Ngeza village lies in Kakumiro District in Western Uganda near the volatile Democratic Republic of Congo.
Until recently, this area was uninhabited, but recently discovered oil in the area has led to evictions and these displaced people have settled in a remote area of Kakumiro, which has very few roads or social services. Since there were no latrines or sanitary ways of disposing of sewage, the ground water has become contaminated by feces and human activity.
Transform a Village, an organization with the goal of helping poor rural villages, is working with Sr. Justine to improve living conditions by providing schools, health care and sanitization to the Ngeza community. Because of the contaminated water, the people of the village were plagued by water borne diseases and parasites.
In 2018 Sister Justine, a resident of the village and a graduate of the Coady International Institute, heard of Wishing Wells Society (WWS) and sent an application to Mary van den Heuvel of WWS in St. Andrews. At that time Wishing Wells didn’t have the resources for a water collection system, but in June she applied again just at the time Inverness County Cares (ICC) became aware of the project and offered funding. This project would supply the village with four 10,000 litre cistern tanks for collecting rain water from the roofs of the village through a system of gutters.
The process began in June 2019 under the management of Transform a Village, Sr. Justine and Wishing Wells. This was not an easy process and was fraught with obstacles and anxiety.
The first obstacle was sending the money to Ngeza. In July 2019 the Canadian government initially refused to allow the money to go to Uganda because of the unstable political situation. Finally, after much negotiation, the money was sent to Uganda, but because of incorrect bank information, it was returned to WWS. With corrections made, the money was sent again, but with the delays causing the Ngeza people much anxiety as they feared the money was lost to fraudsters. Finally in late September 2019, the money arrived but by then the Canadian dollar had fallen and less than anticipated arrived.
Now it was time to go shopping for the equipment needed, but before this could begin, torrential rains came and destroyed roads and swept away bridges. By the end of December, the rains ceased and procurement of the four 10,000 litre tanks began. They were required to be custom-made and the four needed to be transported by a very long vehicle. This made it necessary for the road to the village to be rebuilt and widened, and bridges built to accommodate this large truck.
The tanks were installed in February 2020 and then Covid 19 hit the area and a lockdown was imposed. Then the last disaster, a fierce windstorm blew one of the water collection tanks 275 meters into the valley below. It was irreparably damaged and could not be used for the water collection system. It will be used to hold water for crop irrigation.
In order to ensure the system will be a long term solution, the village council will collect a small fee from villagers for repair and maintenance and Transform a Village will continue to carry out a supervisory role ensuring the objective of the project is maintained.
The clean water in the three tanks is available to the families and they are smiling and giving thanks, remarking that “God has remembered us.” They now have clean clear water, as opposed to the yellow contaminated water which was all they previously had to drink. The people of Ngeza hold in great admiration the donors who cared for them, even though they have never met.
“This is a story that warms our hearts,” president of ICC, Ted Van Zutphen says. “We are so privileged to have the opportunity to make such a huge improvement in the lives of the Ngeza villagers. We want to thank each and every one of our donors for being part of this beautiful venture.”
ICC always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our Web site: https://invernesscountycares.com, or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares Box 99, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts will be provided.