Tiila had a choice to make.
Either she could keep her baby, or give her baby away.
She longed to hold her child, to watch her grow and learn to talk and laugh, but Tiila knew that wasn’t possible. Because if she kept her daughter, her little one wouldn’t survive.
The Drought in Somaliland
Three years ago, Tiila’s life looked much different – newly married and hopeful to start a family.
Then the drought began.
It’s not unusual for Somaliland to endure periods of drought as the dry season eventually transitions into one of intense rain.
But the rains never came. It’s been three years, almost as long as Tiila’s been married, that Somaliland has been suffering from severe drought.
One day, Tiila stepped outside and saw her husband gathering what remained of their livestock. I’m leaving in search of water, he told her. Alone with her baby, Tiila felt the dryness and heat of the desert more intensely than ever before. Now, one month later, he still hasn’t returned.
Tiila’s Heart-Breaking Decision
Without the rains, crops are unable to grow. Tiila was quickly running out of food for her and her growing child, and the only source of water was a nearby shallow pond. Women and animals would often compete for access to the pond, both longing to quench their never-ending thirst.
During her last visit to collect water, as Tiila crouched to scoop the green sludge into her jerrycan, she knew what she had to do.
She trekked back to her hut and, after setting down her jerrycan, picked up her daughter and began to walk.
Tiila walked for miles without resting. Clutching her baby tight against her chest, she tried to take in these last few moments with her child.
Finally, she saw an outline of huts on the horizon. It was her parent’s village, a place where she knew her daughter would be fed and well-cared for.
“She would have died if she continued to stay with me.”
Sometimes Tiila finds rice or porridge to eat, and when she can’t find any food she drinks black tea to try and satisfy her hunger. It’s not safe for Tiila to continue drinking the water, but with no other options, she has no choice.
A Different Mom, A Different Story
In another village lives a mom named Elizabeth.
She’s just like Tiila, except there’s one difference.
Elizabeth’s village has a well and access to clean water, which means she no longer fears for her four children. She can easily walk to the well and collect clean, safe water to bring home.
With a well in their village, Elizabeth’s children no longer get sick and are healthy enough to attend school. Elizabeth is able to help provide for her family without traveling long distances to fetch water.
Why Clean Water Changes Everything
Access to clean water changes everything. Without it, moms and children suffer from waterborne diseases and a lack of proper nutrients, but with it comes opportunities for lasting change. Clean water is a critical first step in the transformation of a village.
Tiila is in desperate need of clean water. With a water filter or a well, her life will begin to change. Soon enough she’ll be able to give her daughter clean water that won’t make her sick. For a mom like Tiila, access to clean water is life-changing.
With a water filter or a well, her life will begin to change. Soon enough she’ll be able to give her daughter clean water that won’t make her sick. For a mom like Tiila, access to clean water is life-changing.