If the United Nations deems that access to “Clean Water and Sanitation” is a human right, who in Zimba is considered human enough to have that right? OK, I am paraphrasing the late and very great Dr. Paul Farmer speaking about access to medical care, but the notion is equally valid, if not more so regarding water. How can one see young children and young mothers with infants walking kilometers with filthy buckets to gather water from mud puddles, yet be so close to Lake Kariba, the world’s largest manmade reservoir?! How can one travel for so many days and not see a trace of electrification, yet be so close to the Kariba Dam, one of the largest hydroelectric dams in the world?! The World Bank, who financed the Kariba Dam, has the mandate of providing “long-term economic development and poverty reduction by providing… such as building schools, providing water and electricity…”.
We drove today from our camp in Simalundu to Chililankumba where we explored for a water well siting, and then back to Chuundwe and the empty and still shuttered clinic where this campaign began 15 days ago. About 40 kilometers and three hours of driving.
I have very mixed feelings about camping at the Chuundwe clinic again. A tough bout of Covid and three strenuous but unsuccessful days of water exploration are not fond memories. On the other hand, the lack of a water source means there are no farmers and roosters to wake us at 4:00 AM, and the shuttered clinic is still available for camping.
Tomorrow is our last exploration day, so we have relented to giving the health clinic one more exploration effort. We have no grand geological strategy other than to explore in broader areas where we have not yet searched.
A villager recognized our escapee goat by the green rope that was still attached. He sold it back to us for 50 Zambian Kwacha ($3 USD), one tenth of what we had originally paid. So much for all the Western Star headlines we had dreamed up for our Leslieville/Condor colleague Will Hoppe. “Rocky Mountain House Rancher Repents of Past and Frees Zambian Goat.” Southern Albertan Calf Roper Untethered by Zambian Livestock.”
Speaking of the news, it will be 17 completely electronically disconnected/unwired days tomorrow, an unusual oasis in this age.