On the shores of Lake Victoria there is a rural community called Maruba. Rain is rare and the people of Maruba relied on the lake as their only source of fresh water, but unfortunately it was teeming with microbiological contaminants that cause waterborne diseases such as bilharzias, dysentery and diarrhea. The water was further contaminated by pesticides used by local farmers to treat crops. Rain would wash their harmful chemicals into the lake. Without another option, the people of Maruba had to rely on this water supply that caused constant illness—and even death—for those who drank it.
Water Missions International worked with the people of Maruba to transform the water of Lake Victoria from something that brought misery and illness into a source of life. Along with a safe water solution, they were trained on how to independently manage their new water treatment system, so that it would serve as a permanent solution to their need for safe water. They were also taught adequate WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) practices to combat other obstacles that could compromise their health.
When you ask the people of Maruba about what life is like for them now, they see a difference. Grace Ojambo, a long term Maruba resident, said, “The safe water changes our situation because it’s not easy when you’re sick and in pain because of unhealthy water. We would have to spend money on tablets for treatment. I praise God and thank Water Missions for bringing us safe water, which is now close by and good for our bodies.”
The impact was so great that even the local medical clinic noticed a change, too. “We opened up a clinic in Maruba because of the high prevalence of water-related diseases, especially diarrhea, typhoid and skin diseases,” explained Mukaga Apollo, director of the clinic. “However, three months after Water Missions provided safe water, diarrhea reduced by 90% as well as other water-related illnesses. People stopped coming to the clinic, except those suffering from malaria, eye infections and HIV Aids.”
Because of drinking safe water, the number of patients in the clinic reduced dramatically and the clinic closed its doors to move on to another community in need (there is another clinic less than 3 miles away for those suffering from other ailments). The former clinic now serves as a community guest house—and a physical illustration of the power of safe water.
“I’ve witnessed the impact of safe water on people’s lives,” said Apollo. “As along as Maruba has safe water, there will always be a great improvement in their health as well as community development. Thank you so much Water Missions.”
View our 2012 Annual Report to read more about the way that safe water has changed everything for the people of Maruba. Also, check out Uganda’s Daily Monitor for their coverage of how safe water has transformed Namayingo.