They pass the commodity upwards as they hum traditional repertoires, oblivious of the danger posed by wild animals searching for the same water. About 200 pupils at Park Nyigoti division, Serengeti district, risk dropping out of school due to the prevailing harsh drought conditions.
Before 2.00 am, young female voices ring out loudly punctuated by banging of plastic jerry cans to alert each villager that it is time to fetch water. To a new-comer in the sleepy chemintany village, such voices may be mistaken for a dream. But they jolt every villager from slumber for a dash to the river where little drops of available water are ruthlessly scrambled for:
Water in the region has become a rare resource, and residents must trek for 15 kilometers to Manchira River, the only wet physical feature where drops can be traced. And in a period of the year where rain water is supposed to be plently, the resource must be harvested from a borehole tens of metres below the surface. “Let us wake up girls! It is time to go to the river before many people arrive there,” a voice heavy in Arror accent, a sub tribe of the Waikoma community, rings out.
The sweet morning slumber disrupted, each family must prepare the female off-springs to get on with daily, tiresome chores. The girls brave the morning chill as they belt out favorite traditional songs. They trudge in groups in wishful thinking that God may one day address their plight through adequate amounts of rainfall.
This they pray, will accord them time to attend classes and realize their adulthood career dreams, just like their colleagues in other parts of the country. This, they pray, will accord them time to attend classes and realize their adulthood career dreams, just like their colleagues in other parts of the country.
At the borehole, girls from a human ladder by climbing on each other’s shoulders a dangerous process as the energetic youth struggle for access to the all-vital resources. Descending about 10 feet below the surface, they pass the commodity upwards as they hum traditional repertoires oblivious of the danger posed by wild animals in search of the same resource. Such is Nyambura’s daily routine before she turns up for morning lessons at Bwitengi Primary School where she is a Standard Five pupil. And Nyambura is not alone in the struggle: many other children are trapped in identical labour. Nyambura may, in fact, be better off.
Others may have fallen off the academic ladder to search for water and food in the dry seasons. Speaks to me the Chairman of Parknyigoti, Mr. Makuru said the situation may get out of hand if it could be prioritized in the Tanzania water supply vision 2011-2015. He said the international NGOS has been working in collaboration with the Government to ensure girls access education, but the problem is increasing year to year. “There are many school age going children who have dropped out of school due too water problems,” he says. Majority of the children are edged out following repugnant traditional practices still embraced by many parents.
Mr. Makuru his statements by adding other sources which pull back many young girls access to education by saying the nomadic lifestyle has been the most frustrating problem to development planners, he adds, as men move around in search of pasture and water for the animals. Women and children are left behind alone and desperate, and rely on relief handouts from NGOs for survival.
Bright Sospeter-YET 2011