In the Spring 2011 edition of Side by Side, Halima Mohammad from Kwai, Nigeria asked a question. Read the responses and have your say here.
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Halima Mohammad, Kwai, Nigeria
“Water shortages in our village create suffering, but the government is blind to our problems. We elected people to serve us, but they don’t even provide basic services. How can we make officials take responsibility for our needs?”
Our panel said…
“It’s the government’s responsibility to provide water to the people. In reality, election promises are often broken. Leaders should ask people what they need. Instead, they sit in big houses making plans without consultation. Continue reading
Filed under CAFOD, Nigeria
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I never cry when hearing the many stories community members share. This is not because I don’t understand or feel the acute suffering of the people I meet, but because they show such bravery by sitting with me and telling me there stories. I say to myself, ”If you cry you can’t come back,” and I always want to come back.
Leaving Haiti was difficult, it was like letting go of this warm, safe hand that had taken me on a journey, and shown me that everyday humanity had not died when so many people did.
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Gonaïves is 75 kilometres north of Port-au-Prince. Once you’ve navigated the traffic out of the city, it’s tarmac road all the way. You take in the palm-lined crescent of the coast and Haiti’s famed rolling hills, which today show the scars of years of deforestation.
Before climbing up into the hills we pass the lush squared-off paddy fields, where farmers are busy tending to their crops. This area once supplied most of the country with rice, until in the mid 90s Bill Clinton encouraged Haiti to dramatically cut tariffs on imported US rice. This resulted in the decimation of local agriculture. He has since apologised for championing policies that destroyed the country’s rice production.
We slowly climb into Labrande, 30 minutes outside of Gonaïves, an area of around 50,000 people. They have had to cope with the spread of cholera in the community. Through our partners Caritas Switzerland and Caritas Gonaïve, we have been helping to spread life-saving public health information.
Villagers taking water from a borehole in Sudan
My village, Molitokuro, in Eastern Equatoria, in the south-east corner of Sudan, is surrounded by mountains. It’s also a fertile place. It supports cassava production, potatoes, sorghum, and some few areas can grow simsim or sesame.
Most of the houses are grass thatched with only a few built using iron sheets. Almost all of the villagers were exiled to Uganda during the civil war – because of the peace, they’ve returned. A great many in the village make their living from small-scale farming while others burn charcoal and sell it. I hear many people say that getting money in the village is as hard as skinning a crocodile!
The sun is already high above me when I arrive in central Nyala to interview Sister Pierra Santino who runs a clinic supported by CAFOD partner Sudanaid. She greeted me and guided me round the immaculately clean clinic showing me the the waiting room, the area for mothers, laboratory and introducing me to the doctors and staff that she works with.
The clinic in Nyala was established in 1998. “We had a lot of people coming to us for help,” she recalls. From treating 20-30 people per day, the clinic now receives between 120-130 people per day. Sister Pierra tells me of her extensive research and study in order to develop her understanding and knowledge of tropical diseases. Today, the clinic enjoys a good reputation for its treatment of skin diseases and people come from all parts of South Darfur to seek assistance.
Filed under CAFOD, Darfur, Sudan