Mothers who live in the rural areas are the most disadvantaged part of the community relative to those living urban areas. They make an extraordinary effort to keep a functional family. Their everyday life is full of hard labour that drains their physical and mental energies.
Collecting water is one of the hardest burdens they face. Because of the poor infrastructure distributions, they have to walk miles for hours just to collect a gallon of water. Clean water shortage is the primary reason for many school dropouts and waterborne diseases.
Meko Abe, 30, a mother of six, lives in Gedeb Hasasa woreda of the Oromia regional state. As she lives near to a small stream, trekking for hours is not her problem. But even for her, access to safe water is still an enormous challenge.
“We would wake up before the dawn and rush to the stream, before the traffic went crazy. But if we miss the window, that’s it, we will end up losing half of our day waiting for hours in the queue,” said Meko.
According to her, as the stream is the only water source for hundreds of families living in the woreda many people would gather around the stream from earlier in the morning to the evening. Following the time-honoured saying 'first come first served', they would wake up around 4am or before to avoid the longest queue. This stream is located in a very dangerous place between a rocky mountain and a tricky gorge. It is terrifying to stand on the spot, and as the water flow is much thinner than a regular stream, it takes a long time to fill even a tiny jar.
The overall situation irritates people easily, even the slightest disagreement would end up in a big fight. "They fight over everything and end up with a broken nose, legs, or some terrible injuries. We are the regular people who sit down with the disputed people to reconcile," said Alemu Lema, the villager. Despite the fight, people would lose balance over the slippery slope and sustain multiple injuries. During winter, things would get much worse.
"We have to pass over the gorge to get to the stream. During the winter season, the gorge will be over flooded, making it hard to find a safe pass. We hold hand to hand so that we would survive the flood,'' Meko remembers.
Animals would end up in the gorge. According to Alemu, recently, a pregnant woman fell over the rocky ground, and her baby was injured. The community has to go through all this trouble just for a gallon of water. This was the case for so many years. But now, thanks to Brooke’s effort and its history, things have changed for the better.
Previously, animals had to go down to the gorge to drink dirty water. But now, they are enjoying safe water within their comfort zone. The committee members keep the water troughs clean and full. The newly constructed Taye spring water development is serving the community. It consists of water reservoir, two water points and two water troughs that guarantees easy access. There are 1,950 households and 2,546 equines who benefit from the project.