The Sun is Rising. It’s 5AM.
Justine is a 32-year-old mother of three. At this early hour she opens her eyes and rises from the large mat where she sleeps with her family. They live in the village of Gbadengue in the Central African Republic.
Rain or shine, Justine and her oldest daughter will be fetching water first thing in the morning. They rinse out the two large bowls that they will carry on their heads. In addition, they carrying a 5 gallon jug in each hand. Justine has trouble carrying the jerry cans. Over the years, pain has developed in her shoulders and elbows. Luckily, they live close to the water pump and can collect the water in just 20 minutes! Every day, Justine is thankful she does not have to walk farther and that she fetches water twice a day.
The Central African Republic faced serious violence and conflict in the last few years. During that time, their pump broke down. Justine sadly remembers how everyone had to go back to the creek, not just to bathe, but also to fetch water. Those were tough months. Two children from the village died from diarrhea, likely caused by the lack of clean water. This was a really
This was a really difficult time for everyone.
As the conflict subsided, Water for Good was able to secure funding to do a major repair on their community well. This was part of recovery project with the US Government. After repairing the pump, local trainers named Wilfried and Antoinette worked to reorganize and train a village well committee. Justine noticed that the new committee really made a difference. There used to be trash around the well, large puddles and mud. No one liked to go there and wait in line. The committee did a great job leveling the ground around the pump. If people want clean water and a nice place to get the water, then everyone has to work hard to keep it clean and safe.
Now a Mother and Volunteer
Justine also has a new responsibility. She volunteers at her children’s school to clean their new latrines and hand-washing stations that Water for Good built at the school. Water for Good trainers Christelle and Hulda worked with the student health clubs and parents like Justine to get hygiene and sanitation training to all the students. At the end of each school day, Justine now spends about 30-45 minutes cleaning the latrine floor and replenishing the hand-washing station bucket with water.
Above Left: After Digging out the new latrines, a liner is built with bricks and concrete
Above Right: Newly constructed latrines at the school in Gbandengue.
Before the latrines, the hygiene problems were particularly bad during the rainy season. The children would defecate in the field next to the school, which was on a slope. Rains would flood the field and everything would flow into the creek, where most children go to bathe early in the morning. Justine remembers all the typhoid and diarrhea cases because of this…everyone in Gbadengue remembers how bad it was. Isolated cases still occur, but the new sanitation and hygiene measures at the school have helped tremendously.
For Justine and her children, these new latrines are a life-changer.
Justine is proud to help as a volunteer. She knows she is contributing to the improvement of the village’s sanitation and hygiene and she knows how much the kids use the hand washing station. Every other day, Justine has to go fetch water at the well to replenish the soap and water.
Left: Hulda, one of Water for Good’s community trainers, demonstrates the new hand washing station outside the school in Gbandengue.