In a detailed and often passionate address, to CAFOD supporters at Romaro House recently, Mark Chamberlain outlined the essential nature of water and the vital choices that have to be made if there is not enough of this common liquid that we all take for granted here in the UK. Focusing on the plight of people in the remote north of Uganda, in a village known as Moroto, Mark outlined the reasons why this issue has become the subject of this year’s Harvest appeal.
Taking the, at times, tragic story of Longora who found herself pregnant, expecting her child’s imminent birth, during a drought that had lasted four years, Mark recounted how the village population had been reduced to drinking the meagre supply of heavily polluted water from a nearby stream. Of course, water is not only for drinking. The villager’s plight had become desperate, unable to wash, unable to cook properly, even unable to grow the crops on which they depended for survival. Add to that the toxic nature of the little water they did have access to, and it is amazing that they survived at all. Longora barely survived, being stuck with a malaria infection, and her child didn’t survive. He succumbed to the infection too, soon after his birth.
Mark went on to illustrate how further avoidable tragedies like these were stemmed partly by the simple repair of a water pump but, more importantly, by the education of the villagers in the repair and maintenance of the device, something that really should have been the real priority all along. From this effort there have been several other important developments in the life of the village including a growing recognition of the equality and dignity of women, the education of the children, particularly the girls, and a new gelling of the community, now confident of it’s own ability to take charge of it’s future.
Moroto is still without electricity, gas, or easily accessible healthcare, but it is now a happier, safer place to live. And it is projects like this successful intervention that CAFOD hopes to repeat across Africa and the world, which is why the Harvest appeal is key. Please click here to find out how you can help in your Parish.