Monica lives in Lusaze, in west Kampala, Uganda. Her home is a small, rented room in a slum community with her husband and 5 children. They pay 100,000 shillings (£20) a month on rent.
She lives opposite the community’s main water source, an unprotected spring. The water is not safe. Just beyond it is the latrine that Monica, her family and her neighbours use. It is thought to be contaminating the water they collect. Also, the main sewerage ditch snakes its way through the streets bringing rubbish, mud and faeces to the well.
It’s a very hot Monday morning. Monica wakes early to fetch her water before the queues start. She collects 140 litres of water for the day which requires multiple trips.
Once home, Monica leaves the water to stand for a while so the sediment settles before using it to wash utensils, pots, pans and her family’s clothes. She fills a pot with some dirty water, lights the last of her charcoal and leaves the pot to boil.
Her son is ill in bed with typhoid and diarrhoea, contracted from dirty water. He will miss school again today. He will fall further behind in class. It’s a huge concern for Monica.
When the morning chores are done Monica leaves her son with her eldest daughter and starts the long walk to market. She buys medication from the clinic. It’s expensive but it will help ease her son’s symptoms. She also buys a bag of charcoal for the week. She knows that this amount of charcoal isn’t enough, but it’s all she can afford.
Monica tries to sell the few avocados she has managed to grow to a stall at the market, but she’s unsuccessful. She returns home.
Her daughter has already taken the boiled water off the heat and set it aside to cool. It is still too hot to drink. Monica begins to prepare food for the family. She tries to cook on the remaining embers but there’s not enough heat. She reluctantly opens the new bag of coal.
Hours after Monica collected the water that morning, having let it settle, boil, and then cool down, it is finally ready for the family to drink. It’s their first drink of the day, but at least it’s safe. There isn’t much to go round, Monica decides to give her portion of water to her son. He is struggling with dehydration. Monica then pours herself some dirty water to drink. It smells awful and tastes worse, it’s a taste she knows well.
She helps her son to eat and makes sure he is comfortable, and then heads out to her small plot of land to see if her crops have survived the intense heat.
As she walks home from working her land, she begins to feel pains and cramps in her stomach.
It’s getting late now. As Monica reaches home, she notices that the queue for water is shorter than usual. She quickly grabs 2 jerry cans and joins the queue.
After a while she heads back to her house carrying two heavy jerry cans full of water. She finds it difficult, she feels exhausted and weak. Once home she sits down to rest. That familiar feeling of fever begins to take hold again.
As she clears away the section of the floor where she sleeps, Monica’s thoughts drift to the days ahead –
Together we can provide 600 homes in the slums of Kampala with a BioSand Water Filter, which can give these families the precious gift of safe clean water for decades.
Would you join with us today to ensure families like Monica’s can enjoy safe clean water in their homes?