The Search for Water in Kenya


I travelled to Kenya in November to take photographs for Trócaire's Christmas 2010 Global Gifts campaign. We visited the Enziu River in Maatini village, Kitui, which is about 100km east of the capital, Nairobi. As it was the dry season, people (mostly women) came here from miles around to fill jerrycans with water for their homes, and some to sell also. To get the water, they had to collect from a hole dug in the sandy river bed. I was amazed that, in these times of advanced technology, such primitive techniques are still being used by so many people to get what is most essential for our survival- water.

Water is one of the 9 life-saving Global Gifts, which you can get on Trócaire's website-



People gather to collect water at the dried-up Enziu River in Maatini village, Kitui, about 100km east of Kenya's capital, Nairobi.


Women collect water from a hole dug in the dry river bed. This is used as drinking water, as well as for other household and agricultural uses.


Raeli Kabubu carries 20 jerrycans per day, to her home, 2.5 km away, one at a time on her back. She sells 10 jerrycans and uses the rest for her homestead.


Nancy Nzilani Mbuvi is a mother of four. She walks 20km every day to get water.


Women help to load six 20-litre containers on Kamene Kalega's donkeys.


Kamene Kalega takes 4-5 one-hour trips with her donkeys, which can carry 6 cans per trip. She uses the water for her homestead and sells some also.



Curious local women look on.


A Kenyan woman begins another long walk carrying water to her home. During the dry season, a hole dug in the dried Enziu River bed is the only source of water for miles around.


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