March 2, 2016 will remain historic in the minds of Kimana and Kajiado residents at large, as the day they witnessed a mega event taking place on their soil. People came from far and wide just to be part of the auspicious activity, whose stories will be shared from generation to generation.
Young and old thronged the remote town in rift valley region to witness the proceedings of the rare activity taking place in the town.A convoy of vehicles escorting Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa who was the chief guest and other dignitaries awakened the small town. Kajiado County is known for its aridity state, with residents being forced to nomadic form of living. Lack of access to safe drinking water is not something new to residents. Some of them have been used to staying for days without water. The little water available in most of the areas is not fit for human consumption.
In Kimana to be specific, residents rely on water from a seasonal stream located kilometers away from the town and a single water kiosk located at the heart of the town. They share the stream water with their animals, oblivious of the risks they are put their lives into.
Residents here value their animals probably more than themselves. When their animals get water to drink, they consider the problem solved. Jennifer Naeku, a mother of three and a native Kimana resident told me that the Maasai community cannot stand watch their animals lose lives to thirst and hunger.
When residents heard of AfricAqua’s intention to set up a water shop where they could access safe drinking water easily, their eagerness to see the project operating surpassed any other anticipations. They watched in disbelief as the water shop came to be. They could not imagine drinking safe water that has undergone thorough treatment.
When the launch day finally came, no one and nothing could have prevented them from accessing the project site to witness its official commissioning by the Cabinet Secretary. Everybody was eager to have a sip of the new and sure product in town. Different institutions were represented with Africaqua as the host, ensuring that everything went on as planned. This was not the day for trial and errors.
Our partners (Spring Accelerator, Ekocenter, Water.org and Pentair) who could also not wait to see the idea by Africaqua CEO David Kuria coming to reality could not have afforded to miss this auspicious occasion as well. Their representatives reiterated on the need to have similar projects in other arid and semi-arid areas. They had every reason to be happy, seeing one of the projects they have been part of from the beginning, bringing hope to thousands of deserving Kenyans.
The Cabinet Secretary hailed the move by Africaqua and her partners, urging other private companies to follow suit, saying that water scarcity nightmare cannot be left for national government alone to solve.
Today, thousands of Kimana residents have an easy access to safe drinking water at an affordable price. Such benefits will soon be realized by Matuu and Narok residents where similar projects are ongoing.