April 18, 2014
The video clip above, of villagers in Central Malawi gathering the day’s water, is part of an extraordinary interactive story published recently on the Irish Times site by Trócaire, a Catholic charity in Kildare, Ireland that works in over 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
The story invites the reader to make the difficult choices the villagers must make due to the “extreme poverty, . . . drought and poor access to water [that] are having a detrimental effect on their daily lives.”
Below is an excerpt followed by a link to the site, where you can scroll down to participate in the story and join the Trócaire campaign:
It’s 5am in a small village in Central Malawi and the first thing on everyone’s mind is water. As with many duties, the responsibility lies solely with the female members of the community. Women and girls, young and old must walk to the nearest river, buckets in tow to queue for water.
The shallow river, which in reality is just a stream dries up when the dry season begins, leaving the entire village reliant on one small trickle of water.
People can wait up to 3 hours for their turn. When it comes, they hunker down barefoot on the muddy riverbed and scoop water into their buckets. Then they must make the long walk home, often balancing up to 20 litres on their head. It’s now 7.30 am and the sun is already beating down on them. The daily struggle for water has begun.