Water Comes Home

Swarna watches her little son play in the water. He cups his tiny hands to the garden tap and splashes the water on to himself as it fills and overflows his palms.

“He is a very lucky boy,” smiles Swarna, “when we were children, we never had the chance to enjoy water like this. There was no water.”

Families in the Dangaswewa village suffered for generations without water. Located in Mahakumbukkadawela, one of the driest areas of Sri Lanka, the water level in this rural village is very low. The community travelled 2-3 km daily to fetch water for their basic needs and travelled further during drier seasons, even then the water they used was not safe.

Mothers mastered water management by reusing the same water for several chores; fathers travelled 2 kms to wash after a day’s work; and children sacrificed play time to fetch water as soon as they learnt to walk and were strong enough to carry a little pot.

That was the life of every family in Dangaswewa. Each of them has many stories of hardships because of the lack of water.

“We spent so much time fetching water that we had no time for our children or for any economic activity,” says Ranmenika.

The village school had no water either. Each grade was assigned on different days to fetch water in the afternoon from a tube well a little distance from the school. Each child got just one glass of water to drink and the toilets were cleaned only once a day.

When World Vision offered to help solve their water problem, the whole community of Dangaswewa came together in support.

Men and women of the village, all laboured in the scorching sun, clearing the ground, digging canals to lay the pipes from the tank to their homes and watched the water project become a reality before their very eyes.

Today, their lives are changed for the better and all their stories of hardships remain distant memories.

“The first time we got water, I remember how many times we opened the taps to check and asked the neighbours if they have got water yet,” smiles Ranmenika.

“No words can tell how thankful we are for this water project. It has saved us a lot of time and we have extra time for our children and they have more time to study and play,” says Swarna.

For the villages of Dangaswewa, there is no longer walking lengthy distances searching for water, instead water has come home to them.