Driving on the hilly and rough terrain of Isooni village in Matulani Sub location, Mwala Sub county in Machakos county, one sees vast drylands with less vegetation cover. Meeting many women accompanied by donkeys on the way, some from the rivers with others headed to the lone source of water in the locality.
From the roads, it is revealing that locals struggle in their pursuance of clean water for drinking and family use. One of the many public schools in this area is Matulani Primary School, a mixed day public school with a total population of 314 pupils, 12 teachers and two members of support staff.
The school fraternity, like other locals suffered similar fates in pursuit of clean water for drinking, exposing pupils and teachers to water related risks.
Africa Sand Dam Foundation and Excellent Development, through members of Mumbuni self-help group supported the construction of a concrete water tank at the school to help solve the water crisis at the learning Centre.
A visit to the school gave insights of students and teachers on pre and post school tank construction, most expressing their Joy to the existence of the life changing project.
Joseph Nyaa, 45 is the school Deputy head teacher, a father of three who shares his experiences at the helm of school leadership.
“Cases of Typhoid, Bilharzia and Amoebiasis used to be common in our school with many children falling ill as a result of using water from untrusted sources. The Government, Through World Health Organization chipped in to help control bilharzia spread through provision of Praziquantel Pole for Bilharzia- a pole used in determination of diagnosis based on body height” said Mr Nyaa.
“School performance was dismal as sick students lacked concentration in class behold suffering from high levels of absenteeism” adds Nyaa.
The deputy school head shares his joy of the new clean water supply.
“Tank provides us with enough clean water for drinking, washing classes and cooking for our pupils. Cases of water related diseases have reduced significantly as pupils enjoy clean water supply in school where they spend most of their time” Said Nyaa.
Entering class five presented an opportunity to interact with the pupils, the filled class was buzzing in joy as they now enjoy life in school, working hard to meet their academic dreams.
Nduku Mutiso, 10 is in class five and hails from a humble background with her parents running a salon and barber business at the local Tulila shopping Centre. She shares her experiences at school.
“Three years ago I fell sick while in school, suffering severe stomach ache coupled with diarrhea, my father picked me and took me to Katulani Dispensary where I was tested and diagnosed with Amoeba. I was given medicine and discharged, I missed school for two days and even after attending I was faced with post treatment challenges resulting to low concentration” says Miss Mutiso.
The second born in a family of three dreams of being a teacher with a strong interest in Kiswahili subject and passion for athletics. She loves Githeri as her favorite meal and likes blue colour because her school is painted blue.
“The water tank brings me close to my dreams, since its construction I have never experienced amoeba again or any other stomach complication. Behold I am not required to carry water to school anymore and enough is provided for drinking all days” adds Miss Mutiso.
Mwendwa Mbithe, 10 is a class five pupil at the school. He is the first born in a family of two staying with his grandmother at their rural home as both of his parents’ work and stay in Nairobi.
“In June last year, I fell sick with vomiting and stomach pains, my grandmother took me to Ikalaasa dispensary where I was tested and diagnosed with amoeba, a prescription was given and I had to miss school for one week during my healing process. By the time I resumed back, I was lagging in terms of syllabus coverage.
“Since the inception of this water tank, my dreams of being a teacher remain on course as the learning environment is conducive and free of water related diseases. I love mathematics and playing football as I am a Manchester United fan” says Mwendwa.
Mwendwa remains thankful to the donors who funded the construction of a tank at his school for their support enables many pupils stay in school and work hard towards academic excellence.