By the time you read this, I’ll be back in Zimbabwe for my annual visit, working with the extraordinary women who run the Shingirirai Trust. And sharing record high temperatures. At 27ºC during the night, rising to 37ºC by midday, it’s been too hot to go barefoot outside, or to go out at all. The hottest summer for 50 years. Heat frays the nerves, and coping without running water doesn’t help. Some of my team have had to get up at 3.30 am to queue at a water point, waiting hours then trudging back with not enough water for the family’s thirst, cooking, cleanliness or sanitation.
In her latest blog post from Zimbabwe, Cathy Buckle paints a vivid picture of life with limited water, in and around Harare “…where residents have gone three weeks with almost no water, fights break out as people queue day and night at overworked handpumps…at best you can get water for an hour or two a day…”
According to international charity Water Aid, one in eight people worldwide don’t have daily access to clean water, that most basic human need.
The Shingirirai Trust is committed to caring for and educating kids, so there’s another aspect of water scarcity that we should highlight: children as young as 10, especially girls, are often sent to get water instead of going to school. Apart from the serious physical implications of kids carrying heavy water canisters, they also miss out completely on schooling. And for the women, too, this time-consuming but vital chore takes up so much time that could be spent learning, teaching and improving life in our communities. If you’d like to help them move forward in these ways, then please visit our Appeals page, and give whatever donation you think is right.
Have you ever had to cope during a water shortage? What was the worst part of not having any water? Tell us with a comment on this site, and we can compare notes – while we wait for the rains to come.