“My little girl enjoys accompanying me to the well because it takes little effort for us to collect water. Mariamma continued, “this well became a life-saver for us during the ‘corona’. Elderly people like me remained safe during these fearful times as we did not have to go to distant places to collect water. Social distancing would not have been possible if we had to wait in long queues in front of the Panchayat tap. My community did not struggle for water once during the lockdown, as the well is near our homes”
Mariamma believed that water struggles were a curse on her, and she had no
reason to think otherwise. She had lived all her life bearing the burden of water
shortage until Living Water changed her life forever!
Mariamma lived in Perumalpuram, a small community in Southern India. The
majority of the people in her community are farmers and agricultural laborers
who work for daily wages and cultivate crops like paddy, cotton, jasmine flowers
etc. They also depend on domesticated animals and dairy products for income.
The Perumalpuram residents have been facing an acute water crisis for many
decades but had no solution to overcome it. They wandered to other
communities for a pot of clean water. An unprotected hand-dug well they relied
on was in the agricultural fields and contaminated with pesticides, which was
why many illnesses plagued them. The public standpipe from the Panchayat
supplied water only once in four days and remained dry most of the time.
Besides their personal water needs, they also had to tend to the cattle, which
was one of their primary sources of income. The people cycled or sometimes
walked kilometers to fetch water, and even the small children had to bear the
brunt of collecting water from distant places. As a mother, she was concerned for
her children and grandchildren and did not want them to go through the same
Living Water changed it all for Mariamma and her community when a new well
was gifted for them in May 2018! On a recent visit to Perumalpuram, we met
Mariamma with her granddaughter collecting water from the LWI water point.
She was excited to see us and shared, “my little girl enjoys accompanying me to
the well because it takes very little effort for us to collect water. She continued,
“this well became a life-saver for us during the ‘corona’. Elderly people like me
remained safe during these fearful times as we did not have to go to distant
places to collect water. Social distancing would not have been possible if we had
to wait in long queues in front of the Panchayat tap. My community did not
struggle for water even once during the lockdown, as the well is near our homes.
We understood that it is very important to keep our hands clean by washing with
soap many times to keep the germs away. We wash our face, hands and feet at
the entrance of our homes when we return from outside. The vegetables and
other food products that we buy from the market are washed thoroughly before
we use them, especially during this ‘corona’ time. All these requires a lot of
water and we had it right at our doorstep. Clean water also kept us hydrated
throughout the day and protected us from many illnesses. My children are
healthier than before, and my home has become happier. I am not cursed
anymore; I live a comfortable and safe life with my children and grandchildren!”
said Mariamma confidently.