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Pole to Pole

Day 85: Lake Awasa

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleOut today to see Oxfam's water resources programme at work. Like many people I have contributed to Oxfam for many years and it's rare to have a first-hand chance to see how the money is spent. We head for Boditi, a small town, two hours' drive away along dirt roads.

Oxfam's programme is designed to require the minimum amount of cost and technological expertise. There is little point in pouring money into sophisticated technology unless the local people can use it and repair it when it goes wrong. The village well that Kiros and Nick take me to see uses a simple pump with only two replaceable parts, which can be installed with nothing more than a spanner. It has been dug to a depth of ninety feet to tap an almost infinite source. A possibly tainted water supply from a river two hours' walk away has been replaced by a safe, regular supply of pure water in the centre of the village, at a cost of around £2000 provided, in this case, from Comic Relief funds. It's too early to tell how significant a difference it will make to the lives of these 600 villagers but aside from the obvious health advantages Nick thinks that one of the chief benefits will be to the lives of the women of the village whose job it traditionally is to walk to the river to collect and carry back the water. Suddenly they have three or four hours a day given back to them.

There is some bad news waiting for us at the hotel. Monty Ruben, a friend who had looked after us in Kenya when I was filming The Missionary there nine years ago, has been taken to hospital after a heart attack. He was to meet us at the border and guide us to Nairobi, hut now we must make alternative plans, and quickly too, for we should cross the border in two days' time.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 85
  • Country/sea: Ethiopia
  • Place: Awasa
  • Book page no: 188

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