During the last two years, Yme has visited Cabinda three times. Yme’s engagement started in November 1996 when Sture Troli travelled to the region. The goal was to establish contacts with Angolan authorities. In June 1997 S. Troli and Joseph Allen finished a feasibility study. The focus was to find possibilities for water and sanitation improvements in different villages. This study became the basis for an assessment done by Ingemar Sävfors in November 1997. The report gave enough information to begin the evaluation of the different villages which were possible sites in the integrated water and sanitation project. A total of 12 villages have been considered and evaluated. Due to the fact that all villages are worthy candidates, narrowing down the choices to those who had an immediate need for water and sanitation rehabilitation is extremely difficult.
The plan for 1998 is to begin work in four (4) of the villages. In this connection, we have included excerpts of Ingemar Sävfors’ report to give an insight into the situation in eight (8) of the villages that he visited, one of them being Caio Caliado.
The general situation
In all villages there is an on-going production of maniok, bananas, sweet potatoes, beans, pineapples, citrus fruits, avocado, safo and plam oil. They also support themselves through fishing and hunting. The infrastructure is bad and, there are only dirtroads to be found which are often sandy. There is no electricity. Fetching water is a daily burden for the women. Gradeschools can be found in many places, but further education is not available for the youth and health services are extremely poor. The villages are made-up by old houses which were abandoned for long periods of time due to the civil war.
The desire for change is present
In a social aspect, the villages are temporarily well-organised and the desire to pay for and take part in this water project has been expressed by the villagers.
The expensive transportation represents the difficulty in coming in and out of the city and engaging in commercial trade of the surpluss of agricultural products.
All of the eight (8) villages have a small but stable source of income from their agricultural production. If the transportation services can be made more affordable, the region of Cabinda will be a more important market. Despite this, one can still find the means of paying the expenses of maintaining a water supply system within the local area. The village people have displayed the will to accept new ideas and are prepared to finance the costs themselves rather than be dependent on a state budget to maintain the system.
Seen from the outside, the people are ethnically very homogeneous, although many people have lived on and off in the villages because of the war. During the colonial times some of the villages were rich from the coffee and cacao production. They were used to higher living standards complete with diesel driven water systems. This cultural background and know-how should be used when going through the process of finding new solutions for water supply. With this strategy and approach to the villages and the project, one will be able to find and use the approporiate technology.
The water situation
All the villages which were researched lie on savannah planes. The water is fetched from either deep ravines and rivers, or the lakes and wells in the low-lands a good distance away. The women use one to two hours in fetching water each day, carrying up to 20-25 liter cans up steep hills. They often use the same river to wash clothes and bath. Getting water used for drinking, washing and housebuilding is heavy work.
Other basic infrastructures
The local authorities have began efforts in up-grading the infrastructure already found in the villages. Almost every village have schools and teachers. The children receive education even if the material is incomplete. Sometimes they have to divide the teaching time in two shifts to compensate for the lack of classrooms. The health stations are even worse since they are dependent of supplies to function. It is not rare to find that the health station is just an empty building.
A village profile of Caio Caliado
Caio Caliado is one of the villages in Cabinda that is under consideration by Yme as an actual site for our water and sanitation project. The villages situation is in many ways typical. Caio Caliado is an old village and was a rich village during the colonial period due to its coffee and cacao production. During the period of 1975-1980 the people fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire) because of the civil war.
The water problem
The 750 people living in the village fetch water from hand-dug wells some kilometers away. However, the problem is that the water table is sinking so that these wells are facing the danger of drying out. The women often have to wait for the wells to fill up. The wells are ten meters deep, but due to the loose soil the walls are slowly caving in and digging up the well again could be dangerous. The water quality is very bad, primarily because the wells are neither lined nor covered. It is easy for animals, insects and leaves to fall down into the well. The only possibility to find enough water is to walk many kilometers to Lake Kukulu, but the water is undrinkable.
There is a school with 55 students and a health station with a nurse in Caio Caliado. The equipment in these two institutions indicates a great need for more supplies. A soccer field and two churches can also be found in this village.
One cultivates maniok, bananas, corn, coffee, peanuts, beans, palm oil and fruit for sale. However, the transportation to the city is expensive and the cars travel only once a week.
Yme wants to focus on the people and their immediate needs. From our experience, we know that develoment work is difficult because of many external factors that come in and affect the results’ viability. In this connection, the receiving group plays an important role in the development of the project. The project must be their property and their responsibility. Meeting the people has given us the hope that this