During my recent visit to Kitui, I was profoundly surprised by the huge impact on people’s lives every single penny donated by CAFOD supporters makes. I felt really challenged when I reflected on my lifestyle as compared to how communities affected by drought had made the best out of a very bad situation.
They say charity begins at home, but after travelling nearly 300 miles in various parts of Kitui in eastern Kenya, I realised just how much it takes to change people’s lives. For example, for just under £70 , Naomi Mwangangi, a widow and a mother of four, was able change the life of her family. And she still had spare change to contribute to a Widows Association where she is Vice-Chairperson.
“The money I got from CAFOD made a real difference in my life and those of my children,” Naomi told me. “I used most of the money to pay school fees for my children and the rest to buy food and a goat. The support I got has enabled me to invest in the future of my children by ensuring they get a good education.“
Even in the best of times, access to water points is a major problem. It is for that reason that the construction of earth-dams was a priority in the CAFOD response to the drought.
We helped construct the Ikitula earth-dam in the Kyatune area and the impact is clear for Faith Syongu Muimi and her family. Before, she and her husband Jacob Mwanzia used to spend at least three days a week fetching water. It used to take Faith up to eleven hours per day to fetch water from the nearest water points to her home.
“Before thedam was constructed with CAFOD’s support, I used to wake up at 5am in the morning to go to Nzeu and Ngunga which are very far away from here to fetch water. In a day, I would need four jerry cans of 20 litres each, making a total of 80 litres of water. Since the distances to the nearest water points were so far, I was preoccupied with fetching water on a daily basis . I couldn’t do any other domestic chores in the house,” Faith told me.
Through your generosity, the lives of Faith and her family have now become more bearable. I accompanied Faith to the Ikitula earth-dam and in less than half an hour, she had collected enough water for her domestic use and for her two bulls.
When I visit communities affected by the recent drought I didn’t expect to enjoy their hospitality. But despite the huge needs these communities face, they still show their generosity to visitors. I think this is a very human response and it was a humbling experience for me.
About the author: Joseph Kabiru is CAFOD’s Media and Communications Officer for the East and Horn of Africa.