Water to Thrive Executive Director Susanne Wilson is spending two weeks before our Climb for a Cause visiting partners and projects in Uganda. Despite intermittent Internet access, she is sending reports back whenever she can. This report covers her second and third day in Uganda.
The work of water is not just about providing clean water, but is also about providing training on sanitation and hygiene. On the second day of our trip, after our well visits, we saw two model homes that feature aspects of sanitation and hygiene that are part of disease prevention.
The model homes included dish drying racks, used to keep the dishes off of the ground. There is a place to wish the dishes and a soak pit under that portion of the racks. The back part of the racks are for drying the dishes.
Pit latrines are also an aspect of the hygiene and sanitation training. The beneficiaries are taught to cover the pits, to use natural materials or paper for wiping and to have doors on the latrines for privacy. Another crucial part of the hygiene aspect is the tippy tap, an ingenious hand-washing setup, and one of the homes also had a shower stall, which was basically a private area where a person uses a bucket of water to wash, with a soak pit for absorption of the soap and water.
The beneficiaries are taught that all of the components for the homes can be constructed using basic materials and that they don’t necessitate purchasing anything.
On the third day of our trip, we visited a very special spring project.
This was the old water source for the local area and its more than 2,000 residents. The new well serves the entire community, including three schools. One of the schools has a new pit latrine and the other schools are hoping for similar facilities.
We were pulled into a celebration of dancing, singing, and poetry by the students, who expressed their thanks for the clean water they are now drinking.
After our final day with our partners at MItyana Uganda Charity, we were treated to lunch by our partners. One of MUC’s initiatives is sponsoring schoolchildren. One of our travelers was so moved by their work that she decided to sponsor a child. The highlight of the day was her choosing which student to sponsor and then getting to meet her. “Precious” is indeed an appropriate name for this sweet little girl, who now has an American sponsor with a heart for children.