It’s 5am on the Kamboni river, rural Malawi. The first thing on everyone’s mind is water. Nine-year-old Enestina and her mother Eliyeta Muyeye hunker barefoot on the muddy riverbed, scooping water into their buckets.
This water will keep the family alive, but will also make them sick. They will get boils on their skin from washing in the river water. The water is dirty, but they have no choice - it's all they have to drink.
Enestina carries 15 litres of water on her head. It is a long half kilometre journey back to her home. Like all the girls in her village, Enestina started carrying water when she was only six years old.
"I don’t like carrying water. It’s far and it’s heavy to carry. I have neck pains.” Enestina must do this backbreaking trip twice each day, once in the morning before school and once when she returns home.
Enestina spends hours a day walking to and from the river, queuing, waiting and carrying a heavy, overflowing bucket. "When I have to get water in the morning there is a queue so I have to wait and I am late for school” says Enestina.
By the time she arrives at school, Enestina is already too tired to study. “The time I spend getting water would be better used to study. I'd like to be a teacher when I’m older.” says Enestina.
Despite all their obstacles, Enestina’s community is vibrant and peaceful and they have a great sense of ‘get up and go’. Community members worked together to build a school and a clay road into the village with their bare hands.
They set up a village committee that has lobbied their government for a water source. They have done all they can to get water to their village, but their voices have not been heard.
Thanks to Irish supporters like you, life in this village is about to change. Enestina and her mother will no longer have to queue at the river to collect dirty water. Trócaire is installing a water pump, to bring clean water to families for the first time.
Your support can help us do more. In recent years the rains have been unreliable because of climate change. We hope to develop an irrigation system to help the community grow food, without relying on unpredictable rainfall.
Water can change Enestina's future. Water means better health, more nutritious food and more time in school. Water means freedom. Water means opportunity. This Lent, you can help children like Enestina get clean water.