Bugesera School is a Christian school. Our partner, Heaven’s Family, is connected to a Rwanda-based ministry partner, Cindy Murphy, who has done excellent work with two schools in Kenya. A Christian educator, she had seen the incredibly desperate situations of the children in the poorest slums of Nairobi and began a first Christian school, then a second, and now this third school in Rwanda. Previously, in this part of Rwanda, there was only 1 school with a 64:1 student teacher ratio and students only going 1/2 day due to over-crowding. There is a tremendous need for schools in Rwanda…and a tremendous need for clean water!
The local water source is the nearby lake used by people and animals. The lake water is used for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing. Also, there is one large community water tank which is filled once every three weeks. The water tank supplies water to the community for 3 days where each family has a 2 jerry can limit. Most people walk to the lake, but families can actually buy the dirty lake water from men and boys who go to fetch lake water and then sell it (they provide the service of fetching water). They carry 5-6 cans on bikes at a time (240-280 lbs.) and walk the bike as they can’t ride the loaded bike when hauling water. It is approximately 3 miles to the “town” of Batima, all uphill. The school itself is about a 3/4 mile from the lake and a 40-minute walk round trip. There is no plumbing or sewage system.
The most common diseases are parasites, worms, rashes, and malaria. The people receive deworming pills from the government once a year. Talking with the people, some are completely ignorant their water source was the principal cause of their health issues, yet they universally agree that they incur a significant rate of water borne illnesses and do not have enough clean water.
The well will benefit the school, greenhouses, and the general community. The plan is to have a small, fractional fee (not yet decided) as approved by the leadership so the community may contribute to future well maintenance.
The well at Bugesera School, Batima, Rwanda has been successfully drilled and the people are now able to access safe, clean water. In the area where the school is located people used to drink contaminated lake water and use it for all their other household needs. They drank it because they had to, not because they didn’t know the consequences that go with drinking unclean water. They simply had no other choice and suffered much water-related disease.
The entire community is thrilled that the well is now in place. The school children have abundant, clean water to drink and their families can easily access water to be used for drinking and all household activities. Even the children have whiter uniforms now that their moms are washing clothes with clean water. (The dirty water from the lake turned white clothes brown.)
The well will help the community not only to enjoy improved health but also will save the time that was previously spent fetching water. That “extra” time can be used for other things, including income generating activities. The children can stay in school all day instead of having to leave to go fetch water for their families.
When a clean water source is provided to a group of people who suffer from filthy, contaminated water, the positive effects are far-reaching and immediate. The people of Batima Rwanda are so grateful for this gift!