this world is (not) mine
In 2014 I was covering a clean drinking project, by the Katosi Women Development Trust in Katosi, Mukono district, Uganda supported by Marie Stella Maris based on the Resolution 64/292, of the United Nations declaration that access to clean drinking water and sanitation is a basic human right.
The title is inspired on the life of a 16 year old boy I met in the fields. His appearance, his glance, his tone of voice struck me immediately. The next day I had to go back, to get to know him and ask him about his story. He went through a horrible fearful childhood; losing his parents at the young age of 12. Lived all by himself for several years until reaching the point thinking “I don’t belong to this world.”
Luckily, a year ago a mother of seven started taking care of him, offering him work, a bed and most important a family home. She was able to provide clean water at her home, because she runs one of the beneficiary households in the projects. It’s a small but tough paradise, producing enough food for themselves and to sell. Gradually the boy returns to this, their, our and my world; replacing the bad memories for good ones.
After meeting him I decided to stay with one of the beneficiary families in the project and their environment. I am fascinated by the way we, and our children really (do not) differ from each other in these different worlds; when you take away all material, social and political context, and solely take the individual with his beloved ones taking care of each other and daily life with trust and without fear. Water contributes to diminish the gap between both worlds and helps us realize that this world is for all of us. There is such a thin line between life and death, the place where one is born and the question whether this world is yours or not.
It was remarkable to see that with relatively little simple things you can make such a significant difference; through education, micro credits and raising awareness of responsibilities. Water is in fact so much more than just pure drinking water. People in the villages see access to water as a blessing; it’s such a valuable source of which we are not always aware in Western societies. It’s necessary for drinking and washing, for keeping livestock and it also creates many opportunities for work and income; for growing crops or making bricks out of clay and possibly selling it. Having access to clean water will empower people to take control of their lives and build their own future, one can focus on other important things in life: school, work, development or taking care of others.