Didacienne had five children and no home of her own. Her husband died nearly 25 years ago in the Rwandan genocide, and after that she had few options to provide for her family – they lived with various family members to get by. And without water in their village, life was difficult.
For Didacienne and her children, living in rural Rwanda meant spending two hours every day walking to fetch water – down steep hillsides to an unprotected spring deep in the valley, only to have to carry a 20-pound jerry can of water back up those same hillsides. Not only did Didacienne lose time retrieving water, but she was often sick. Like many people in her village, Didacienne would suffer from waterborne diseases. One of her own children died early. Life was a challenge.
When fetching water requires hours each day and contaminated water causes constant illness, prosperity plummets. Across Africa, women spend up to six hours a day collecting water. They then suffer the direct costs of doctors’ visits and medicine when they’re sick from drinking this contaminated water, and countless indirect costs due to the time lost.
This was the case for Didacienne. Lost time and health decreased how much she could provide for her family.
But then her village got water, and she got her time and health back. "I no longer get sick," says Didacienne. "I save two hours each day!"
The best part for Didacienne was that she got a job as the local water seller. She spends several hours a day at the community water point selling water to the villagers. The profits she has made have changed her life.
"Anything you do in this life revolves around water," Didacienne says. "When we received water, we were joyful."
Didacienne can now buy better food and clothes for her family and invest in her children’s education. Most importantly to her, she built a house for her family. She’s so proud and excited about her new home that she dances in its doorway.
"My dream is to enlarge my house, so all my children can live here," she says. "Maybe I could even buy land to cultivate so I can grow crops. I might even be able to have an animal!"
When Water For People partnered with Didacienne’s district of Rulindo to bring her community improved water services, it gave her a chance at a better life – not only because she saved time and was healthier, but because it gave her a job. Water systems and services around the world create jobs for people like Didacienne – multiplying the prosperity water brings to their lives.