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Water in Africa

  I was paddling strong on the White Nile, and I was torn as the team planned to move on to the Murchison Falls section of the White Nile. I'd heard the stories. Getting chased down rapids by hippos. Being met in the only eddy above the mandatory portage by a crocodile. One quote stuck in my mind: "It's the scariest thing I've ever done". Probably because the quite came from multiple people. It has the densest concentration of hippos and crocs in the world.  In light of the stories I decided to be scared vicariously and not take the risk.
   Jesse Coombs and I went on to work with the Busoga Trust in Masindi. They are a NGO that does wonderful things in Uganda. "Most rural people have to drink polluted water. Disease flourishes in conditions like these, resulting in high infant mortality and poor quality of life. The programmes we run can reduce the incidence of disease dramatically."  Take a moment to imagine a day where you don't have a car. Then imagine the closest access to water is a mile. Just staying hydrated is an issue, let alone cooking dinner and washing dishes. Enough water to survive can take most of the daylight hours. Millions of people in rural Africa deal with this every day.

How clean is your water?

Walking to get water every day is a
daunting task.

In rural Uganda it's normal to walk several kilometers to access a clean water source, perhaps less to open water sources.

The burden is often delegated to the younger generation.

If you're lucky you have a ride to pick up water.

Hours each day are spent solving the problem of water.

Many of the small towns have an urban water supply, but the price of this water is beyond what most people can afford.

Even if the town has access to water it may be a long wait to fill jerry cans.

   It's easy to imagine how little we would accomplish in a day if we spent half of it getting enough water to get by. Thankfully the Busoga Trust is doing something to help. They help install the wells, but the local community does the work and invests money in the project, making it their own. Hand digging wells is still the norm in rural Uganda. We visited one that was over forty feet deep. The majority of the time they only need to be about fifteen feet deep.

A completed well is lined with brick.

Our gracious host Ned Morgan.

   Over population is the largest problem facing the world right. It has been shown around the world that the more education people receive, the less children they have. In Uganda many children drop out of school due to water related heath issues. Not a later stage of school; primary school, the fundamentals of learning. A staggering statistic: women in Uganda have almost six children on average. Clean water won't solve all the problems, but it's a step in the right direction. Access to clean water helps eliminate many of the normal health problems that force children to drop out of school. Further education - less children, upward mobility, you get the picture. The Busoga Trust is doing great work with Ugandans to improve the future.

Clean water. Simple, life changing.

Thanks to First Ascent for sponsoring this trip, and to Jackson Kayak, Kokatat, Werner and Bomber Gear for supplying some wonderful gear.