Stories of Change

Tanti sits in front of her family's shelter.

The weight of water

“I remember hugging my mom and running from our house when the earthquake hit,” says 16-year-old Rahmayanti. Tanti, as her friends call her, lives in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. That day last September changed her life–and the lives of hundreds of thousands of her neighbors.

Tanti says the the hours and days after the earthquake (and resulting tsunamis) went by in a jumble of actions, reactions and emotions. One thing she does remember, though, is that her town’s water system was destroyed. “My aunt had a well in the village down the hill, but it dried up because so many people were using it,” she says.

So, with no water, Tanti began a grueling daily ritual that is all too familiar to many women and girls around the world. Rising before the sun each morning, she would walk about a kilometer to the closest water source. Then she would trudge back to her family’s makeshift shelter with two five-liter jerry cans of water in her hands. That was more than 20 pounds that she had to carry. Once or twice more later in the day, she would repeat the process to make sure that her family had enough water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

Water delivery has been one of the primary ways that CWS has stepped in to help families like Tanti’s in Central Sulawesi. More than six months after the disasters, clean water access remains one of the biggest needs for displaced or even resettled families. CWS delivers waters to dozens of sites each day, including to a spot much nearer to Tanti’s shelter. “I’m really happy,” she says. “Now, I only have to walk 10 meters to get water. Things have gotten easier, and I can wake up a little later and not feel too tired at school in the morning.”

Tanti used to spend a long time getting water each day. Now she fills her time by helping her mom sell fish in a nearby market. And in the afternoons, she has more time to study and relax a bit. Her life is still completely upended, but we’re grateful that we could help her find this small bit of relief. Our team is prepared to continue to supporting Tanti’s community and others in the region who are trying to rebuild their lives. When water is readily available, it lifts a weight off people’s shoulders so that they can focus on other parts of rebuilding.