Kamola Rani Mondol, Struggling for water

Kamala Rani Mondol(34), Nallapara, Delduar, Tangail can only sign her name. She has five members in her family with husband (45), a farmer; a daughter (16); a son (13) and her octogenarian mother-in-law. Her children go to school. She owns seven-decimal homestead and eight decimal crop lands. A functional landless, the family sharecrops on 80 decimals of crop land.

She has tin-shed house. She raises two cows, two ducks and 15 fowls. Out of about 100 families in the village, 25 are Hindu who inhabits Dakhinpara (southern part) of Nallapara village. Only one of these Hindu families has a tube well. There is no ditch or pond around. There is a ditch about 1.5 kilometers away from the village. The ditch has water for about six months a year (during the rainy season).

“I have been practicing Nayakrishi (ecological farming) for the last seven years. We grow local varieties of vegetables without any chemicals. We maintain cow, duck and fowls,” says Kamala Rani, an ordained in ecological farming.

“I was married at the age of 20 years. Since my marriage I have been fetching water for household necessities. Every day we need 30 pitchers of water in the morning for different family activities. I have been the only one to do this job for the last 20 years,” honestly explains Kamala Rani.

Of these 30 pitchers (one pitcher contains 25 liters) of water Kamala uses five pitchers for preparation of cattle feed, five for cooking, four for cleaning utensils, three for washing vegetables and the rest for other purposes.

“According to our Hindu rituals, the housewives are not allowed to engage in any activity before she bathes in the morning. So I fetch four pitchers of water the night before for my bath the next morning,” says Kamala.

There is only one tube well in Kamala’s part of the village. This leads Kamala and others to stand in a long queue in front of the tube well. Most of the time Kamala has to wait two hours before she can collect tube well water. As a result, the preparation of breakfast is delayed. Usually her children have breakfast of puffed rice alone.

Kamala prepares cattle feed again at about 11:00 A.M. for which she needs about 7 pitchers of water.

Kamala says, “We have tough time in the dry season. The water table goes down and the tube well can pump out much less water. In this situation the owner of the tube well restricts outsiders’ access to the tube well. Once during dry season the wife of the owner of the tube well broke my earthen pitcher. She became very angry as I was desperate about fetching water.

I alone bring all water needed for household activities. However, my husband helps only for water needed in agricultural activities. Now a day my daughter helps me to fetch water.

I wish if I had money I would buy a tube well on top priority. It is a tough job to carry water every day. Water is the top priority need for every woman.

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