Here to stay: progress in Chandaka

Image: WaterAid/Alexia Webster

It’s been a life-changing year in Chandaka, Malawi. A water pump was installed giving 34 households access to clean water overnight. Since then the village has gone from strength to strength.

Little over a year ago the people of Chandaka had no clean water supply, relying on dirty river water to drink, cook and wash with, and it’s no surprise that it often made them ill.

But now, thanks to your support, and a simple feat of engineering, the residents of Chandaka have clean water. Life has changed for them in more ways than you could imagine.

Clean water means better health. It means time and energy for jobs and education. It means enjoying the simple pleasures in life. The good effects spiralled, and they’re here to stay for generations to come.

Meet some of the proud residents of Chandaka and hear their hopes and dreams for the future.

Zione, 22-year-old mother

Zione washes dishes outside her home in Malawi.
Image: WaterAid/Alexia Webster

"We used to spend a lot of time at the stream. Married couples would fight about whether their partners had other partners, just because of the time they were spending there!

"We would go to the hospital and everyone would identify us as people from Chandaka village. We were [frequent] customers there because of diarrhoea. Big customers!

"As a child I suffered from cholera so I had to leave school. It was very painful for me because now my friends who finished are doing better. My daughter’s life will be very different. She will not have to experience cholera, and if she doesn’t get educated, it won't be for lack of water.

"When the borehole was put in, we celebrated the whole night. We didn’t sleep because we were afraid they might take it back. We had to make sure the borehole was here to stay!"

Helix, father, teacher and village committee member

Helix teaches a class at the nursery school in the village of Chandaka, Malawi.
Image: WaterAid/Alexia Webster

"I was selected to be a teacher because of my determination and patience. When I’m with the children I pretend to be like one of them. It’s great to teach children because they learn quickly. We advise the children to make hygiene their priority.

"We advise them to wash their hands to avoid the germs that might contaminate the food and make them sick.

"We have a village farm where we grow groundnuts which we sell after harvest… so we always have a little something in our savings to maintain the borehole.

"In the future it will be easier for the children to attend school because their lives and health will be better. I would really like our village and school to be an example to other villages."

Zuzeni, father and entrepreneur

Brick maker Zuzeni working in Chandaka, Malawi.
Image: WaterAid/Alexia Webster

"The borehole has made a big difference to my businesses. One of the things that I have done is growing tomatoes at the end of the borehole so that the wasted water feeds them.

"Previously we would have stopped making bricks from August because we couldn’t find water. Now we are able to make bricks all year round. It helps me generate money to buy things like soap.

"Whoever is alive 20 years from now is going to live a really good life in this village. Life will have changed a lot because there is time to do a lot more than just thinking about water."

Kestina, grandmother

Kestina outside her home in the village of Chandaka, Malawi.
Image: WaterAid/Alexia Webster

"We moved here in 1984, because of the big river running near the village. But as time passed the river started to go dry and we would find snails, reeds and other organisms in it.

"When we were told that the contractors were coming to drill we couldn’t sleep – we watched the four trucks arrive and didn’t move an inch until they reached water.

"Now because everyone in the village is fit, it feels like we’re taking medicine, but the actual medicine is the clean water we are taking from the borehole!

"I’ve noticed a huge difference in the way I brought up my kids in a community without clean water and the way my children are raising their kids. They will be able to take this community further because they are growing up healthy.

"Now I can bathe at any time. These days when I bathe and dress myself nicely I feel content. I look back and think, I wish this type of life started a long time ago."