We live I an era dominated by our reliance on the car. Many households in the UK have two, or often
more, vehicles. This means we seldom walk far, whether that is to the shops, our friends or the
doctors. As for water there cannot be many households in the UK where the turning of a tap does
not produce an abundant supply of safe water direct from the kitchen.
It is not like his for everybody. In Msitu wa Tembo 97 per cent of the village do not have easy access
to a safe, clean water supply. Many have to walk for over three hours to get just 20 litres of water,
an amount that is just one tenth of the water an individual uses in the UK each day. For the
voluntary nurses in Msitu wa Tembo they often have to cycle upto ten miles to see a patient that is
housebound through scrub terrain, in heavy rains during the rainy season and at night. Many
patients have to walk that distance to get themselves to the clinic. One case in Vikovei, Cameroon
comes to mind. That of a female patient in labour with malaria. She walked, I was told, with a body
temperature of over 40 degrees Celsius and all the symptoms of malaria for over ten miles to get to
the health centre to have her baby in better conditions than she had at home or in the bush.
By providing enough clean wells, supporting rural health centres and other such work we can
improve the lives of those born to live with such daily challenges as these. And don’t forget that
three hours of walking includes carrying the 20 litres of water! Most of us would be pleased with
that work out in the gym!!