WeSonder for Clean Water

Dec 7, 2021 | Global Projects, Malawi, Sonder Update, Water Wells

On a late morning in October, Matilda Mwale picks up a bucket and takes the two minute walk over to the watering pump to fetch water for her household.  A few other women are there, and Matilda greets them and asks about their family as they make small talk while continuing to pump.  The conversation is light, the mood is peaceful, but it wasn’t always like this.  

Just a few months ago, the idea of taking a late morning stroll to collect water because the household supply was running low, was nothing more than a dream.  Gathering with other women in the community, being able to make small talk, was not nearly as light in nature, when women were competing for a limited supply of water.  In fact, sometimes women would get in heated arguments, or disagreements, due to the nature of the situation.  It’s hard to remain calm and peaceful when you are literally struggling to survive. 

Matilda shows us the previous watering hole where she, and other women from the community, used to collect water.

The previous water source was little more than a puddle.  You wouldn’t collect water directly from the puddle itself, but you would dig a hole nearby, and wait for the water to fill-up at the bottom—like digging a hole at the beach.  This allows the soil to provide some level of filtration, but the process is incredibly slow, the water is still not clean, and there’s never enough.  In fact, Matilda would have to wake up as early as 2 A.M. to beat the competition and avoid having to wait hours for the water in the hole to recharge.  Matilda tells us her family of seven, with five children, requires seven buckets of water per day, but she’d be lucky to get three when she had to rely on the puddle.  Of course, she doesn’t have these worries anymore.  

Matilda, and her community of Mpeni received a new Sonder well in August of 2021, and her life, and the lives of the other women in her community, have changed dramatically.  There was never a deep-well closed-water system in Mpeni before, and the impact is significant. Water is available—any time, any day.  Water is clean, and the waterborne disease that was customary to life in the village has lessened.  Matilda is now able to schedule the day around the needs of her family, rather than the competition for water.  And the hard feelings between community members struggling to collect water has dissolved.  There is a newfound sense of what’s possible in Mpeni and the Sonder water pump has become the starting point where everyone comes together.  

Matilda walks over to the Sonder well to collect water and converse with a few of the other women in the community.

This is how WeSonder for clean water, and we invite you to WeSonder with us.

“Sonder” is defined as the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as our own.  The Sonder “Project” is defined as the action we take to balance the inequalities in the world, particularly among those living in poverty who are too often passed by. Whenever we take such an action, we like to say, “WeSonder.” In the month of December, we are sharing stories of how WeSonder as we ask for your support during this time of giving.  All donations will be matched one-to-one up to $11,000.  Help us get there.

Matilda Mwale from the community of Mpeni in Malawi.

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