Agnes Wilson at her home in Chinduzi, a rural area in Machinga District.
In 1999, Agnes was attacked by a crocodile in the Shire River, where she used to fetch water from. Her hand was almost removed and since then her life has never been the same since she's now disabled. Nowadays Agnes has a tap at her place, provided by NGO Water Aid, but it is not working since october 2007, so she fetches water from a borehole digged by some villagers. "I am afraid. I never went back to the river to fetch water, nor to do anything else", she says.
Very close to the Shire River, the longest one in Malawi with 402 Km, women in the area use this source of water to fetch it and use for domestic purposes. Even though NGO Water Aid has a project of Gravity-Fed Pipped Water to provide the area with safe water from Chikara Hills, 34 taps are not enough for the 16.000 to 20.000 people living in the area. Specially because the supply depends on pressure of the water, on the rains blocking the pipes and on other factors. The result is that many taps are not working or work with intermitent flow and women have, anyway, to go to the river. The Shire is as well the most important source of incomes for people in the area (fishermen, traders, farmers), but is also a home to killer crocodiles. Ten people were attacked by crocodiles in 2006 in Chinduzi area, according to Mr. Alayanga, member of the Main Committee of The Gravity Fed Pipped Water Supply Skim and a villager in the area. They are mostly women and girls who, obliged by tradition, go to the river every day to fetch water, wash the clothes or have a bath.