“When I used to see my mummy walking out of the door in the morning and coming back at night, I thought that was just the way our world works. I was young – too young to understand that it is not ok to see your mummy just a few hours a day - especially when growing up. My sibling and I were so little. But I could not understand what was happening very well.
I grew up in this rural area in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Life is simple over here. We all work to get water. It is like the first job we have to do before anything else. I mean, obviously. Fetching water so we can drink is the reason we are here today. But it is tiring to invest all day doing that. I find it frustrating because there is little left to do at the end. Like my mummy, going early in the morning and coming home late at night has been her entire life. And honestly, I do not want to live like that. I admire my mum. I love her for that and what she has kept doing for the family and me. She was so strong. – resilient. And she has allowed me to go to school – something she could not do. I hardly attend school, though. Mostly, I try to help my mum run errands here in the village.
Walking for hours takes away most of the time of the day. Not only does the trip steal hours of precious time, but the 40-pound jerry is so heavy for me. I struggle to carry it. Contaminated water made my mummy sick one day not long ago – a day I can’t forget. She was exhausted. She could not walk. She could not do anything. I think she never really recovered well from that day. She is old now. Physically, not actually. Her brain seems to be shut off. It is hard to even speak some words with her. She gets frustrated so quickly. She does not want to talk to people anymore. She is isolated – inside our house that once was so warming and loving.
I want to go to school to learn about changing what water is doing to the ones I most love. I have lost many of those. And I can’t pretend nothing is happening. I am angry. Furious. I want some change. We all want that! We deserve that.”