'Really good water'
18 December 2015

In Gira Debrom, Ethiopia, water used to take up a lot of the community’s time, energy and thoughts.

The village is surrounded by mountains, and the nearest water source was up to an hour’s walk away over treacherous terrain.

Even after making such a risky journey, the only water the villagers could collect was unclean.

But now, thanks to your incredible support, life in the community will be transformed, with two new water points, a new basin for washing clothes and a trough for the community’s cattle.

Share the moment the community got clean water for the very first time:

The villagers have even called their new water spring ‘Mai Roman’, which means ‘really good water’.

Better health, stronger livelihoods

The villagers used to try and collect water early in the morning, before people began washing their clothes upstream and polluting the water, but this wasn’t always possible. As a result, they often got sick.

“Diarrhoea and skin infections are very common,” says Alganesh, a health officer at the local health care centre. “These diseases are all linked to a lack of clean water.”

The situation didn’t just pose a risk to the villagers’ health but to their livelihoods too. Leeches in the water supply would also kill cattle – one of the community’s most important sources of income.

Dimtsu Gebremichael, Gira Debrom village, EthiopiaNow there's safe water in Gira Debrom, Dimtsu's cattle are safe from the threat of leeches.

“I have tried hopelessly to protect my cattle from leeches," says Dimtsu, who has lived in the village for 45 years. "But they are animals, so they wander off to the river and come back coughing and sneezing. They normally die a couple of days later."

‘I don’t need to worry about my mother’s safety anymore’

When Tsigie was at school, she used to wake up at 5am every day to collect water for her family.

When she moved away from Gira Debrom to finish her education and find work, she was worried the role of collecting water would fall to her mother.

Tsigie, Gira Debrom, Ethiopia. Tsigie no longer has to worry about her mother collecting water.

“My mother is getting older and the only way to the river is really steep and dangerous,” says Tsigie.

“I was worried she would have to fetch water. But the new water point has lifted that burden off my shoulders. I don’t need to worry about my mother’s safety anymore.”

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For one rural village, daily life has changed dramatically with the arrival of safe, clean water.