I know I have written about water before…. but life in Kibaale revolves around the weather and especially RAIN….. if in does not rain for a few days…. the folks have concerns about whether or not the crops they planted with grow and if it rains too much… then they are concerned about floods and how it may affect their crops…. It must be similar to other parts of the world…. were the people depend on their crops for survival.

It had not rained in Kibaale for a few weeks and I could hear fear in the words of many of the employees…. from the folks working in the various offices to the teachers and clinic staff…..”if it does not rain soon my crops with die without water”…. or “I have put all my money into Irish (potatoes) and they need the rain.” For most of a week… the weather or lack of rain was the only topic of conversation…. so out of this great concern, a few of the clinic staff stood and prayed for rain….. I think everyone was surprised when the rains came the next morning…. and it rained.. and rained and rained. EVERYONE was happy….. the sky was filled with large dark rain clouds, the temperature was cold, everyone was dressed in many layers of clothes BUT the atmosphere was like that of a party…. the rains came and the crops were saved.

Water is not only needed for the growth of crops but for everyone’s health and well-being… but water does not come out of taps…. water is fetched and carried. It maybe carried for miles and miles. This job of fetching and carrying water falls to the young boys and girls of all ages. It is their responsibility to go down to the river or to the local well and wait in turn daily to fill their Jerry can or cans with water.

…… I tried to lift one of those bright yellow Jerry cans and was just able to pick it up off the ground…. so it much weigh at least 50 pounds… I see the young boys pushing bikes covered in four or five Jerry cans full of water up from the river…. or very young girls working together to carry one Jerry can full of water….. this takes a lot of time and especially a lot of energy. So…. if you can find water closer to your home and have to carry it a few feet less…. I guess it only makes sense to take advantage of the opportunity….

It was a few days ago as I was travelling home to Kibaale from Masaka what initially looked like a very funny situation quickly brought tears to my eyes…. I was no longer laughing but upset and even fearful of the situation…. A young girl about 7 or 8 years of age was running after a water truck. Think back a few years to the old water truck that were used to spread water over dry dusty roads… the old truck with a 3 inch pipe sticking out of the back like an arm swinging back and forth sprinkling water …… it was a similar truck BUT the arm was attached to the back of the truck with a thin piece of rope and the water was dripping slowly out. This little girl was trying to fill her Jerry can from the water dripping out of the pipe…. It was filthy dirty water not suitable for drinking nor bathing…. and she was running in the middle of the street behind this vehicle where no one could see her……………….. Was water so precious that she would risk her life?

We on the West coast of Canada take water for granted…. we turn on the tap and out come fresh drinkable water. A team from Pacific Academy visited Kibaale for two weeks over spring break and each of them started to understand the importance of water…. it was no longer used once and discarded but each action was considered carefully and water was used two or three and sometimes four times before it was discarded…. and even the discard was a purposeful action…..

Life is not easy in Kibaale and when there is water…. life is much easier.

When the rains came that blessed day…. my thoughts were wanting to sing in celebration of life giving water.

“water, precious water falling down from the skies above