Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jackiline's Walk For Water

Jackiline’s day begins around 6am when she first needs to retrieve water for the day. With four children, three of which are in early grade school, her needs are not unlike most. Prepare a breakfast and clean the kids up for school, perhaps a little cleaning. Her walk for water takes about two hours. She will descend to the water hole we had just come from with a jerry can, the inescapable staple of the African nation, and retrieve water for the morning. Her children, at there young age, are often left in the house and are unable to help simply because of the steep climb back up to the village. When she returns with the water she must prepare a fire to boil the water. She is both aware of the dangers of parasites and other water born bacteria and can pay the high cost of firewood. For so many this is not the case. This morning supply will last just that, the morning. Depending on her daily activities she may need to retrieve another jerry can in the midday, however conservation is generally practiced in order to avoid the climb in the mid day sun. The evening brings another trip to the valley and another two hours is spend providing water for her family.

Jackiline at the water hole.
In order to capture Jackiline’s story on camera we asked if she would not mind accompanying us back down the water hole to retrieve water. We wanted to capture the process of here twice dally journey. We also offered a ride back up the hill for here efforts. When we arrive at the water hole it was populated with jerry cans and individuals retrieving water. This wasn’t just an isolated water source that a few villager relied on. This was the central water supply for the communities on both ridge lines and throughout the valley. Our gracious host waded into the water as we documented the process. Several comments were made by the by stander in kinrwandia which I could only equate to jeers of this lovely woman’s new status of movie star. After she filled her jerry can in the muddy waters, carefully placed plastic over the spout and closed the lid she removed a vibrant scarf she was wearing, rapped in a donut shape and placed it on here head. This served as both cushion and support of the sloshing water as she placed it on her head for transport back up the mountain. Practical. We thanked her for her time as a smile of giddiness came across her face as if to consider how crazy we were to travel from America with all our cameras simply to document such a trivial event as fetching water. You see to her it is trivial. She does not wake in the morning complaining about the 4 to 6 hours she will spend retrieving water for her family that day. She doesn’t grumble as she gathers wood and starts a fire when its 90 degrees out simply to boil her water so her children don’t get sick. To her, its the product but the process that she commented on. She wants clean water for her family. That is the African story of water.

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