The story of Labala is one of those success stories; situated in Botswana close to the border fence with Namibia, it is home to around 35 villagers.
A remote and inaccessible area, a hard 5 hour, mostly off-road drive from the nearest main road. Inhospitable bush surrounds them and theft and victimisation from nearby tribes add to their list of woes. Before we found out about this group of San, they had a 14km round trip on foot to the nearest fresh water supply.
During the rainy season, they could use the natural water pans (shallow lenticular depressions that fill with water, during the rains) but they risked contamination and disease as these are shared with animals. In addition, during the dry season, the pans become dust bowls. Child mortality was around 30-40%, diarrhoea and associated dehydration being a big killer.
The limestone covering the water beneath the Kalahari was so thick in this area we had to drill 3 times and to a great depth to reach the precious water. But we did it and now the difference to their lives is incalculable.
- The borehole is now right next to the village
- Water provides a social nucleus for the village – women sit and chat doing the laundry while the children play
- They have more time to make their stunning jewellery – which in turn provides an income
- They can take the time to teach their children
- They can grow fresh vegetables (we also provided a garden) which have improved their health. Especially for those with TB or malaria
- They can wash, drink and cook, as well as feed and water their animals
- Life expectancy is up, the water is safe and clean and the incidences of diarrhoea are way down and no more water born diseases
With a little determination, effort and your help we can change lives.
Thank you from us and from everyone at Labala, or as they would say ‘Mi/hui’