by Lori Duff, Grahipla, Côte d'Ivoire
A male friend once visited me in my village. While he was there the water in my barrel ran out. That day I was out working in a neighboring village, so he pulled water for me and carried it (on his head). When I got home my female neighbors were astonished, and a bit appalled. "A man should not carry water. It is the woman's work," they said.
It is the women who are in charge of getting water, a huge task. Our large metal storage barrels each holds about 20 buckets. A normal family (around 12 people) can use a barrel in a day. That's a lot of water to carry from a well, which might be a quarter of a mile away. The women also wash clothes, bathe the children, and cook the food
by Sarah McElroy, Kamalo, Côte d'Ivoire
In my village, there is supposed to be a water committee consisting of five men and three women who manage the water supplies. However, it does not really exist. In reality, the men oversee the money management of the three broken pumps and make the decisions. The women are responsible for getting water for the household. The women are the ones who wash the dishes, bathe children, cook, and wash the clothes. The women also give the men their water for bathing, which is usually heated. The women do not have a say in decisions about water management.
The farmers plant crops in relation to the rainy season. If there is less rain than usual, they have less food to eat. The cash crop in the village is cotton, which is harvested once a year. If the harvest is less, due to the rain, the people have less money for the year to spend on food, clothing, and other necessary items.
by Amy Bailey, Grand-Bereby, Côte d'Ivoire
Women for the most part draw, carry, and use the vast majority of water in the community. They wash dishes, bathe the young children, fix the meals, and bring the water into their courtyards.
If the water supply is far from a farmer's fields, then he might dig a well nearby. In order for farmers (and their families, who also work) to have enough water to drink, the family might fill calabashes, or gourds, with water (usually unfiltered) for the day's work, if a water source isn't available near the fields.