Before ChildFund Laos arrived, Nakham Village, Xamneua District, Huaphanh Province had experienced a chronic lack of access to clean drinking water.
Din is 15 year old girl living in Nakham Village and she talked about the difficulty to get water in her routine life;
“Everyday the people in this village, including me, had to wake up early at about 5 am, took the bucket and walked through the field to the Ham River, 500m away from village. When we arrived, we took a shower and took to water the back home housework and drinking. Some people did laundry at the river. We used to take water to the house 6-7 times every day and that does not include the water for the garden.”
However, using river water directly without disinfecting, had consequences for the villagers’ health, especially children. “Now and then we took water in the river….to drink, and I saw many people become ill, and children got cholera because there was not enough water to flush the toilets.” Din said.
To improve the conditions, ChildFund Laos introduced a Gravity-Fed water system to Nakham Village. Din commented, “when I heard that the Gravity-Fed water system is coming to my village, I was very happy and became hopeful. The headman announced for each family to name a representative to help build the Gravity-Fed water system, and I became the representative for my family.”
“I’m so excited working with the people in my village, because I will have clean water to use soon and I think people here feel the same as me. I want to see everyone in my family have convenient access to clean drinking water. My sister and I will no longer have to go to the river for water, and we will have more time for studying, the garden will be green, there will be enough water in the toilet and most importantly we will see people become healthy.”
There are many people working to build the Gravity-Fed water system everyday and they have different duties. The headman said “the villagers are excited for this work, there are 45-50 people working, including men and women. We have divided the duties, some of the men are working on building the reservoir on the mountain nearest the village, another group is working on installing the faucets, the women are working on the sand gliding in the river and the village youths are working to transport the sand and stone, and are digging a ridge for the water pipe. We work every day from 8 am to 4 pm as suggested by the District Nutrition Officer”.
Like the other people in village that work for the Gravity-Fed water system, Din can contribute as well “I t’s not easy, but it’s not too hard to do it either, because I’m from a farming family, and have patience in my heart and soul.”¯
The villagers’ work so far has demonstrated the power of hope and the power of unity to change their lives for the better.