26 January 2013

Tanzania: Water, a Precious Commodity in Minjingu Village


Water problem has become a serious one in most of Tanzania villages, towns and cities. Every morning you might see people rushing with five or more buckets to places where water is available. In rural areas especially Arusha, Manyara and Dodoma you might see a queue of donkeys loaded with either empty jerkins or full of water. This situation depicts water problem in the region.

Minjingu village being over 30 years old, water problem is still an acute one. Minjingu village is found in Manyara region in Babati district. It is located along Dodoma highway and 100 kilometres away from Arusha City. One can be able to say that those who are born there, have never seen a water pipe. The place houses Tarangire River which could be a good source of water. The river runs from the eastern part of the village to the west. It passes to the south part . Even though the river is seasonal, to reach water table in it during dry season is almost one metre depth.

Actually in the southern part the water table at is very close. You can hardly go up to five metres depth. This is a kind of water that people use during dry season. They dig wells for about 5-7metres to reach water table. The well will be used for domestic use. Most of them are pastoralists and own a herd of about 1500 cows. It is difficult to satisfy all livestock with this kind of wells. This lead to the death of some of them like what happened in 2 years ago in Minjingu and neighboring villages of Vilima Vitatu and Mswakini.

During rainy season people use local dams to get water. Marangori and Kakoi dams seem to cater people water services. They use for both livestock and domestic use. The herds enter into the dam and make it muddy .At the same time people fetch the same water for drinking and other home uses.

This situation is dangerous for the surrounding communities' hygiene. Most of the people who are living there are maasai, mbugwe and iraqw. Both maasai and iraqw are livestock keepers, while Mbugwe are partly farmers and shepherds. It is estimated that the village has 23,400 cows,30,000 goats,11,000 sheep and 5600 donkeys. This is according to the village chairman Israel Ole Saitoti.

In 2009 a number of livestock died of water shortage and hunger. Some families starved due to depending on cattle as their means of capital and food. Children left schools for they could not afford to pay school fees and others. Lalahe Ngimasirwa is an example of a boy who left school in form two a year ago because his parents were no longer able to pay him school fees.

There are many tourist companies and hotels which are operating in the village. Some of them are Kibo lodge, Roika Tented Camp, Osupuko ,Maramboi lodge,Paradise hotel and many others. They are said to contribute an average of 800 USD per annum. The amount could have been used to alleviate the water problem. Instead, many leaders in the village are claimed to embezzle funds . Some of them are thrown out of the system, others are put under probation.

The leaderships system at the village is a bit complicated. All the leaders from the councilor to the low position have never been to secondary school. This might have contributed to the delay of development. We are encouraging the top local government to have a look at all problems that are affecting the village. Minjingu village might be a sample of many villages in Tanzania.

By Gipson R.Ole Kinisa, Manyara.

0756880238, raphaelgipson@yahoo.com

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