For Zambian mother, dream of clean water becomes reality

March 22 is World Water Day. Here’s the story of one mother in a Zambian village who faced deep hardship because her family didn’t have access to clean water — until World Vision began working in her community.

Story and photos by Collins Kaumba, World Vision Zambia
Published March 4, 2013 at 12:00am PST

“I have lived here since my childhood, but my mouth has never tasted clean water fetched with my own hands into my own house,” says Perhaps, a mother who lives in southern Zambia.

“Now that we have this water given to us by World Vision, I do not want to think of childhood water struggles.”

Clean water has now reached Perhaps Hamundi’s family and the entire community of Bwizubwalema, Zambia. But it came after many years of struggle.

When water causes grief

Perhaps, 25, recounts some of the hardships she used to face.

“Because of water problems, I was very thin,” she says. “Now, I look healthy, because I worry no more. I spend much time with my family and doing other chores. I no longer have to walk a long distance to fetch water.”

Perhaps smiles constantly now. Just a year ago, that wasn’t the case. She was still getting her family’s water from a distant, unprotected well, which was contaminated and routinely gave her children severe diarrhea.

“I used to wake up very early in the morning, when other people were fast asleep, just to rush so that I didn’t find that the water was finished at the well,” she remembers. “I used to spend long hours waiting for water at the well. We were sharing the same water with animals.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the well would often dry up during the hot months. “We used to suffer a lot; we had to dig deeper and deeper,” says Perhaps.

How a community borehole has changed lives

But Perhaps says her family’s life has now changed for good — and not just because they have safe water to drink.

“Now, we are living a healthy life. We eat three times a day, unlike before,” Perhaps says proudly.

“This was not because we did not have food, but because I lacked time to prepare the food for my family. My family used to eat very late every day, because I used to spend much of the time fetching water.”

She adds that the nearby borehole in her community has inspired her family to become more economically productive. “We want to start gardens now that we have the borehole, which World Vision drilled a few months ago.”

A global concern

The story of Perhaps and her children illustrates how clean water is an indispensable tool in the fight against poverty. Its absence causes chronic illness, keeping children out of school and slowing economic development among adults.

Moreover, when a clean water source isn’t nearby, children and families are often forced to spend hours traveling long distances — time that could be spent more productively on other activities, like studying.

As World Water Day is observed on March 22, World Vision continues initiatives around the world aimed at bringing greater access to this basic resource for the millions who don’t have it.

Meanwhile, Perhaps says that access to clean water will create a better future for all the children in her community.

“My children will for the rest of their lives concentrate on school and not worry about water, as the case was with me when I was young,” she says.

Learn more

Read more about World Vision’s global work with clean water, hygiene, and sanitation.

Three ways you can help

Thank God that Perhaps and her family now have a reliable source of safe, clean water. Pray for those around the world who still lack access to this basic, life-giving resource.

Make a one-time donation to World Vision’s Clean Water Fund. Your gift will support our clean water, hygiene, and sanitation projects around the world through interventions like deep wells, water storage containers, piping systems, purification equipment, latrines, and more.

Give monthly to support our clean water projects. By making a monthly pledge, you’ll help us reach even more children, families, and communities with life-changing water and sanitation initiatives.