Sunday, July 21, 2013

Water in Rwanda

Water (the lack of it) is a big problem in Rwanda.  For roughy half a year, there is hardly any rain.  Even in the capital city, Kigali, water supply can be cut off for a whole district for months.  People who can afford it buy water delivered by water trucks.  Others carry water in plastic cans themselves.

For most of the villages up in the hills and mountains there is no water supply at all.  Many people spend hours each day carrying water up to their houses.  Vendors ferry water cans with bicycles.  They are pushing the bicycles, because the unpaved roads are too steep and rough to ride on.

It has not rained for such a long time, and it is so dusty, that the banana leaves have turned brown.  Fortunately, it is not because they are dying.  They are simply covered by a layer of red earth.

Even then, many of the women, even in fairly remote places, are dressed in clean, brightly-coloured dresses.   Evidently it is a matter of pride for them the way they present themselves even while they are simply carrying out their daily chores.

And everywhere we go, whether in Kigali, Ruhanga, Rwamagana, or villages up in the mountains, there is hardly any garbage on the streets, in and around houses.    Even in the height of the dry season.  Simply amazingly admirable.


YTSL said...

When I lived in Tanzania (in the 1990s), I used to think -- human rights isn't (just) about democracy, it's really also about people having access to clean water and ample food. Alas, (all) those are not 'givens' in many parts of Africa and the world... and lots of other people in better off areas have no clue at all how much more fortunate they are.

StephenC said...

Yes, democracy is only one of many aspect of human rights. Interestingly, many of my Rwanda friends think highly of the government. They tend to attribute problems to the lack of resources and low level of development, rather than government inaction. They are very proud of the low level of corruption, clean streets, and progressive government policies. Many actually want to amend the constitution so that President Kagame can stay for a 3rd term. Of course, many also want to uphold the constitution. Quite a civilized debate, I think.