When people started dying, everyone understood that this disease is different. Social interaction was cut off and relatives were separated. Work stopped and money dried up.
A veil of sadness fell over everyone as important milestones were put on hold. Deaths could not be mourned and celebrations were delayed.
She did not escape lightly.
“I could not visit my mother. I could not visit my sister who got married. I just stayed at home with my hands crossed hoping to keep myself healthy.”
She is a young mother of four, a farmer’s wife who trades goods and walks long distances to bring water to her home. But she still finds time to volunteer in the community.
Her endless energy and creativity is amplified by a strong feeling of responsibility towards her children and fellow man.
“I am working for the health of my children. The next generation will be healthy and free from bacteria and diseases.”
When COVID came, she got herself trained and learnt to train others about hygiene and masks. This placed her at the forefront, mobilising her community to fight the spread of the disease.
COVID shone a light on the lack of water. The construction of new water sources and the repair of existing facilities greatly improved matters. She joined the committee tasked with managing access and protecting water quality. And she even fixed pipes herself when needed.
Getting clean water to her community took precedence over her other responsibilities. She understood that her sacrifice would lead to a better future for everyone. Individuals can only be healthy if the community is healthy.
Her children can only be healthy if the community is healthy.
lives in Edola Burka Kebele in Ethiopia. Before COVID took over her life, she did her part on the family farm, looked after four children, had a trading store at home and volunteered in the community. Now, she works tirelessly on the water committee to make sure her children and the next generation will be free from disease.
metres of pipes
Lomi and the other committee members regularly fix broken water lines, couplings and pipes to maintain the flow of clean water to the community. In total, they have repaired approximately 15 metres of pipes since water facilities were installed.
kilometres per week
Before her community had a functioning water source, Lomi and other women had to walk long distances, carrying fresh water on their backs. They walked 10 kilometres back and forth, 14 times each week. A total of 70 kilometres per week.
The water committee in her district has eight members who deal with all issues related to water sources. Lomi is the cashier and makes sure that the funds balance at the end of every month. Each month, a water fee is collected of 12,000 Birr to maintain the water sources.