Clean water brings hope to Vimphere

WaterAid/Dennis Lupenga

Rafiq Moyenda and his family are a good example of a proud family that has greatly benefited from having more time to earn an income ever since a borehole was installed in their community. When I visited their home, I saw a lot of positive improvements.

The house was refurbished. It now looks very decent. Rafiq has been able to build a small shop where he makes extra money to support his family. On top of that, his barber shop business has been booming. The first time he saw me, he was all smiles.

Dressed in a clean white shirt and blue trousers, he greeted me and showed me the chair where we sat and had a chat. He explained to me how things have changed since the borehole was installed in his community.

Rafiq Moyenda, businessman, 26 years old, Vimphere Village, Kasungu, Malawi, October 2016.

"Time is indeed very precious. In the past, my wife used to come home late. The shallow water source was cramped with a lot of people. She would wake up very early and get home late. She was tired most of the time. This meant that I needed to do other household chores to support our family. In my case, I had to go alone to the field to cultivate the land.

"The produce was not enough to fend for my family. I had to work in my barber shop just to earn more money to support my family. Life was hard without access to water in our family. The situation not only affected my wife and I.

"Our daughter Fortune would report for her classes late at school. It wasn't easy to make things work. We felt really constrained and we weren't able to do other things apart from spending a lot of time fetching water. Things drastically improved when you (WaterAid) installed a borehole.

Girls playing with water, at a new borehole, Vimphere village, Kasungu, Malawi, November 2016.

"People are now free to fetch water anytime. This has made it possible for people to plan their livelihoods. Unlike in the past, most people had no choice but to spend most of the day fetching water. Personally, my life has improved over the last year. Among other things, I am now able to go with my wife to cultivate our garden all the time. We grow beans, Irish potatoes, and maize. This has increased our farm production, which in return has also improved our economic status.

"We are now able to invest in other businesses like the small shop which we have. As a barber, my job is easier now. In the past, people used to come for a shave with dirty hair. My shaving clipper would jam most of the time as more people had dirty hair to shave. It would take more time to shave.

Rafiq Moyenda, 24, cuts the hair of his client Esnart Phiriin in his barber shop, Vimphere Village, Kasungu, Malawi, September 2017

Not only that, I would spend more money to fix my clipper as it would get damaged quite often. Now things are different. People have clean hair which takes me less time to shave. Also, my shaving clippers are now in good condition which has been saving me a lot of money.

On top of that, I am happy to see my wife not tired all the time. She is happier now than she was before we had the borehole. Most importantly, we are a healthier family than ever before.

Rafiq Moyenda, 24, and Chrissy Moyenda, 24, happy to spend more time together, Vimphere Village, Kasungu, Malawi, September 2017

"Over the past year, we have not had any cases of diarrhoea or waterborne diseases which used to be common in the past. I am glad that WaterAid helped us close that chapter. We are a happy community now. We really appreciate what you did for us. It has made a huge difference in our lives" explains Rafiq.

Vimphere received clean water in 2016. The impact this has brought to the community is unimaginable. Among other things, more children are now attending school. Various businesses are flourishing and most importantly, people are living a healthy life.