Water is life


Ziporrah Mueni

Machakos county, 64 kilometres east of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, is one of the areas in the Horn of Africa that has been badly affected by the current drought crisis, the worst in 60 years - affecting 10 million people, according to the United Nations.

“My name is Ziporrah Mueni. I am 29 years old and a single mother of three. My youngest baby is 2 weeks old. I live in Kangondu in Masinga district.I walked a long distance to bring my child to the clinic. I am hungry, and I need to breastfeed my baby. There are many problems here. We lack water and food which are essential for a mother with a young child. 
There is no food from any farm at all. It is also hard to get money. Sometimes I go to the fields to collect firewood, so that I can sell, but I am only able to raise 50 shillings from the sales in a day. Sometimes we can go for days without food. In most cases we only eat one meal a day, in the evening. We eat maize mixed with beans. My children’s health is not very good, they have lost weight, they are weaker than they used to be. Before the drought set in, I had enough to fend for my my children but the situation right now is pretty bad. I sometimes go for days without eating just to make sure that my children feed on the little that I get. 
Aside from the shortage of food, water sources have dried and we are now getting desperate. We have to walk long distances in search of water and if you find it, a 20 litre of water costs 25 shillings. Imagine, I have a small baby and I need about 60 litres of water a day but I cannot afford it, so I am forced to use the little I get. If it doesn’t rain soon I don’t know how we will manage. Water is life and without it life can be really difficult.”