Woman Wakes Up at 3 Am Daily to Fetch Water That Makes Her Family Sick – But a New Installation Helps Her Set Her Sights Higher
Without clean water, citizens of this rural town were trapped in a cycle of poverty and illness.
Taking care of people is what Honorine loves to do. She’s a nurturer at heart, especially when it comes to her husband and children.
But it used to be extremely difficult to fulfill her family’s most basic needs — like water. That’s because Honorine lives in a rural village in Madagascar, a village that until recently had no clean water for its citizens.
So every day, Honorine would wake up at 3:00 in the morning to start an arduous journey to go get a 19-liter can of water for her family. It was time-consuming, tiring and expensive. When she got home, it was straight off to the rice fields to work long, hot days. Her children had to get themselves ready for school.
Even worse, the water that she worked so hard to get wasn’t even clean. The family used it not only to drink but also to cook and bathe; but then they started getting sick. Everyone in the village did.
The Tragedy of Having No Clean Water
A disease called bilharzia swept over the village. Caused by parasites in dirty water, the disease means worms enter the drinker’s intestines and veins. These worms can cause permanent organ damage and even death.
Honorine knows too well the pain of death. When her son was just two years old, he suffered and died from a mysterious stomach illness that they’ve never been able to identify. It wasn’t much later when Honorine herself fell ill.
“When I got sick, I could not work,” Honorine remembers. Not be able to work was nearly a death sentence for herself.
But luckily for her and her family, besides, being a nurturer, Honorine is also someone who is joyful by nature. She finds the good in everything. And it wasn’t hard to find the good in the news that charity:water, through their local partner Helvetas, was going to bring water to Honorine’s community.
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“When the tap was finished, everybody screamed,” Honorine remembers with a big smile. “The children and the adults alike all yelled, ‘The water pump is finished! The water pump is finished!’”
It brought drastic changes to the lives of everyone in the community. They no longer had to make a long journey in the name of obtaining questionable drinking water. And soon after a clean water source was secured, the disease bilharzia disappeared from their rural village.
Now that Honorine was healthy and less exhausted, things were looking up. And just that little more free time afforded Honorine a dream. She wanted to open a restaurant.
She and her husband had always run a small store selling coffee and sugar. In the days of fetching water and sickness, it had been all she could do to keep the store functioning and work in the rice fields during the day. But now, with access to clean water, Honorine could think of expanding her little stand into a full-fledged restaurant.
Which she did. Nowadays, Honorine and her husband are selling chicken, soup, pasta and more. Her specialty is banana bread.
How Clean Water Makes Life “Less Difficult”
“We’re only able to have a restaurant because there is clean water,” Honorine explains. “We use water more than anything else, up to 10 jerry cans a day just to clean all of the utensils. Before, I never thought about starting a restaurant because water is difficult here. But since the installation of this clean drinking water, we feel blessed.”
She feels blessed in many way, not the least of which is being able to care for others. “As I am a mother, I enjoy taking care of things,” she says. Now, she gets to spend more time with her children in the morning and help get them ready for school. “When people come here [to the restaurant], they talk about their lives. I love welcoming people.” The local fishermen come regularly to Honorine’s restaurant after a long day of work. She loves listening to their stories.
“Things are less difficult,” Honorine says. “The small restaurant greatly improved our lives.” Now, instead of endless journeys and crippling illness, Honorine talks of studying abroad and of her children making better lives for themselves outside the village.
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“I will make my restaurant grow,” she says excitedly. The extra income she earns allows her to properly feed her family and pay her children’s school fees, but the arrival of clean water in the village means, to Honorine, that the sky is the limit.
With clean water, which is something that so many people take for granted, Honorine’s entire life was turned around. Her physical health, her finances, and her opportunities suddenly increased. She started to dream of a future that would have been unimaginable before the installation of the water pump.
Clean water also allowed Honorine to find her entrepreneurial spirit and embrace a new future full of hope for her and her family. “We are happy,” she gushes, “really happy.”