Adi Keih is a modest village in Eritrea, about 18 Km to the south of the capital Asmara in a mountainous, hostile and unforgiving landscape. The residents of this harsh land must work hard to make a living – more challenging these days because of the impacts of climate change on the weather patterns.
Critical to any sustainable livelihood is access to water, and the people of Adi Keih have been desperate for a number of years to get their old community water pump fixed. Three of those families affected are the Emhatsions and the Kibroms. These are farming families, and they grow Sorghum, wheat and maize to sell in the local markets. But they have to walk at least two kilometres and back again to collect water from the nearest working pump, often twice daily. This water isn’t even clean, so they then have to collect fuel wood to boil it. This is both arduous and time consuming, and in many cases it is the women and children who perform these menial tasks.
Hansu Emhatsion is 35, she lives with her husband and six children and she spends at least three hours each day fetching water – she often has to go to the well twice under a blazing sun. She is used to it, but sometimes she needs to ask her older children to come with her and she hates this. “Often they are late for school, or can’t go at all because we are fetching water. I feel so bad when that happens. Having the local pump fixed would mean a lot to the families around here.”
Mehret Kibrom is married with eight children, including Biritki, pictured with his goat. “I feel it is a big waste of my time, and I could be doing other things every day instead of walking so far to get water. I always worry that the children will get thirsty on the way back from the well and drink the water before it has been boiled. I have seen many children get sick from drinking dirty water. Having clean water so close is a luxury for us.” Vita has recently incorporated Adi Kieh into it’s Water Bore Hole Rehabilitation Scheme, much to the delight of and their neighbours. “Almost 500 people live in this village,” says Mehret. “Think of all the hours walking and carrying that this pump will save. The whole village will be better because of it.”