Caritas speaker talks about the importance of water at our school, St Mary’s School, Manly.

Thandolwayo’s story

When was the last time you went without water? Four out of ten people worldwide according to UNICEF do not have enough water to bathe, cook with and sometimes even to drink each day. Every morning before school my sister, brother and I have breakfast involving a glass of water, my mum & dad both drink a cup of coffee which also involves water, we all brush our teeth, fill up our water bottles, which will be filled numerous times throughout the day, we drive to school while at the same time the dishes are in the sink and the washing machine is running. This is normal for almost everyone on the Northern Beaches.

Now imagine starting at Manly Beach, walking to North Head finding a puddle, collecting water from that puddle and walking back to Manly. Now imagine you’re twelve and that walk is three hours long over rocky terrain and the water is dirty and surrounded by a river full of crocodiles. This used to be the reality for Thandolwayo from Msuna Hills, Zimbabwe. Thandolwayo had to carry a 5kg water carton that far each day. This was Thandolwayo’s daily routine until Caritas stepped in….

On Friday 22nd of March I was fortunate enough to listen to Super Dube from Caritas Hwange speak about the importance of water at our school, St Mary’s School, Manly. He made me realise how lucky I am, after telling the story of Thandolwayo, who is my age. I now understand that we need to be grateful for the things we take for granted.

Thandolwayo dreams of becoming a nurse were limited by having to walk over 90km a week to collect water. Collecting water was limiting her time to learn. Everyone living in Msuna Hills was suffering from lack of water, they had the resource, the Gwayi River, and were willing to provide labour, but didn’t have the money for the infrastructure. Then Caritas were contacted and provided the resources so that the villagers could build a system that would pump the water from Gwayi River up the hill to Thandolwayo’s village. The system, which delivers clean water, is solar-powered because there is no electricity in Msuna Hills. This allows Thandolwayo’s village the ability to bathe everyday, create a fish pond to breed fish to sell, a vegetable garden, a diptank to treat cattle for ticks and enough clean water to drink. Now Thandolwayo has time for school and is top of her class.

So next time you turn on the tap, think of how lucky we are to live in this country, and also those in need.

By Natasha Hughes – Year 6 student & Mission Captain, St Mary’s School, Manly