When the school can’t get its water from the bore hole, they purchase water from the government and it is brought in by a tanker truck. The cost of the water is E59 per truck. The truck holds about 8,000 liters of water. The tanks hold 10,000 liters of water. The always ask for the truck to deliver two loads, but it never does. They have to wait for deliveries of the water and typically they only get a delivery every two to three weeks. When the school doesn’t have water from the community bore hole or the tanker truck, the children have to walk to the river which is only about 5 minutes away to fill containers with river water for cooking, drinking, cleaning and for the teachers who live in teacher’s housing on the school site to use. The Swaziland Health Department has told them that they can get the parasite that causes Bilharzia (see my blog on 9-30-07 for an explanation of Bilharzia) and Typhoid from the river water. We asked the deputy teacher (full time teacher and vice principle) if they boil the water before using it. She said no. They really do not have a way to boil the amount of water they use. They cook over a wood fire and the only pots they have are used to cook the mealy meal and beans for the children’s lunch.
This is one of those stories that just breaks your heart and makes one feel so inadequate. I can’t imagine using water and drinking it when you know you could get very sick and possibly even die from it. And yet, what is the choice? As I gather the needs, Mpofu is obviously on the list of schools that need water. So far, 18 out of the 33 Methodist schools in