Our First Site Visit!

Day 2 Cont-

Our first site visit is a 2011 water project in a Settlement for Widows and Orphans of the Genocide. The community was established by the Rwandan government as part of a reparation and compensation plan to help bring about healing after this 1994 tragedy. While the “orphans” are now grown, they can still live on the land. Located in the Kicukiro district, this is considered a peri-urban area but still about an hour and a half outside of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda and really the only large city in the country. (Due to the conditions and lack of available resources, most areas outside of Kigali would be considered rural to the majority of Americans.) 

As we pull up we are greeted by the local water seller, Jeanne. (Each water project has a water seller elected by the community to ensure that water is distributed fairly. Over 50% are female, which is a huge economic gain and game changer for these women as they are now part of the water conversation and have control over this essential resource.) She introduces us to the people and shows us the water taps serving the 58 families that live in this village. 

Part of the water project includes a water tap stand used to supply drinking water and rain barrel systems located throughout the village. It's amazing what water has done here in such a short time! They grow crops for use by their families with some farms yielding enough to trade/sell at the local market. Livestock such as cows, goats and chickens can be maintained and kept healthier due to a consistent source of clean, easily accessible water. And more children are attending school and looking forward to bright and prosperous futures instead of hauling water. 

For example, we met Jeanne’s granddaughter, Kevine. She is 10 years old and goes to P-6 (or 6th grade) at the local school. When asked what she wanted do when she grew up she said, “I want to be a Doctor or the Minister of Education.” I commented that I’m impressed with her ambitious goals. When asked what made her want to pursue these occupations. Kevine said she wants to help people. And that she has seen how water changed her grandmother’s, and therefore her family’s, lives: Jeanne has her own chickens, latrine, water spout and crops, and runs a village store out of a structure in her backyard. Jeanne has created numerous successful businesses as a result of clean water and investing her resources wisely. Kevine said her grandmother is a role model, and Kevine KNOWS women can obtain a good education and make a difference. 

It’s truly amazing what ONE year of clean water has done!!

Good Luck to you Kevine. We’ll be watching you and expecting great things.