Tag Archives: children

Samburu Stories: Laresoro Community Well, Yasin’s Story.

Yasin

Yasin Lekomon lives just 200 meters from the Laresoro well.  At 36, Yasin has seven children. The oldest, 20, is now a shepherd taking care of the family goats, far from here. The others are in the school, except for her 3 year old who does not separate from her.

“Before we had to walk very far to get dirty and dark water, like a soup of clay, that we collected with a lot of patience, and we carry back to our house. We spent practically all day working to get the water”. Now she comes to the well each morning, and collects as much water as she needs, for the family and also for the cattle.  “I go to sleep peacefully every night.  I know that tomorrow I will get up and I will have water. Before  the well, sometimes, I could not sleep wondering if I was going to be able to collect enough water the next day. “

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The life of Yasin and all the families living in this area and even the families that have settled here after the opening of the well, has changed radically.  From spending almost all daylight hours busy getting and transporting water, the women can now experience the incredible feeling of being able to dedicate the day to other activities, take care of their children, play with them; cook without being in a hurry and having meals that are more tasty and healthy; meet in the shade of the trees to chat with other women while they make their wonderful necklaces of beads.   Yasin tells me, blushing, as if she felt guilty to admit it, “to rest for a few moments when the sun is at its highest in the sky and makes breathing difficult.”  All that, before the well, was simply impossible.

Yasin 2

Drinking water without limits and without fear of contracting diseases. This is, undoubtedly, the main advantage of the well, but it is by no means the only one. The health of these communities has undergone a huge qualitative leap: the incidence of diarrhea, cholera and other serious diseases that were common before has dropped dramatically, and the toilet and cleaning habits have changed radically.  Yasin does not have a doubt about it and tells me that one of the things she likes most about life “after the well” is to be able to wash the clothes and enjoy its beautiful and bright colors. Before our clothes had only one color, the brown color of the earth.”

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The well has made me happy, and the only thing I would like is to get more wells drilled in the area. Many, many people from the area come here once they find out about this well, and sometimes we are too many to collect water. The next well should be on the other side of the river.”  It is then that I realize that the immense road of fine dusty sand passing by the Laresoro well is the bed of a dry river.

Stay tuned for more Samburu Stories as we introduce you to other families in the Laresoro well community who benefit from clean water because of The Samburu Project and donors like you.

 

This Samburu Story was written by Cristina Saura samburuSTORIES_logo_gray

and features photographs by Mamen Saura.

Go to http://www.thesamburuproject.org to read more

Samburu Stories and join the global TSP family to

provide clean water to families in Samburu, Kenya.  

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Samburu Stories: Laresoro Community Well

20140616_Samburu_Laresoro_070After driving about 30 minutes from Archers Post we arrived at the well of the Laresoro Community, our first visit. From the sand, under the shade of the acacias, a wide pipe emerges. On one side a lever to pump, on the other the pipe, and at its feet a small ditch. Here is the miracle of water. The well serves numerous communities in the surrounding area; many women and children are waiting for us, smiling and welcoming. They greet us affectionately with the Maa salutation, “sopa,” in a festive atmosphere. The women sing and dance to give us a warm welcome and their children, suspicious at the first instance, stare at us hiding behind the cheerful clothes of their mothers, clinging to their kangas. 

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This well serves a community of about 1,500 people. Women who previously used to walk up to 8 hours a day to get the water essential to be able to subsist, have, for the last three years, access to clean water in abundance, walking now between 5 and 30 minutes. This is the case of Lingoine Lekoloi, a petite woman, with a smile so sweet that it’s impossible to not smile back while you listen to her, wants to talk to me.   She is here with her little one Mbaa, a 4 year old boy and the youngest of 5 siblings. While Mbaa pushes his toy, a roadrunner with rudimentary wheels made by his older brother with acacia twigs, Lingoine tells me that she comes twice every day, once at dawn and again at dusk to fill a 15-liter bottle. “I am extremely happy with the well. It has provided so much relief.” Drinking water without limits and without fear of contracting diseases is, undoubtedly, the main advantage of the well but it is by no means the only one. The health of the community has undergone a huge qualitative leap – the incidence of diarrhea, cholera and other serious diseases that were common before has dropped dramatically, and the toilet and cleaning habits have changed radically.

20140616_Samburu_Laresoro_052 (Mamen Saura's conflicted copy 2017-05-08)

I ask her to tell me her daily routines. The first thing she does in the morning is to bathe her children and prepare them to go to school, after that she serves breakfast (milk or tea) to the family and goes to fetch firewood, cleans her hut, and goes to the well to wash. She prepares the food, ”rests” a little while she works with the color beads. Then she takes care of the cattle off-spring, review the boma’s fence and return to the well one more time for water. By then it will be around six o’clock in the evening, when men return with the animals. Then she milks the goats and offers the milk to the whole family, collects the cattle and stores the excess milk after she sterilizes and flavors it with burnt branches (an ancestral technique that, she explains, keeps the milk in good condition for up to five days).  Lingoine’s story makes me think of the universal multitasking ability of women and suddenly I need to explain that, despite all the distances that separate us, I find great similarities between our lives … she laughs.

