Competing for water with baboons in Mt Darwin

By Marsha Sengwe


EVERY day, teachers and nurses at Kajokoto primary and secondary schools as well as Pachanza clinic
in Mt Darwin District, towards Mukumbura wake up as early as 2am to get water from a single and
“ailing” borehole in their community.
There, they won’t be alone, villagers who are their pupil’s parents will be also on the queue pushing
and shoving the teachers for the precious liquid so that they can provide their children with bathing
water before they go to school.
Actually, nobody sleeps here, because in the event that you over sleep, you will be assured that you
will not get water for the whole day.
Villagers say this has been the norm in the area since 1980.
According to the area’s councillor, Lovemore Muropa, the area hardly receives adequate rainfalls
and villagers depend on shallow wells along river banks of Chividze River for water for domestic use.
“And in winter season, they depend on Gumamiti weir which however dries during the summer.
We are in desperate need for safe water sources and are thanking in advance President Emmerson
Mnangagwa for introducing the Presidential Boreholes Programme, hoping that we will have
boreholes in our ward,” he said.
As they search for water from the shallow wells, they also get into conflicts with baboons and
monkeys that also depend on the same wells (mufuku) for the precious liquid.
Donkeys, goats, wild pigs also drink from the same wells, rendering the water unsafe and heavily
contaminated in the end.
When their financial muscles are fit, the teachers and nurses then pay people to queue and fetch for
them from these points.
Touched by the plight of people in this ward, a local non-governmental organisations has brought
what it thinks can save the community from suffering from water-borne diseases such as typhoid,
cholera and diarrhoea after consuming water from open and unprotected wells as well as mufuku.
Mvuramanzi, a local non-state funded organisation biased towards the provision of water, sanitation
and hygiene services is encouraging people especially women in the community to mould about
75cm tall clay pots in the shape of vases with a basin 35cm wide, with a third of its height being filled
with small stones and sand and pour their water in there.
The water has to be in the nadi (clay pot) for at least a week or more on the first usage of the pot so
that it can be filtered through the sand and stones.
This is a project they have since adopted in three wards of Mt Darwin, including Ward 11.
They are currently in the process of training women from the three wards whom they expect, when
they go back, to train others on moulding the claypots.
The technology according to a senior Mvuramanzi Director Bllodwell Rusike purifies water to about
99, 6 percent.

He said they were simply coming up with the mechanism to guard the community from suffering
from water-borne diseases while borehole equipment was on its way.
The same project is also running in three wards in Chegutu District under the implementation of
Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe.
This is a three-year project funded by German’s development agency BMZ to the tune of one
thousand five hundred million euros.

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