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“The Problem of Water Made Me Drop Out of School”

Wii Aceng Primary School Now Has a working water well

The water situation in Te- Aceng village could best be described as challenging. Consensus among hydrologists said it was unlikely that anyone would be able to drill a well in the area. This was reinforced by the fact that over the years several organizations had attempted this but were unsuccessful. In fact, the nearest source of clean water was a borehole well 15 km (9.3 miles) away. 

This lack of water affected the entire community as most people were drinking from streams and water holes. The majority of these water sources were seasonal, meaning they would be completely dry during the hotter months. When this happened people were forced to walk the long distance to the well. The situation at the school put a lot of pressure on the children. Teachers would ask the older girls to fetch water from the well. They would go knowing they would be missing out on important lessons while they walked the long distance to the well and back. 

How the lack of water, forced children drop out of school and broke up friendships.

Nancy, Aciro Vicky and Apio Jovan Franca were best friends. While they were not related, the three girls considered themselves sisters. Because Apio was the oldest of the three, when the teachers needed someone to fetch them water, she was the one they asked. The trip was long and exhausting, particularly due to the weight of water she would have to carry back. At first Apio didn’t mind being asked, but she started to feel like she was being asked too often. Inevitably she started getting discouraged about school and finally stopped going. 

Aciro and Nancy still attend the school, but they miss their friend and wish she was still there with them. They explain that if a teacher asks you to fetch water, you don’t really have the option of saying no. They add that the water situation at the school had caused many students to drop out. Apio soon met a boy and they had a child together. At this point the chances of her finishing her education are slim.

A related problem

Okello Hellen, a parent of two pupils at the school says they had resorted to rationing clean water.  She tried sending their children to school with their water in used plastic bottles, but with limited success. “The problem is that our children would always come back home crying, complaining that other older boys would forcefully take their water and they do not want to go back to school because of that,” confides Hellen. She was afraid that her two boys would drop out of school like so many of other village children.

Drop in the Bucket drilled a well for the Wii Aceng Primary School

In July 2021, Drop in the Bucket sent a hydrologist to Te-Aceng village to assess the water situation. We wanted to see if there was any chance to drill a well on or near the school property. After several tests, the hydrologist found a site he felt had potential. Soon after we dispatched a team of drillers to the location. It was not an easy drill, but Drop in the Bucket’s team did manage to strike water. We are happy to announce that Wii-Aceng primary school now has a working well. The well is used by the school and the local community who are so thankful to no longer have to walk long distances for water.

Mr. Nyeko Richard thanked Drop in the Bucket for drilling the well, calling it a miracle.  He is convinced that the school will experience fewer cases of children dropping out and he is hopeful the school will now be able to retain more female teachers. The lack of clean water did not just affect the students, the teachers were also struggling with the lack of clean water. 

Okello Hellen is sure the bullying will stop now that every child has access to all the clean water they need. Apio wishes she had stayed at school and regrets dropping out. She asked us to pass on this message to other students in her situation “Stay in school, no matter what and do not follow in my footsteps. The current pupils are lucky to have what I did not – clean water”