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Stay tuned for more Samburu Stories as we introduce you to other families in the Laresoro well community who benefit from clean water because of The Samburu Project and donors like you.

 

This Samburu Story was written by Cristina Saura samburuSTORIES_logo_gray
and features photographs by Mamen Saura.
Go to http://www.thesamburuproject.org to read more
Samburu Stories and join the global TSP family to
provide clean water to families in Samburu, Kenya.  

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“Kristen, this is Africa. Isn’t it cool?”

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Ladies singing in the pick up

Yes…we finally made it to Samburu and saw some wells today!

The truck is fine. Something must have been dragging from the undercarriage last night, but miraculously by this morning it was gone. Big sigh of relief!

One of the great gifts The Samburu Project has to offer the people of Samburu is a ride in the back of the truck, with all the thanks going to those who donated to our Truck Campaign! Today there was a constant flow of people jumping in and out of the pick-up as we drove through the bush. The ladies pictured to the left joined us at the end of a very long, hot day and were so happy for the ride that they broke out in song. It was delightful!

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Singing & dancing on the way to the well

One of the benefits of people riding with us is that it is a perfect opportunity for community development. It’s a no pressure environment to ask questions about what’s happening in a community and for those that have a well, how it is working, what issues have arisen and what difference clean water makes in their lives. A few of the ladies pictured to the right live in the Nairisha 2 Well community. Exhibited by their singing, the incredible dancing that we did on the way to the well and the hundreds of times I heard “Ashe Oleng” (thank you in Samburu), their gratitude was overflowing. It’s these moments that make the challenges I face in my work more than worth it.

So, we visited four wells today in Sere Olipi and Ndonyo Wasin. Being that I am somewhat of a Samburu-phile, this was super exciting as I have yet to travel to these areas. The Samburu Project expanded into Sere Olipi in 2011 and then Ndoyo Wasin in 2012. Nothing like getting some more of the Samburu East road under my belt…and it’s a lot of road.

Road to Ndonyo Wasin

Road to Ndonyo Wasin

Our first stop was Ndonyo Wasin and it truly felt like driving to the end of the earth. Albeit beautiful, it was a long, hot and bumpy road. We arrived at the well to find two children there taking water for themselves and their animals. Nenderua (11-year old girl) and Leipua (9-year old boy) are typical Samburu kids; sweet, giggly, shy, and very, very curious. The Nesesiai Well was drilled at the end of 2012. It was clear that they were excited about the well and that it had changed their lives drastically. They have yet to go to school as there is no primary school close to their home.

Nenderua & Leipua

Nenderua & Leipua

After I said goodbye to my new friends and started to make my way up the hill to the truck, they started yelling. They wanted to see the pictures I took of them…OF COURSE. I must be rusty if I didn’t offer to show the kids their photos! I’m so glad they mustered up the courage to ask. Nothing better than watching Samburu children look at pictures of themselves!

We made our way back over the long, dusty road to Sere Olipi. There, we visited three wells: Sere Olipi Trading Centre, Sere Olipi Primary School and Nairisha 2. The wells in Sere Olipi were all bustling. Prior to The Samburu Project drilliing in 2011, Sere Olipi had never seen a hand pump before. Many of the people in town drank water from a dam about 5 kms away. The dam’s water is very salty and causes diarrhea. Between the Primary School and the Trading Centre wells, the 5,000 people in the whole town are quenching their thirst!

I had a lovely conversation with Winnie who teaches Standard 6 English and Standard 4 Math. She has been teaching at Sere Olipi Primary School for five years. She said that prior to the well, water was the biggest challenge she faced at the school. After long days teaching she would have to walk far to get drinking water. Washing her clothes was nearly impossible because it required walking 5 kms to and fro. Beyond her personal challenges, she spoke of the relief the well has given to the girls she teaches. Because personal hygiene is such a challenge in the absence of water, many girls were inconsistent with their school attendance. With water, they can now focus on their studies without interruption.

Teacher Winnie & her students

Teacher Winnie & her students

Night began to fall so we had to cut out of Sere Olipi before visiting our last two wells: Nolkapur & Nairisha 1. I was so exhausted that I dozed off on the way back to Archer’s Post only to be awakened to a BIG giraffe walking across the road. Lucas laughed at my reaction and said; “Kristen, this is Africa. Isn’t it cool?”

 

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