I’m in Rwanda this week and today is World Water Day. I suppose there’s a bit of irony in that when I turned the faucet on for my shower nothing came out. In Bujumbura it’s not necessarily a rare event. But I have a bit higher expectations when I’m at our house in Kigali. Unlike many parts of the world, it’s not for lack of water in the country. Not only to the reservoirs apparently have water, yesterday we had some pretty impressive rain that made for a slippery, muddy drive home. We do have dry seasons but they’re not that dry nor that long. The problem, like in Burundi, is usually elsewhere.
Bujumbura is struggling a bit more than usual lately for water access. I recently read a couple of articles where public water taps have dried up and people are forced to purchase containers of drinkable water at rather exorbitant prices. As a jaded resident might have guessed, rumors are circulating that rogue staff of the government water agency is in cahoots with the street water vendors. I won’t speculate but it’s altogether possible.
|Go figure, no water for my shower and knee deep on the road|
Growing up I never used to pay attention to these World Whatever Days. Living and working in sub-Saharan Africa, they are a bigger deal. Part of it is because the causes raised by these annual days of recognition reflect many key issues that are plaguing this part of the world and part of it is because the humanitarian world pounces on them like big business pounces on Western holidays. I should clarify that I’m not comparing World Water Day to Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day. I think that, unlike the corporate abuse of Easter, most of the communications and events produced for these days are quite important and beneficial. Because we no longer work in water and sanitation, we don’t have any events for this particular day.
I did nonetheless attend an event today. Attending and speaking at events is a big part of what I do. I suppose that’s okay but it can be a bit much at times. This event was the closure of an 8-year project we had doing community health and child survival. It has been a pretty cool project and it’s a bit of a shame that it is coming to an end. Another way to look at it though is that we came, did our job and are pulling out leaving the work to be carried out by the government and its citizens. At least that’s the theory.
|some of the CCM team and guests|