The Life, The Crisis, The Solution
An ATTA Interview with Enoch Karamuzi our In-Country Leader
One ATTA Time has made a greater impact in Uganda this year than anywhere before in a single visit. By asking the questions and receiving answers from our in-country leader, Enoch Karamuzi, we realize how much has been done, but also see how much widespread need for clean water still exists. This blog is based on an interview with Enoch Karamuzi from Cherished Life Ministries (CLM) in Uganda. Enoch is One ATTA Time’s trusted and dedicated in-country leader for water filters in Uganda. So far, Enoch has helped us bring 1,000 water filters to Uganda, which has helped change 6,000 lives by providing clean water. This blog is a small window into their world.
What is life like for you in Uganda?
In Uganda, we have over 50 tribes and over 56 languages, though the big 3 tribes cover 60% of the population. We have a population of 41 million people (as of 2016).
We eat fresh food almost all the time. We have two rainy seasons, March-April and August-September, but the sun still shines during the rainy seasons. It is impossible for a week to pass by without a sunny day. Sometimes the sun shines and rains at the same time. So beautiful. We find Winter, Summer, Spring, etc. amazing! Snow for months!!! Those stories we hear from westerners or watch in the movies surprise us.
It’s normal for an educated Ugandan to work from 8AM to 7PM and they will never complain. We leave work normally when work is done. A Ugandan, educated or not, will never worry about a foreigner, unless they do something immoral or illegal. We just generally don’t have any concern. If you are here and you behave yourself, you will be here, even without papers.
Almost all the water is fresh. From our lakes, rivers, streams, wells and ponds, all the water is fresh. Unfortunately though, it is unsafe to drink. Whether from the tap, spring, lakes, rivers, wells and ponds. None of the water is safe to drink at all. We have to boil it first.
Can you describe the water crisis in your community and the impact it is having?
Uganda faces huge challenges with multiple issues that adversely affect public health. One major challenge is the ability for both rural and urban Africans to access a clean water supply.
The situation of access to clean water and sanitation in the rural community is even more miserable. Not only is there poor access to drinking water, even when water is available in these small towns, there are risks of contamination due to several factors. When wells are built and water sanitation facilities are developed, they are improperly maintained to due to limited financial resources. Water quality testing is not performed as often as is necessary, and lack of education among the people utilizing the water source leads them to believe that as long as they are getting water from a well, it is safe. Once a source of water has been provided, quantity of water is often given more attention than quality of water. There are limited sources of water available to provide clean drinking water to the entire community of Uganda.
The implications of lack of clean water and access to adequate sanitation are widespread. Young children die from dehydration and malnutrition, results of suffering from diarrheal illnesses that could be prevented by clean water and good hygiene. Diseases such as cholera are spread rampantly during the wet season. Women and young girls, who are the major role-players in accessing and carrying water, are prevented from doing income-generating work or attending school, as the majority of their day is often spent walking miles for their daily water needs. They are also at an increased risk for violence since they travel such great distances from their villages on a daily basis or wait in line to get a chance of drawing water from the pond or well, and are even at risk when they must go to the edge of the village to find a private place to relieve themselves.
Urban areas face a whole different host of challenges to providing clean water and sanitation. Rapid growth of urban areas, especially in upcountry, has led to large volumes of water being extracted from existing sources. Overcrowding in urban slums makes it even more difficult to control sanitation issues and disease outbreaks associated with exposure to raw sewage.
How can ATTA and our donors help to be a part of the solution to the water crisis there?
The solution can be found by our community receiving water filters from ATTA which are long-lasting, fast, easy, and the most cost efficient way to get pure potable clean and safe water to people in need. Our community and those beyond our community would benefit from more of these filters and I hope the following will be reached:
The prevalence of water related diseases will be tremendously reduced.
Adults and children, students and teachers and even those in offices will be getting enough drinking water.
Families will make some savings from the money that would be used on treatment on diseases related to lack of water. Most families over spend on fuel while boiling water for drinking, but with water filters, when given to these families and community, they will get ready and safe water at a lesser cost.
Women, girls, children will no longer walk long distances in search of clean and safe water to drink and will not have to endanger their safety or take valuable time from their ability to work or become educated.
What do the people say to you when they receive the ATTA filter systems to provide clean water?
Whoever receives the filter, gives thanks to God and when they are with the group, they dance for us as an appreciation.
They assure us that they are going to use the water filters to get enough water to drink for their families.
They always ask us kindly to get more filters to reach the other big group in the community which have yet received them and not benefited.
Families who received water filters have shared filtered water with their neighbors, which is very good, but would be better if the neighbors would get or receive their own water filtration system.
Pray that we get enough water filters which will cover the whole district of Rukungiri with a population of 314,694 with house hold of 69,579 families of which 25.5% are headed by helpless women.
Pray that our mission of Improving the livelihood of orphans, vulnerable children and community through education, skills development, economic enhancement and reduction of health related hazards so that holistic development can be fulfilled.
Pray that we reach out to Western Uganda which covers 2 regions (i) Kigezi region with households of 305,881 of which 23.8% are headed by women and (ii) Ankole region with 629,950 households of which 23.2% are headed by women.
Pray that we get a truck which will help us reach out to our communities with easye, even when our roads to rural communities are poor. A strong vehicle with four wheel drive will help in this.
That our partnership with ATTA may keep growing as we advance the Gospel of Christ in action healing one at a time, one family at a time, one community at a time and region at a time.
One ATTA Time is working hard to help the families and children of Uganda obtain clean water through the Sawyer water filtrations systems that we take into the country. We are making a huge impact while at the same time, just scratching the surface of the needs for clean water in Uganda to save lives and improve health. ATTA thanks Enoch and all of our partners, leaders and sponsors who have made, and are continuing to make this simple solution to clean water in Uganda possible.