Show Mobile Navigation

Social Share Icons

About Author (Do Not Edit Here!)

Communities Where Residents Use Same River For Cooking, Drinking and Defecating

christian nwodo - Monday, April 20, 2015
Barely 10 metres from where the children were defecating in the waters on that warm Tuesday evening, some middle-aged women stooped and scooped some water into empty buckets, at a distance not too far away from where some men were having their baths - in the riverine community of Angiama, a 40-minute speedboat ride from the capital city, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

Leaving Angiama and taking a five-minute boat ride to Oporoma, the biggest local government area headquarters in the state (Southern Ijaw), the story was not in any way different.

In many of the coastal communities in the oil-rich Bayelsa State, there are thousands of households whose situations are similar to what is obtained in Angiama and Oporoma as a large number of them rely on rainwater as their source of drinking, washing and cooking.

Barely 10 metres from where the children were defecating in the waters on that warm Tuesday evening, some middle-aged women stooped and scooped some water into empty buckets, at a distance not too far away from where some men were having their baths – in the riverine community of Angiama, a 40-minute speedboat ride from the capital city, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.


A child defecates in the water

Leaving Angiama and taking a five-minute boat ride to Oporoma, the biggest local government area headquarters in the state (Southern Ijaw), the story was not in any way different.

In many of the coastal communities in the oil-rich Bayelsa State, there are thousands of households whose situations are similar to what is obtained in Angiama and Oporoma as a large number of them rely on rainwater as their source of drinking, washing and cooking. But even in the rainy season, the people fetch water to keep for the rainy days. And when the rain goes – and the sunny period comes – there is an automatic switch of dependence on the large mass of water that connects the communities together.

Since goods and people are carried through boats from one place to another, the water also serves as the only mode of transportation. Also, close to the jetties in virtually all the communities Saturday PUNCH toured were makeshift toilets built entirely on the waters – where men and women go to defecate and dump refuse. And when it is time for recreation, both the young and the old in these communities jump into the large mass of water to swim. The water has served these communities many purposes in many years and residents were hopeless the situation would change anytime soon.



Men taking bath in the same water

Imomotimi Ibolo, 35, relocated from Yenagoa to Oporoma about three years ago due to his missionary work and it’s been a hell of an experience, according to him. The shift from a taste of the fairly good life in the city to a poor one in the rural area had given his mind several struggles in time past whether to quit, “but for the love of what I do, I have encouraged myself to stay.”

“We use the water for virtually everything. During the rainy season, rain is our source of water and we make sure we fill every bucket and keg in the house that will carry us to the next time that rain would fall. Thankfully, when it is rainy season here, rain falls almost every day heavily, so we don’t lack water. We fetch, sieve and keep,” he said.

Gesticulating as he took our correspondent to the shoreline, Ibolo dipped his hands into the slowly flowing mass of the water, used his fingers to separate some particles from the water and soaked his mouth into his hands full of it. “Now that the rain is gone, this is what many of us drink. On the day I first arrived in this community, I was terrified when I saw people (including children) drinking this dirty water and I wished there was something I could do to change the situation. How ironical to say I have joined them in drinking from this same source!” he added.




Women washing plates near the river

The principal of the Southern Ijaw Secondary School, Oporoma, Mr. Austin Sofoni, said if there were good infrastructure in the region, none would have to drink the river water again, thereby reducing the outbreak of waterborne diseases in both the community and neighbouring ones.

"We have councillors and senators and they know what is happening in Oporoma here. They know our problems. They know we don't have roads and water facilities. If there are roads that connect the riverine communities with Yenagoa, development would take place. Traders who transport bottled and sachet water and other goods here sell them at exorbitant prices due to the high cost of water transportation. If there are roads that connect everywhere together, this problem would be solved, I believe."

http://www.punchng.com/feature/communities-where-residents-use-same-river-for-cooking-drinking-bathing-and-defecating/


Tagged: editorial