Its that time of year again. The time where the storm clouds start rollingggg in, the nights cool off, and everything begins to go from brown to green. Of course the rains won’t begin in earnest for a couple months, but the dry season is definitely transitioning to wet. It couldn’t come soon enough.
This dry=>wet segue has its own unique set of challenges (remember some of our wet=>dry updates?). On one hand, as water levels get lower and lower, water quality gets more and more GROSS – we definitely see an increase in center sales at this time! Some ladies even buy treated water for washing and cooking.
On the other hand, sometimes dugout water gets so low that there is not enough water to treat. CWS partners with communities that report having dugouts that don’t, or rarely, run dry; our work is most appropriate for these situations. However, this has been a drought year for much of Western Africa (check out a few international news articles here and here and here and here). For the first time in our operational history, we are having to deal with dry dugouts. Jagberin, Gbateni, Zanzugu Yipela, Yipela, Kushini, Kagburashe and Buhijaa have closed down center operations until the next rain (many reopened after a big storm yesterday) but until the rain starts again in full force it will be difficult for these communities to have consistent, treated water. Most are walking kilometers into the bush, or to other communities, for their water needs (Kagburashe actually gets its water from another CWS village, Chani – so treatment continues for those who want to walk!).
Luckily the rainy season is just around the corner! A few big storms have blown through, giving staff the opportunity to talk to some of our newer communities about rainwater collection. Soon, too, communities whose dugouts become inaccessible (like Gbung and Libi) or who have water sources open up closer to home (like Zanzugu) will have to heave their polytanks back to town. We have also begun prepping our most remote communities, Chanaayili, Gbateni and Buhijaa, to be independent for a few months when large bodies of water start to block the roads. The ladies laugh and tell us to swim aquatabs across to them – we are going to need official CWS speedos!
Basically, we are watching and waiting for rain.
And now, back to the fellows!