Married to Getachew, Mana has 5 children ranging from 3 months to 15 years old. Mana’s day is dominated by the daily burden of collecting and carrying water.

“I collect 25 litres each time I go, and carry the water home on my back – tying rope around my chest to secure it.”
Three times a day, starting at dawn, she leaves her youngest children at home and climbs over the rocky ground to the water-source. When she gets there she must wait for up to an hour as other people, and their cattle, take the water they need before she takes what she can for her family. As the dry season continues, less and less water is available, and the dwindling supply must be shared.

Sickness and pain

Mana has collected water in this way, day in day out since she was five. Carrying that weight every day has taken its toll on her health. “I have had inflammation in the shoulder for many years. It means that my right arm doesn’t work very well.”

The constant fear of leeches and the lack of water to wash means the children are often sick. Mana knows that not having a safe latrine nearby can make the family sick so their toilet is a patch of ground towards the river.

A bright future

Safe water and a simple clean toilet will transform life for Mana. Her time can be spent with her children or working on their farm to provide a better income to support the family and keep them healthy.


Jeremy Gibson

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