24 September 2017

Back Home (for now)

To all my friends,

Thank you for following my experiences in Kenya.
I am back in Israel already, but, I would like to express some concluding remarks for the last two months.

Although my complaints of different hardships, my experience in Kenya was a very positive one and I can truly say that I had a great experience. I have met some extraordinary people. People of thought, vision, commitment and with a good heart who continuously try to help others. People who are very dedicated to their country. I also met people who are not, that their life experience has taught them to take what they can when they can and upon receiving a position of power they become entitled. These people are called by the Kenyans, selfish and corrupt, but due to the strong ethnic ties, and although everyone complains about it and gave me real life examples, each group protects their own, these perpetrators are seen as “our criminals” which are entitled to the protection of the group. This is known to everyone, everyone is tired of it and want to sever these chains, but do not know how. I believe, that like in China, a leader will rise at one point who will make the change and with the support of the population, will eventually be able to make it happen.

As for my research experiences, it is undoubted, that there is an ongoing struggle for clean water in Siaya county, if I started my research with the belief that rural people and urban poor are the most affected, soon enough I came to realize that the middle class are being severely affected by the situation as well and even the rich, but while, the rich can take care of their water issues with money it is far harder for the middle class, not to mention the poor that certainly cannot.
42% of the population have clean water, that means that 58% do not, most of them rely on the local water company (by the way, household water in Siaya is not necessarily water in the house taps, but a water tap in the household yard), but when its pipes malfunction people have no choice but to resort to filthy open surface ponds or rivers or in the best case scenario expensive water vendors.

I was surprised to find that many people still drink from dirty ponds, these are colonial man dug large pits which accumulate rain water, from which livestock also drink and it is far from being human worthy. When I asked people why they continue to demand government to dig these for them, one answer was, what do you want us to do, we have this pond from 1928, it is reliable and stable, even though it is dirty, but it is water. The water providers pipes are unstable, cost much and certainly not reliable (some have been dry for over a year) what do you expect us to do. A question which I certainly did not have an answer for.
some pond examples

There are so many other water issues in Siaya, but I will not relate at this time, but will certainly give me the data I need for revealing the water situation in Siaya county. I plan to be back in Siaya this coming January. To complete my research and this time focus on four case studies. I will be writing again, at that time.
All the best, glad to be back home, Shana Tova


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