On 27th August the villagers at Mphatso rejoiced. Their new well was installed and they could now draw clean water. Up to now they had been drawing drinking water from the same stream where they washed their clothes and crockery. The villagers gathered along with Sr. Imelda and Mr. Banda from the Water Board, Thyolo District to mark the occasion.
The families of the area have now set up a small committee to oversee the maintenance of the well and ensure that it will be in place to serve the village for years to come. There is still a steep walk down into the valley to the pump location and a difficult return journey to the house carrying buckets of water but nonetheless they are happy that the risk of water borne diseases have reduced.
Since the installation of this well there have been requests from five other areas who are also seeking access to clean water. The sisters have visited the areas to meet with the people and view the present arrangements for water. Each of them is struggling with similar difficulties to those encountered at Mphatso. Undoubtedly there are many villages in the locality without access to clean water. A May 2020 report on general access to potable clean water in Mwabvi Section, (just one locality within the district), noted that there were 4400 farm families in the area using only 36 wells. The recommended number is 93 for the population – leaving a deficit of 57 wells. In other words, 61% of the people are using unsafe water. This is the situation throughout the area. Of course, it would be far better for a large-scale project to be initiated on a National/Local Government Level, but in the meantime we will work with the people to set up committees and assess what can be done now to provide better access, while continuing to advocate for Government action.