Welcome to the my life: Sharing a dirty well

Image: WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

Name: Rasoa
Age: 50
Lives in Manjakandriana, Madagascar
Married with 5 children

What is it like living here?

For a family like mine, life is really tough here, as we have to fight every single day that God gives us to survive. We struggle every single day and not having water nearby is making it harder.

Where do you get your water from?

Our water source is a well located nearby the main road and a garage down the hill. A long time ago, it used to be clean, but not anymore. The well is not protected, it is covered by algae and tiny creatures. It is not covered. The mechanics use the same well as us. Sometimes they repair cars and trucks and the engine oil goes into the well. Sometimes they use a dirty bucket they have used in their work in the well. I have tried many times to tell them, but you know, they don’t care.

How long does it take you to collect water?

We have to carry heavy jerrycans more than five times a day from the well down the main road to our home and our shop. It is very tiring, and takes up too much of our time.

Do you have any other options?

We know that the water from this well is dirty, but we have to use and drink this water every single day. There are few other cleaner water sources in the village, but most of them are far away from us. The commune has a fountain nearby their office, but it is very far from my house, and often there is a long queue there, so we prefer to fetch water at the well - even we know it is dirty.

How do you make a living?

Life is really tough for us here as we don’t have enough rice fields or land, so we are used to doing little jobs as a means of subsistence. My husband and some of my children are used to working for other people, laboring in rice and cassava fields, or planting. They often start work at 5.30am or 6am til 4pm, and get paid around Ariary 3500 per day [$1.40 AUD].

What gives you hope for the future?

As a parent, I will push my little boy in his studies. I hope that at least he will succeed in his studies so he can help us.

What would clean water mean for you?

If we get a fountain in our village, our life would be so different. We will no longer have to fetch and drink dirty water. We will have more time to work and improve our life.

This article also appeared in WaterAid's Oasis Spring-Summer 2019 magazine, available for download here.