November 10, 2015

Today i made my fourth visit to the a small village just outside of Lavumisa, South Swaziland. On my first visit i was shocked by the children and where they were collecting water for their families, but when i returned today i couldn’t believe my eyes. What was a low river when i first visited in July had completely disappeared. Dead cattle lined the river bed and you had to dig about 3ft to get reach any sign of water. A local farmer, Musa Zwane said “The rivers started drying up during the month of February this year as we last had rain in December 2014”
I spent some time at a local school while there and the reality that these incredible kids and their families are the ones affected by this was like a punch to the stomach.
On my last visit the temperature hit 43 degrees, it was tough but i was able to get in the car at the end of the day and leave. I cant imagine having to live in that heat, always worrying about your water supply. Worrying if you’ll get water at all and then worrying if its clean. The trouble now is, if the rain does come and the river fills, it will be contaminated with the carcasses of the dead cattle.
The smell of death and the noise writing carcasses on the river bed will stay with me for a long time.  I know i’m repeating myself, but it still baffles me that this can still be happening in 2015. We try to educate people about sexual health and how to stay healthy for a long future but how can we expect people to care when they cant see past their next cup of clean water.
It’s heartbreaking.

Nov. 10 2015

Aidan O'Neill