Water is life

Water is life

It’s finally here. Helen Ewoton, her husband and her five children in Nawoyatir in Turkana, northern Kenya, have been waiting for this day for a very long time. Today, thanks to your support, Oxfam will dig a new borehole to provide clean water.

“There is water here and Oxfam knew the water was here,” says Helen (48). “When I saw the drillers I felt very happy. We were all very happy when we saw the water spurting out.”

TOP: The borehole means Helen can access water locally, ending her daily three-hour round trip. ABOVE LEFT: Helen says the borehole will improve the health of kids like her grandchild Kaisa. ABOVE RIGHT: The women of Nawoyatir village sing and dance to celebrate the arrival of clean water. All photos by Kieran Doherty/Oxfam.

Not only will it end their daily three-hour round trip to fetch water, but the arrival of this source of safe, clean drinking water has huge health benefits for the community of Nawoyatir. Previously, locals were forced to drink water from hand-dug wells sometimes contaminated by faeces. Serious water-related illnesses, such as cholera, are common in Turkana, an area that was badly hit by the East Africa food crisis in 2011.

Oxfam Ireland - East Africa: One year on

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This incredible video captures Helen and her community's delight as Oxfam builds them a borehole, bringing desperately needed fresh water to this village in northern Kenya. Thanks to everyone who donated to our appeal – your generosity has enabled us to implement projects like this.

“People get diseases drinking contaminated water,” Helen explains. “Some children from the neighbourhood became ill. One child lost their life. “The goodness of the borehole is that it provides clean water. It will bring hygiene at home. It will bring good health and will help the school children to bathe quickly and go to school. It will reduce the diarrhoea diseases in households.”

TOP LEFT: Engineers prepare the rig by putting the drill bit into place. TOP RIGHT: Drilling engineer Henry Kaisa (34). ABOVE: Pipes are laid out ready to line the borehole. All photos by Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

Helen’s livestock will also benefit from the new water supply. “It will help the goat not to catch any diseases. Those goats will multiply and become many in the household.” Helen and her community have celebrated the new borehole by writing a song:

“This song says Oxfam is good for coming to drill for us clean water. To me this is a good day, it’s a big event that they have drilled clean water. When there is no water there is no life. Water is life.”

ABOVE LEFT: Ipoo Ngachara (55) collects fresh water from the new water supply. TOP RIGHT: Children play in the borehole as fresh water is sprayed from a pipe. ABOVE RIGHT: Ipoo joins in the celebrations. All photos by Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

Only 15 per cent of the largely nomadic population of Turkana has a reliable water supply. Serious water-related illnesses, such as cholera, are common in this part of northern Kenya. We drilled and installed six boreholes with hand pumps between February and April 2012. At least 12,500 people are using them.

Thanks to your support, we are changing lives forever. To help us implement more projects like this, please give what you can today.