Sr Christine Martin writes from Limpopo in South Africa:
South Africa is in severe drought and water shortage is suffered throughout many households. Towns are on water restrictions but rural villages are having to cart in water and pay per drum load and many have needed our assistance to survive.
The crèche water infrastructure was upgraded to try to get a few buckets a day from the borehole. Tanks and guttering have been erected across several orphaned homes together with the building of pit toilets. A new borehole has been drilled on the mission which supports the clinic, three residences, the OVC project and vegie gardens.
The project provided for various water tank and sanitation projects at orphan homes, The HIV/Aids Diocesan Response Centre, Bakhita home of safety for primary school girls, the mission site and OVC houses.
This included fencing to stop animals grazing on the property and destroying vegetable gardens; pit toilets for families; maintenance, repair of ablution block at Bakhita and toilets at the Diocesan Centre; tanks, stands and guttering at all places; a borehole at the mission and more water pipes and connections for a local village crèche.
Land was purchased and cleared by OVC families on three new sites, some dug holes for fencing, others carried water for mixing cement and bricks for tank stands. Leveling ground and digging pit for toilet was hard work.
Pit toilets/plumbing items:
At Bakhita, residential for young girls situated at Dwars River, the showers and toilets needed repairing. A new borehole was drilled down 130 metres instead of the usual 80 as there has been no water for several months. Out in the villages six orphan households have had pit toilets constructed.
New fences were erected at three OVC sites to protect their gardens but with the drought nothing much has come to fruition. It has however, enhanced personal security and we have had our building lads fill gaps in walls and repair areas where potential thieves were accessing properties, particularly where only women and children were residing.
Tanks and Guttering:
We have put tanks up at the Diocesan Centre, Bakhita and the mission volunteers’ house and OVC houses. All have had tank stands and guttering to help with the collection of rain water.
Sadly the drought hasn’t yet broken so there is little benefit as yet from this effort. A grave lesson was learnt in this aspect of the project. Gale force winds tore through the orphan compound up on the hill at Rapitsi and one of the tanks blew off its stand as it was empty and not secured.
We now know to buy tent pegs and wire to weigh them down. We also changed the size of some of the tanks, keeping smaller ones for households and larger ones for groups and shared community centres. It became evident that the greater capacity for storage was a better option.
It has indeed been a God send to assist so many suffering orphaned and unemployed families with the water project funding. The harsh reality of the drought has made life even more difficult and many are struggling to survive. Having access to water is helping many to keep healthier as the river water, if not totally dried up, is compromised with livestock, washing of vehicles and clothing and being used as public latrines. I even saw a circus tent … used for funerals … being washed down at the water hole. To be able to provide a healthier option through the clean water project is making a positive difference to many of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children that we have in our ministry.