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Now I Can Smile

Ngura Kapalee  |  June 3, 2013

Kenya: West Pokot sand dam

The new sand dam means water now is available for livestock and the community.

Photo: CWS

The lack of access to water close by is not just a threat to health and hygiene and livestock.  It can also put at risk the lives of people looking for water to graze their livestock.  Fifteen-year-old Ngura Kapalee gives an account of what he endured before a CWS project made water easily available in his village in Kenya’s semi-arid West Pokot region:

MSC: Nguru Kapalee

Fifteen-year-old Ngura Kapalee.

Photo: CWS

I never knew that this dam would be constructed.  I never believed I can make things happen in my village.  I have been assisting my old father look after the cattle. My task has been to take the animals to graze far from our village near a big river.  Sometimes I have to spend weeks near that river, sleeping in the bush and endangering my life with so many wild animals. 

One night when I was preparing to sleep under a tree I heard some funny noises in one of the branches.  At first I thought the wind was too strong.  My friends had gone hunting so I thought it was them coming back.  The hissing noise became nearer and nearer.  I was frightened.  I stood up immediately and took my bows and arrow.  I tried calling for my friends, but there was no response.  From the little sport light I had, I saw something falling from the tree.  Alas, it was a big snake!

I did not know how I took off, but I found myself screaming for help, running like a mad man and the snake was following me.  I passed through rocks and thorns.  Luckily, when some villagers and my friends heard my screaming they came armed with big stones, bows and arrows.  The thorns reduced the speed of the snake.  It was so big everyone said I was lucky to have survived.

When I was told that a dam was going to be constructed, I was so excited because I knew we would have water and I will not sleep under trees in the bushes again.  Because it was raining and we had water and good pasture for our animals I decided to work day and night to make sure that we had water in our village.  Now I know how to repair the sand dam in case of any technical problem.  Above all, our dam has captured water.  I am so happy and I thank God for the people who assisted.  I will ask my father to take me to school.  I hope I am not too old.”

Tag: Water

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