Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bringing Water to Kasaani Village

It was back in early 2007 that GVI first met and began to work with the community of Kasaani village... in many ways your 'stereotypical' rural dusty Kenyan community trying to scrape a living from the land.

The Tsavo landscape around Kasaani

In their case the land lies on the very edge of Tsavo West National Park. The landscape is stunning with views of Chyulu Hills and Taita hills dotting the Kenyan plains to the North and East, the impressive North Pare mountains of Tanzania to the south and, when the clouds clear, the majestic Mt Kilimanjaro to the West.

However it makes for tough living, the rains so unpredicatable that their efforts at subsistence farming are more like a lottery than a livelihood. It's not just the crops that suffer from lack of water; the community of Kasaani have never had a water source in the village and normal daily life requires the men, women and children to make a 5km round trip to their nearest source. Those lucky enough to have a bicycle can fetch 60l at a time, on foot you have tripple the number of journeys. Beatrice highlighted just one example of how they are forced to conserve water when she pointed to a group of children and told me they don't wash their children's clothes often enough because they just can't spare the water.

Curious children look on at Kasaani

Poor access to potable water is cited as an indicator of poverty and addressing this is one of the key objectives of the millenium development goals. So with GVI launching our first construction project here in Kenya, access to water for Kasaani village stood out as our number one choice for the funding and manpower we were bringing in... but it's a huge job - 3.5km of trenches to be dug to run a water pipeline from the borehole at Salita village.

Water collection at Cess - the people of Kasaani have had to make a 5km trip by bike or on foot to get their daily water needs

So we teamed up with the Taveta District Council's Constituency Development Fund to co-finanace the project and bring in the expertise, and our volunteers and staff teamed up with the Kasaani ex-poachers community group for two weeks of digging.

At the outset it seemed a huge task for our small team armed only with pangas, hoes and spades, but when Sara and I took our volunteers Carl, Hannah, Phil, Shu and Zaya, on the 5km round trip to collect just 20l of water between 7 of us, the value of the project struck home and the seeds of determination were sown...

Shu takes her turn carrying water from Cess to our base at Kasaani

Stay tuned for our progress,