Water and Sanitation
You turn on the tap and out comes water ready to drink. If it's a hot day then you just pour a few extra drinks, turn on the sprinkler to water the grass and sit back and enjoy the sun. I'm sure that you don't even stop to think about it. Life's not so easy in Uganda for there, like many countries, water is scarce - in fact so scarce that in most villages taps don't even exist.
Water has to be collected daily from the nearest river or spring for all of the family's requirements. Of course the nearest water supply is not always the best and often not very near anyway. A typical example is the
village of Mukono to the east of Kampala. There, some 600 people from around two square miles take their water from just one small pool a few inches deep. It is a natural pool, and therefore, after a few canisters have been filled the mud is stirred up and water becomes cloudy and even less clean. The pool is also used by animals which is partly the reason why it contains diseases. All the water has to be boiled before use and of course sometimes that is not sufficient and the local villagers fall ill.
Why isn't something done? Well it could be so easily, as materials are easy to get and use and there is plenty of labour. The problem however is money. With an average wage at about £2.50 per month which does not even provide a subsistence standard of living, there is just no money left over, so people continue as before.
If you have ever sat in a bath and pulled the plug out two things happen, firstly the water goes round in circles making funny noises and secondly it disappears. We don't often think about where it goes or what happens to it. Over the years we have developed a very sophisticated system of waste disposal which allows even the most noxious of household chemicals just to be poured down the drain.
As you might have guessed with no water supply there is also no waste water facilities in Uganda other than throwing it outside.'Of course sewage is not dealt with in this way, although there is a generous use of available 'trees'! Toilets comprise of a hole in the ground which in a hot country does tend to titillate the nostrils of the user!!
The potential for disease is enormous and even where ditches take away running dirty water, it usually ends up in a pool of dirty water - the ideal place for mosquitoes to breed and along with them there is malaria.
Whilst as we have seen money is a problem, there are a number of simple things related to general hygiene that can be done to help reduce sanitation difficulties.