Lex's Story – The Application of Appropriate Water Technology in the Highlands of Rural Kenya

T. Hiley, M. Hiley (Australia), and L. Rutherford (Kenya)


water, hand-dug wells, farmers, food security, technology


A young woman steadies herself as the 10-litre container is placed carefully on top of the 20-litre container already held in place by a rope across her forehead. Hunching forward, she slowly makes her way, barefoot, up the steep dirt track. If she loses her footing, she will be unable to get her precariously balanced cargo back on so she tries not to stumble … one step at a time. She makes this trip 6 times each day, every day of her life. One kilometer each way ~ twelve each day. With the inevitable wait for her turn at the small opening where there is access to the polluted stream, she spends six hours every single day getting just enough water for her family to survive. This paper is about the impact of her story on an elderly Canadian man who walked beside her up that hill one day and what has happened since that day. It is a story of water and appropriate technology. Since that chance meeting in the highlands of Kenya just over two years ago, over four thousand shallow water wells have been hand-dug in the area and women spend the ‘found’ time and water growing food for their families.

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