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Pakwach: Eclipse Failed To Bring Safe Water

This aroused the expectations of the host communities especially Pakwach town, order which had been listed among the best viewing spots for the historic event in the world.

However, a week later, Chimpreports found out that most of the Pakwach residents are unhappy, saying despite the fact that hundreds of people visited their town to view the eclipse, to their disappointment, they didn’t come along with social amenities like safe water.

“Although a lot of visitors flocked our town, I didn’t benefit from the eclipse. Not even my children…….they didn’t watch this much hyped historic event because announcements were all over radios instructing us to keep them indoors and we obliged,” said Linus Olaker.

He added that since the government knew that the sun rays were harmful to the eyes of the locals, “then instead of spending millions on the monument, why didn’t they get us safety glasses so that even our children can be part of history and live a story to tell even the future generations.”

Unlike Olaker, who expected safety glasses, Doreen Aparo, an operator of a food joint in Pakwach town, expected safe water to be channeled to the town since it was going to host the tourists.

“We up to now get water for domestic and other uses from the river (Albert Nile) which is not safe because it is too dirty,” said Aparo. Aparo also admitted that this is the very water she used in preparing meals that she sold to tourists “because I had no other option yet I needed the money”.

Chimpreports and decided to visit the Nile where water is got. The journey begins at 6:30 walking from the guest house, which is in the heart of the town. I needn’t had to be directed to where water is got from because ladies and children could be seen coming from a particular direction with jerrycans on their heads.

Although I had met several ladies and children along the way, the young girl, about twelve who only after a few meters, I am met carrying a 250 litters tank which was almost halfway filled captivated me the most.

I felt like talking to her why she was carrying such a heavy load on her head but couldn’t given the way she was rushing and the weight of the tank could clearly be seen on her facial expression.

The journey continued and I never felt tired of replying the greetings from the people and children I met along the way – given the fact that I was holding a camera, they would greet and request to be put on TV while the children kept on following me.

River

I finally, after a 15 minute walk reach the river. There are a lot of people fetching water but what shocked me most was that they were standing in the water that they were drink, use for cooking among other things!

The water was brown in colour and full of dirt that it would only takes a strong hearted one to drink. I tried speaking to some of the people who were fetching it but most of them just shied away smiling sheepishly not until I got a one Jimmy Kamanda.

Kamanda said that since there is no electricity in their town, pumping of water into the town has been difficult and expensive. “Fetching form the river was the only option we have.”

“We had hoped that government would devise means of connecting safe water to the town during the Eclipse eve, since many people were expected in the town but this didn’t turn out as we wished,” said Kamanda who said fetches water for sale.

There were was fishing in the same area however, all of the intestines and wastes got from the fish would be spilled in the water which was collected.

However, Robert .O. Okumu, the LC V Chairperson of Nebbi district while contacted via phone said that his people only needed sensitization but “safe water is there”.

“We have over three boreholes in Pakwach of which a houselhold pays Shs.500 per month. However, the locals feel like the charges are too high and that’s why the go for the river water not knowing the complications,” said Okumu.

He added that most of the locals go for the river water because it is soft and “does not consume a lot of soap”.

Chimpreports tried verifying the number of Boreholes in the town but only found two – one being a few meters after the town center and the other being near Kwiny Primary School, over 10Km from Pakwach town.

Pakwach is located in Nebbi District, in Northern Uganda. It is situated approximately 110 kilometres (68 mi), by road, southeast of Arua, the largest town in West Nile. This location lies along the western bank of the Albert Nile.

The 2002 national census estimated the population of the town at 17,625. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), estimated the population of Pakwach at 20,600 in 2008. In 2011, UBOS estimated the mid-year population of Pakwach at 22,300

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