One wrong step on uneven terrain and the soil turns to mud.
The heavy water containers come crashing down under the frail arms of a young girl trying to pull her weight of family chores. The water came from the river below the luscious green mountain where 14-year-old Eid lives.
Every day, the river welcomed her plastic containers that swallowed up the dirty water her family used for drinking, cooking and washing. Sadly, Eid’s story is not unique. Many young girls in her village faced the same daunting task of collecting water multiple times a day- and the water was not even clean.
“Can you imagine how hard we have to work?” Eid asks.
She woke up every morning with a series of daunting journeys ahead of her. A kilometer long walk down unsafe ground to reach the river had to be done multiple times a day because her family lacked water containers.
“Our life has not been easy living here. For the past few years we have faced great difficulties, like having to use unclean water or sometimes having no water at all,” confided Mr. Thongnyoun Lorvixai, a 42-year-old father.
After collecting water in the morning, Eid rushed to school where she studied in secondary school. When classes were done, she hurried home to start more journeys to the river. This left little time to study, little time to play, little time to enjoy childhood or to help out her family around the house.
“I felt exhausted; walking with the heavy container of water was tough. Navigating up the mountain, especially during the rainy season, was demanding. The terrain was often slippery and I would fall many times, spilling the water all over the ground. I would then have to start the process again, walking back down the mountain to get more water,” Eid shares.
The hard work and effort put into this chore fell short of beneficial to Eid and her family. They constantly fell ill due to the unclean water. In fact, the entire village drank unsafe water, which left children sick quite often. “It was a major challenge,” says Thongvanh Vilayvong, a World Vision staffer who works with the village.
“Our communities were plagued with numerous health problems. Children suffered from diarrhea, malaria and especially small-pox since the village environment was not clean. During the rainy season everything we used for drinking and cooking would get washed into the river,” Eid’s father says.
In 2011, World Vision helped Eid’s village build a water system, set up water taps and conduct trainings on how to maintain the equipment. The community, with the support of World Vision, also formed a committee to oversee the equipment and ensure that it was kept in good condition. A clean water system was also provided to another 26 Villages and there were 2,203 people able to access to clean water.
“Today, water is available just outside my doorstep! It means I no longer have to wake up early and walk through difficult paths. I have enough time to play with friends, study and help with household chores. I feel strong, healthy and ready to learn in school,” Eid says beaming.
Overall village health has improved drastically. The number of children with diarrhea has decreased significantly and parents have additional savings thanks to spared health care costs.
“I would like to thank World Vision, the donors and the government for supporting our communities. Thank you for improving the health of my family,” Thongnyoun shares.