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The Diseased Staple of Africa

Meet the Jerrycan.

Imagine saving up your shillings (maybe $2USD) to purchase a dirty, used plastic container to carry the water for your family. For the orphans at St. Bonaventure school in Mullajji Village, this is the water for themselves to bath in, brush their teeth, wash their hands, cook, clean, and complete other water chores.

If you are rich enough in money, you can afford the container brand new when it comes from a distant store with cooking oil. If you are not rich enough, you may even end up using an old motor oil container (5, 10, or 20 liters) for your water collection.

By the time you save up enough shillings for your water container, you remain absent the money to purchase paraffin or kerosine to boil it-so, you use it as is. You use the same exact drops of water recycled for everything you have to do in your day.

Not boiling is dangerous, but so is walking kilometers each morning and night to collect water with your Jerrycan. There are some dangers and temptations in the bush; the darkness is there in the early morning walk and again on the after school/work walk. In addition, you cannot visit the distant borehole mid-day due to the dangers of snakes lurking and you are too busy attending school, working in your fields, or tending to your home to even consider the journey at times.

At other times, THIRST takes over and you do what you must to survive.

The Jerrycan is the most used object in East Africa (my own guess from living there for a month). These dirty, bacteria holding, disease ridden containers accumlate so much red dust and germs; washing is infrequent (or non-existant).  With no hot water and limited (to no) real soaps (that cost $), the Jerrycan is used to the point of turning pale yellow/black and then cut in half to use as eating plates or scooping food and grain.

Imagine eating your only meal of the day on an old half of a motor oil container that has collected germs for months/years. 

Creative-Reuse is the only way of life in Africa and has it’s ups and downs.  Unfortunately the reuse of the Jerrycan leaves many people sick and even some die.

Every 20 seconds a child dies from a water borne illness- the Jerrycan is one of the many culprits.

YOU can change that statistic. When the orpahned children at St. Bonaventure School in Mullajji Village walk with their heavy Jerrycans twice a day, they are missing daylight hours to be in school or studying, have no time to be “safe and sanitary” with their water, and miss school for weeks at a time due to “fever” or sickness.

We are creating opportunity for the Mullajji community through improving water access, developing and training a sanitation commitee, and adding filtration in Fall Phase 2- 2013 to the January borehole (raising funds now-$30,000 in 30 days).

SHARE with us this giving season and bring life to the rural school of St. Bonaventure in Mullajji, Village, Uganda.

Read more about the project HERE

See this photo and more at:     Photo by|Laura Watilo Blake

Photo Reflection Blog by| Erin Huber, Director of Drink Local. Drink Tap