Linley Manda, 30, remembers the night of March 9, 2019 like it was yesterday. She was woken up at 12am by heavy rains at her home in Nsanje district. She saw water entering her house and quickly rising. She started to scream and woke up her children with her husband. The children were crying and shouting for help. They fled to a nearby school for safety, away from the rising waters.
Mphunzi Primary School is in Mphunzi village, in a remote part of Dedza. In the rainy season, the weather is cool and is surrounded by green hills with breathtaking scenery. Despite the beauty students see on a daily basis, the school’s isolation has left it without access to clean water for years.
It is mid-morning at Mdeka health center. The hospital yard is full of people. They are women with babies on their backs men helping patients off bicycle taxis and others busking in the morning sun waiting for their turn to be seen by the clinicians.
The month of August, 2018, gave Zione Giziyele two reasons to celebrate: she gave birth to her second baby, a daughter named Chimwemwe. At the same time, her village received its first ever borehole.
Water supports all living things including people and animals. That is why people say that water is life, meaning we cannot survive without it. In other words, a society without water is not possible.
Mphunzi Community Day Secondary School is in Pinji village in Traditional Authority Kachere in Dedza district. The school lies at the bottom of Mphunzi hill and is very close to Mphunzi health centre. The school has a shortage of water. This negatively affects us, students. There is only one borehole available which caters for students, teachers and the surrounding community. Unfortunately, sometimes it dries up and students have to wait for long periods of time until it water starts again. Lack of water means that there is poor sanitation at our school.
I am Gloria Mpokosa. I am 17 years old and I am in form two at Mphunzi community Day Secondary School. On behalf of the teachers and my fellow students, I would like to tell you about the scarcity of water at our school.
On 20 May 2018, Lilongwe became cholera free, following an outbreak that lasted four months, affected 388 people, and claimed 18 lives. Nationally, over 900 people were affected with 30 deaths. The outbreak was caused by unsafe water consumption and poor hygiene and sanitation practices. Unless these underlying issues are addressed, cholera is likely to return.
Malawi is currently facing a cholera outbreak in Lilongwe. This is the latest in series of cholera outbreaks across the country, caused by unsafe water sources and poor hygiene practices. In September 2017, UNICEF’s Rebecca Phwitiko travelled to Chikwawa and Nsanje to report on cholera outbreaks in the south of Malawi.
The winding road to Chimpololo Village in Kasungu District can easily mislead someone as to what they will see. The meandering earth road through markets and a primary school is a busy site, but one thing that stands out in this community is how clean it is and the community members are still basking in the glory of its open defecation free status.