Water network sprouts unexpected returns
The first time the water started flowing through the pipes in the dry, remote village of Ashkoot, all that could be heard throughout the community was the sound of “zaghrouta”, the celebratory ululation of joy that is particular to the region.
“We were so happy that day, says Fatma Al Hassan. Before we were suffering; we had to carry water from the Nile –it’s a half hour walk that we had to do five times a day, it took a lot of time and effort.”
But now the women of the village have extra time and energy to tend to other activities. Thanks to the water system one of these new activities is gardening. With the access to water, villagers realized that they could easily maintain vegetable and flower gardens inside their homes. These days, almost every household in Ashkoot has at least a small garden with basic vegetables such as onions, cucumbers and potatoes flourishing underneath the sun.
In this quiet and peaceful village, it is not uncommon to see a child walking down the road munching on a carrot, or a group of people sitting and sharing a melon. Yellow and purple flowers peek out from behind the clay walls and the green leaves of spinach and scallions cover the ground.
“Before we had to travel to Abu Hamed to buy vegetables twice a week; but now we have all that we need in our own homes, and at no cost,” says Fatma.
The water network, which is one of six networks established by the RRP in River Nile State, takes water from the Nile and distributes it to the village through a network of pipes.
Here is how it works: Water is taken from the River Nile and then travels up an underground pipe and is released into a cistern. The water is filtered in the cistern and then sent to a water pump. From the water pump it is sent through another underground pipe to a water tank. From the water tank it is distributed to the village through a network of underground pipes; providing communities with clean water for drinking, doing laundry, bathing and gardening.
“What I say is the truth,” says Fatma as she picks some spinach from the garden for her family’s dinner. “This water has changed our lives.”