Six months after the Lemolo Borehole project was completed, KIDS Initiative received our first progress report, which included a profile of one particular Lemolo resident and how her family’s lives have been impacted by having easy access to safe, clean water.
Winy Chepkwony is in her early 40s and married with four children (and one grandchild). Like many other women in the Lemolo community, the completion of the borehole has caused dramatic changes for Winy. She and everyone else are overwhelmed with joy and incredibly thankful for the donors who made this possible.
On average, women in sub-Saharan Africa spend about 33 minutes collecting water each day. Now, Winy only needs 3 minutes to reach the borehole; within 10 minutes, she is back home with clean water. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Winy’s family is thankful that they have had enough water to be able to follow the recommended hand washing procedures. She and her family no longer have to worry about water borne diseases either, while easy access to water has allowed them to improve their daily hygiene practices so that they can all stay healthy.
The borehole has also impacted how Winy and her family eat. Now that she has easy access to water, Winy finds it hard to believe that there used to be days where she had to serve her family food using dirty utensils because there was no water to clean them.
Before the borehole was completed, Winy’s family only practiced crop farming, as they worried about being able to find water for any animals. Since the drilling of the borehole, they’ve started a bustling livestock farm with seven goats and two cows. The family provides water from the borehole and the animals provide milk for the family.
The borehole is also saving lives. Last year, Winy was blessed with a baby girl, born in the hospital. Because her baby was underweight, she needed to be kept in an incubator for two months. Winy stayed with her daughter the entire time, ensuring that she got the best care possible. Because it is traditionally the wife’s responsibility to look for water, without the borehole, Winy and her family would have struggled to both find water and care for the baby. However, easy access to the borehole’s water made it possible for her family to get through this stressful time.
Winy’s daughter gave birth a few months later, so now there are two babies in the household. In the past, it was difficult to care for infants because of the demand for water since both babies and their clothing need to be washed or changed several times a day. Because of water scarcity, women used to dry used baby clothes in the sun, reusing them up to 5 times before washing them. Even though they knew that this was unhygienic and exposed the health of their children, women in the Lemolo community had no other choice. Now, with the borehole, Winy and the other women can wash clothes as much as they need to, which is having a direct and positive impact on all young children.
Winy summarized the impact that the borehole has had on the Lemolo community well. When asked what it meant to her, she said that the borehole was the “gift of [my] lifetime, it’s a source of joy and happiness…it’s [my] comfort zone”.