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The Democratic Republic of Congo has been a major focus of the MDO's work in 2011. Among the projects we support is one to pump potable water to 6 rural village communities. When Fr Tom McCabe from the MDO was in DRC in October, he sent back this report from the water project site at Idiofa in Bandundu Province.
From early morning to sunset people file along narrow paths to and from the nearest safe water source, two or more kilometers away. Most are women and girls. They carry the water home on their heads; men usually try to balance their water cans on bicycles. It’s a daily drudgery from which there is no escape, and often a dangerous journey for women and girls.
The same story is repeated in rural village communities across much of this enormous country. The alternative is to drink river or rain water and risk the feared water-borne diseases which cause so much sickness and death here.
Thanks to one very generous donor, the MDO has been able, this year, to fund clean water projects in six rural village communities in DRC. Work was nearing completion on 4 of these when Tom (from MDO) visited Congo in October. When these are completed, the contractor will start work on the two remaining projects. Because of the distances involved and the dirt roads, Tom could only see one of the projects — the one at Idiofa. The photo above shows the pump house at the water source. The reservoir has also been built and a generator and water pump installed.
Adriana is a 30-year mother living with her 3 children in the remotest of these villages. Terrible things have happened to her community in the recent past when this region was decimated by civil war and foreign occupation. Fighting in her region came to an end just 10 years ago. Today, she and her family are desperately poor, depending on subsistence farming. She cultivates a small plot of land to produce manioc, maize, rice, beans and fruit to feed her family. Of all the problems she faces, she was clear that water - or rather the lack of easily accessible safe drinking water, was the worst. The miracle of a reliable supply of safe drinking water near home will make a great difference to Adriana and many others like her.