As far back as I can remember, I went with Mama to the waterhole. She sang happy songs to me as we walked a mile there and a mile back to collect enough dirty water to keep our family alive for another day. But the water she collected to keep us alive was what killed her when I was nine. Though I wanted to go to school more than anything else in the world, Daddy was a soldier in the war so it became my job to clean, feed, and care for my four smaller siblings and my frail blind grandmother. School became impossible for me. Besides my chores, I had to walk to that same dirty watering hole three times a day to collect enough water to keep the family alive for one more day. Singing mama's happy songs gave me strength.
When I was twelve years old a few large trucks came to our village of Hai. They were from Water is Basic. What I did not know then was that they were drilling deep into the earth to bring our people clean water. After four days, these men brought what we call 'Ru' to the village. Ru is our word for life-giving water. It is clean and safe and it tastes wonderful. Within a few days, I was only walking 10 minutes from my home to bring clean water to my family.
It has been seven years since our village has been gifted with clean water. Today, there is a brick-making factory near the well, a market with lots of items and several homes that have been built around the well. Even better? Our people do not get sick they once did before the well. But my favorite part of the story is that I have been able to go to school because I have much more time. I am about to graduate high school this year. Life in South Sudan remains very hard. But our well continues to bring life and hope. Who knows? One day I might be able to bring life to another little girl.
In 2013 Water is Basic premiered a short doc about a day in my life, will you watch it now? It's only 17 minutes long and I think you will really enjoy it.