With this new water supply, Rasmiya’s time is more manageable and can be devoted to other activities. Hunting for water is now no longer a daily challenge.
Rasmiya, a mother of six, lives in the Palestinian village of Abassan in south Gaza. “We are a very small community and the the neighborhood is quiet. Everyone here is very friendly,” she says. Looking out proudly towards her greenish garden, she closes her eyes for few minutes and sighs. “Although this is a great community, Gaza's lack of water for many years had made life impossible. Small daily chores had become a burden such as washing dishes, bathing and cleaning the house.”
Rasmiya’s journey to fetch water from long distances had become unbearable in recent years. For her, the worst activity was doing laundry. To wash her family’s clothes, Rasmiya’s oldest son had to ride to the nearest water filling point on a donkey pulling a cart in order to fill up jugs.
We used to call water suppliers every day, but none of them ever returned our calls. The demand for clean water is very high in Gaza and our village is basically disconnected from all water sources,” Rasmiya says.
Living close to a working water well is a lifeline in Gaza. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Rasmiya since the well in her village was outdated and in poor condition, making it difficult to pump water. Rasmiya pointed out that given the Gaza power crisis and its intermittent schedule, residents who live close to a well run their generators overnight to pump out the water. “In the morning, there was no water left and all the power was off,” exclaims Rasmiya.
Her family’s situation was made worse by Gaza’s bleak economy as her husband drives a taxi and has to provide for their two college age children. To eke out a living and contribute to expenses, Rasmiya helps families in surrounding communities during wheat harvesting season. “Part of what I earn was spent on water, so I could keep my place clean and my family healthy. Fetching water took up so much time that I decided to spend my money to have it delivered.”
The New Abassan Water Well
In 2018 Rasmiya’s water situation improved when Anera carried out a major rehabilitation project to improve the performance and capacity of her village’s well. Now the well produces a higher and cleaner volume of water. Before rehabilitation, the water well used to produce 4,000 liters of water per hour. Now the well generates 7,000 liters per hour and serves over 10,000 residents.
With this new water supply, Rasmiya’s time is more manageable and can be devoted to other activities. Hunting for water is now no longer a daily challenge. “My son loves to water the roses in our garden every morning and enjoys watching them grow. Water is a source of life,” Rasmiya says, standing under the shade of her favorite tree.
“I like to show off how fresh and clean my laundry smells to my neighbors,” she grins as she hangs clean clothing on ropes tied to trees in her yard.
Since May 2017, under Islamic Relief-USA, Anera has renovated and fixed 2 water wells, built 7 reliable connection water networks, 2 storm water networks, in addition to providing 125 public health sessions and 2,762 hygiene kits throughout Gaza.