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عربي

“We are better off than some”

Rishan Oshi
As a schoolboy Salah Damba walked five kilometres to the nearest water pump. Now he is a farmer but children from his village continue to trek long distances to collect water.
22.03.2016  |  Abu Tama, Sudan
Girls fetching water in Sudan’s Kordofan region, Sept. 26, 2012. (photo: The Niles | Mohamed Hilaly)
Girls fetching water in Sudan’s Kordofan region, Sept. 26, 2012. (photo: The Niles | Mohamed Hilaly)

“As the youngest member of my family, it was down to me to fetch the water. That daily chore got in the way of my schooling: I had to walk five kilometres from our village to reach the water pump.

I remember how I was a first year intermediate-level student of 14 years and I would arrive at school late. Sometimes I would go by foot and sometimes I would travel on a donkey’s back.

I used to fetch water more than three times a week and sometimes would take our cattle to drink at the water well. All the children in our village suffered the same fate. I dreamed of completing secondary school education and going to university but my studies deteriorated so I left and dedicated my time to collecting water.

Years and years have passed and this situation has not changed. Children in our village continue to fetch water for their families. Our village is one of four that are clustered together. The nearest water point, which has a single water source, is still five kilometres away. But we are better off than some. Hundreds of villages in Kordofan have to collect water from dozens of kilometres away.

Most of North Kordofan’s village population lacks water on a daily basis. Sometimes there is water for drinking but not enough for other needs. Of course the only way to transport water is by using animals such as donkeys and horses.

Some people in our region sell water. They have their own vehicles and transport water in plastic containers over long distances and then sell it to nearby residents. Prices are exorbitant, as high as SDG 30 (US$ 5) in the hot summer months.

Sometimes our water pump suddenly stops working. Then there is more suffering and people have to spend a whole day fetching water. Animal herders travel for many days to reach water so that their cattle do not perish.

We suffer daily, but less in the autumn. Then the rains fall and valleys are filled and there is plenty of water for everyone. Some people store the autumn water inside Baobab trees, as they have for hundreds of years but by the time the summer comes, it is completely unfit for drinking.”

This article is part of:
Water: A fool won’t even find water in the Nile!
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