she was going to lose her daughter to the illness. Luckily, Adong was treated just in time.
The doctor advised Ejang to always boil water before giving it to her family to drink. While she tried her best to comply, she said a lack of time and scarcity of firewood made it difficult to boil all the water her family needed each day.
After inspecting and assessing the dire water situation in Ogwari, Drop in the Bucket drilled a well in the heart of the community. The faces of the community residents lit up with joy as they collected clean water from their brand new well.
“I can rest easy now that I know what happened to my child will not happen again,” beamed Ejang. “Bilharzia has become a thing of the past here.”
Akite Nancy, a 15-year-old Ogwari primary school student, said she will now have all the clean water she needs and will no longer have to put her life in danger by simply quenching her thirst.
Mr. Oree was overjoyed that Drop in the Bucket identified his community’s main problem and solved it. Looking to the future, he assured his fellow residents that he would work with Drop in the Bucket to maintain the well and make sure it remains a fixture in the community.
“This is a great blessing,” he said. “Life is surely going to change in this area.”