Living for 16 years without water

The sound of the water is heard as if it were a mighty spring.  The mother of six children is happy because “with eyes closed” she can drink and quench her children’s thirst, all thanks to the introduction of drinking water that reaches her house as result of a joint project by Compassionate Hands For Nepal, the Nepal government, and the community.

Yashoda Sharki lives in Keraghari, a community that throughout its history received water from a well located 2 km away and from a river located 3 km away (1 hours distance). In the dry season these gave just one jar of water a day for each family.

“To live 16 years of my life without water has been difficult.  I lacked water until 2016 when drinking water was introduced. Taking a bath was even a problem because we were much rationed.  We got up 2 o´clock in the morning to go to the well to be the first ones to fill our water jars or else we walked to the river carrying our dirty clothes and water jars.  We bathed in the river, but due to the walking we sweated, we got all dirty with dust and come back home dirtier than before leaving home,” says Sharki, who is 42 years old.

Men, women, and children joined in caravans to go up to Jhiku River.  The ones that had oxen to carry the water had better luck, but most of them carry the water themselves, causing damage to their neck, back and hips.

In fact, fetching water takes so much time that it prevents women from performing their other work: to protect the family’s health, and to care for the children and the crops.  “The water we drank was contaminated.  It is sad to see that children get sick by drinking bad quality water.  They now live in paradise because they have good, pure, and healthy water,” affirms the happy Sharki.

“In 2007, the project was started. The government provided the fund that is for drill company to find water and to plant the well for pumping, but it did not find the water source.  The community insisted on faith that there is water in that place and continued the searching process and that is how they finally found the necessary amount of water,” says Prem, a social leader of the community. There are 190 inhabitants in Keraghari Community in Kavre.

The water reserve tank was constructed by the local government fund in 2015, but there was no fund for distribution the pipeline. In 2017, CHFN strengthened the water system with the pipeline and other necessary accessories. At present, about 190 families are receiving water in their houses. “We have always trusted CHFN.  We achieved that it helped us to benefit more families with the vital liquid,” says Prem.

Water facilitates domestic and agricultural work.  The families are enthusiastic to establish home-vegetable gardens with green peppers and tomatoes.  “Having plenty of water will make it easier for us to have home-vegetable gardens.  The houses are very pretty because women have sown plants and flowers that decorate entrances,” says Prem, who also says that each household sold approximately NRs. 25 thousand flowers in last festival season.

Lack of water and poverty are interrelated in a direct way and affect mainly the poorest and most vulnerable communities.  In 2050, the lack of water will affect 7,000 million people warns the United Nations.  According to the World Health Organization, water scarcity affects four out of every ten people in the world.

Before this reality, there is a group of men and women that are fighting to provide water of good quality to the next generations.  And they are also teaching their sons and daughters to take care of the liquid and to get involved in activities to preserve water sources.  “Our water is of such good quality that there are people from other communities that when they pass through here, they take water to their houses,” say the proud watchmen of the water source.