On Saturday 8th of September, we held a briefing for all CAFOD parish volunteers regarding our upcoming Harvest Family Fast Day. Mark Chamberlain was in attendance as our guest speaker for this occasion, sharing his knowledge about the water pollution crisis in Uganda. Ian Heams, from Mary Immaculate and St. Gregory Parish in High Barnet, writes about his experience at this event.
“In a detailed and passionate address to CAFOD supporters, Mark Chamberlain outlined the essential nature of water. He described the vital choices that have to be made in the absence of this common liquid that we so often take for granted here in the UK.”
The issue with water pollution in Uganda
“Focusing on the plight of people in the remote northern village of Moroto Uganda, Mark demonstrated the reasons why this issue has become the subject of this year’s Harvest appeal.
Mark recounted how the village population had been reduced to drinking the meagre supply of heavily polluted water from a nearby stream. He told the story of how this situation affected Longora, a pregnant woman expecting her child’s imminent birth during a four-year long drought.”
“Of course, water is not only for drinking. The villagers’ plight had become desperate. They found themselves unable to wash, to cook properly and even to grow the crops on which they depended for survival. The little water that the villagers did have access to, often reached heightened levels of toxicity.
Water pollution can be tackled
After being struck with a malaria infection, Longora barely survived, and unfortunately, her child didn’t. He succumbed to the infection too soon after his birth. From this story, Mark went on to illustrate how further avoidable tragedies like these were avoided. In some cases, this included the simple repair of a water pump, giving heightened importance to the education of the villagers who were taught how to maintain and repair the device, should the need arise.”
From water pollution to education
“From this effort, there have been several other important developments in the life of the village which include:
- a growing recognition of the equality and dignity of women
- the education of children, particularly of girls
- and a new gelling of the community, now confident of its own ability to take charge of its future.
Some rural parts of Moroto is still without electricity, gas, or easily accessible healthcare, but it is now a happier, safer place to live. It is projects like this successful intervention that CAFOD hopes to repeat across Africa and the world, which is why the Harvest appeal is key. ”