Kasa – an Adi Sibhat hero
One of the best things about The Big Pipe Project is the fact that the whole community has contributed so much.
Young and old, men and women – everybody has done their share. Carrying and storing materials, laying pipes, taking part in the construction work or even learning basic plumbing. Everybody has done something apart from one person, who seems to have done everything: Kasa.
He’s a leader!
As a local leader he represents 35 of the 120 households in Adi Sibhat, looking out for them and ensuring they contribute to the construction efforts.
As a practical, hard-working man, Kasa leads from the front. In every image of construction work or update email from my colleague Behailu, Kasa is there – usually in the background, always working hard. He has given part of his home so that materials can be stored, and whenever heavy items need to be collected from the roadside Kasa is first to offer himself and his donkeys.
“Kasa looks like a professional with his scoop and throw of the concrete plaster. Unlike most of the villagers who simply break stone and carry sand to the construction location, Kasa is involved in the mixing of cement and plastering of the inner and outer walls of the reservoir. In fact, the contracted builder saw it fit to pay him a nominal fee of £2.50 so that he gets his input more regularly.”
Quite simply, Kasa is a hero
I met Kasa on my second day in Adi Sibhat. Within seconds of meeting him I liked him.
At well over six feet tall, he has huge, muscular hands which seemed to engulf my forearm. You might think Kasa would be an imposing figure, but he isn’t at all. As soon as he spotted us, he broke away from the group he was with and ran over to us. Starting with Yared, he greeted each of us in turn, thanking us for helping his community.
When he addressed us all his first words were to welcome us and apologise for not being there to help us carry our kit from the road.
The day we met Kasa was a holy day and no farm work could take place, so we had arranged to visit his family and make the short film you can watch here. Kasa is one of the hardest working and most successful farmers in Adi Sibhat and while agricultural work was forbidden on this particular day, carrying materials to the water point construction site wasn’t, so Kasa planned to spend his afternoon doing exactly this.
He told me, “We have a holy days so we cannot do work like cutting and breaking things. Instead, we transport the sand and cement on those days as they don’t involve any forbidden activities.”
Since that day, Kasa has been the driving force of the project.
Kasa talks very clearly about the benefits that clean water will bring to his life as a farmer. He has a clear idea about how much his milk yield will improve, how much healthier the livestock will be, and how much extra he will have to sell at market.
He gets really animated when he talks about the changes his family will see. Kasa’s oldest daughter Bri is only six and she’s already an expert shepherd, her little voice commanding the cattle which tower over her. He’s proud and clearly adores her.
Above all else, he wants Bri and his other children to have the best opportunities in life; an education, and the chance to go to school in clean clothes, looking presentable and with dignity.
“If children drink water, they will be healthy, happy and I think their minds will be broader and much more clever.”
The image of Kasa and Bri, her hands in his, is one of the most striking and poignant of the Big Pipe Project. We gave him a copy of it to thank him for sharing his story with us. He looked at it, smiled and simply said “I am proud”.