Thursday, 21 February 2013

Day 4 - Khamhar. More success and the legacy lives on

Traditional Datia Building - Prior to 1950's
We arrived at the village Kamhar around 2:30pm, the streets were clean and dotted between plain fronted building were brightly coloured decorative traditional homes. We were greeted again in the traditional Hindu manner by a large number of villagers. The village has a population of 624 people living in 86 homes, that's an average of 7 people per house, bearing in mind these houses are often just two or three rooms, families are tightly squeezed and sharing small cots to sleep in.

Khamar is a post intervention village therefore the work of WaterAid has been completed, we were told how life used to be, when the streets were full of rubbish and people openly went to the toilet in the land surrounding their homes, how the wells would contaminate with stagnant and polluted waters and how sickness would visit families frequently.

There was pride in the people as they explained that since 2008 they have worked with WaterAid to improve lives and secure better futures for their children. They started by educating the village people of the dangers of using their streets and surrounding land to go to the toilet, they worked hard to express that the sickness that visited them was due to these actions and keeping the streets clean would improve the situation. The village took action and began to clear the streets, dig holes to contain the waste and carve drains to remove the domestic and flood waters.

The infrastructure was then put in place to support the villages enthusiasm for a better life, WaterAid, local partners and villagers built dams to harvest rain water, toilets in homes, installed water pumps and eventually connected 80% of the village to home water supplies. The supply operates for just 2 hours in the morning however this is such a vast enhancement on life prior to WaterAid and local partners, the village people are able to fill containers in their own homes without walking to wells or hand pumps, they gain more family time or more time to work then land in order to financial support their families.

The supply of water and decent sanitation goes far beyond the basics, it really does open so many doors, enhance a very basic standard of living and provide dignity, something I am sure we have a level of empathy for.

Wall art, outlining the benefits of WASH
in the village school
After we had a discussion with the villagers I was given the chance to operate one of the hand pumps, it was a basic metal structure and was fairly easy to use, it still felt strange knowing that after the 2 hours of supply each day was turned off any water required would need to collected in steel containers and brought back to the home. I can only relate things to how we live in the UK and that is life would be so inconvenient if I had to spend time each day collecting water, or limiting my usage to no more than 10-15 litre per household member.

This was just a short visit and one I walked away from feeling really good about the work that had been completed. I felt a relief that the intervention of WaterAid had left a legacy, one where people take ownership and responsibility, one where pride and dignity had been restored and one where any UK money donated was clearly worth every single penny and more.

Life here is different, I am seeing places that others simply never get the chance to due to there remoteness, and yet I am conscious at all times that these are people, just like you and I, they breath, they eat, they drink and they deserve the basic rights that we all take for granted. Next time you turn on the tap have a thought for those that cannot or those that treat water like gold, they are just an 8 1/2 hour flight away from you.


  1. Hi James. Sounds like a fascinating and insightful visit. Enjoyed catching up on your blog. It is very humbling. Carole (Mary Gober International)

    1. Thank you Carole, pleased to know you are following. Take care x

  2. What an uplifting Blog today James I am so pleased you have seen first hand what Wateraid can achieve you must be feeling much more Positive today ,In fact i feel the pleasure in your words for this small village .Lets hope this snowballs through all the community's What a difference having fresh water for just two hours a day has made to them .In our society this may not seem much but reading back over your previous Blogs goodness me what a difference it has made For me anyway turning on a tap will somehow now be a little different looking foward to seeing you soon and hearing first hand your stories xxxx