Stories from Ethiopia: Gobena Benti

 Gobena Benti, Chaltu's 12-year-old son. Image by WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw

Gobena Benti, Chaltu's 12-year-old son. Image by WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw

Gobena Benti is Chaltu’s 12-year-old son.  He is currently in the fifth grade and eventually wants to become a doctor in order to help people affected by preventable illnesses and disease.

“I was sick twice and the doctors helped me to get well and I felt like it would be great if I could also help sick people to feel better.” 
 The road that Gobena walks on to collect water from the river. Image by WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw

The road that Gobena walks on to collect water from the river. Image by WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw

Gobena spends about two hours, there and back, collecting water for his family. The road is muddy and can be dangerous at times. The family spends much of their money on donkeys for transporting water as well as on increasing medical bills, mostly due to the poor quality of the water. In order to pay for school supplies and clothes, Gobena sells eggs from his three chickens. Chaltu says,

“We spend so much money on medication and other costs so we demand our children to make their own money rearing chickens and selling eggs to buy their own pens and exercise books.”
 Gobena collects muddy river water for his family. Image by WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw

Gobena collects muddy river water for his family. Image by WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw

The lack of water facilities doesn't just affect his family. Even Gobena’s school does not have access to water or proper sanitation facilities. The single toilet the students share with the teachers does not have doors, and the floor is made of intertwined logs that could easily collapse and injure one of the children.  

Project Waterfall is working with WaterAid and other trusted partners in this village to help bring improved standards of living to Chaltu and Gobena, and the other 1351 people in the area. When the water comes to the centre of his village, Gobena says that he will use the hour usually spent collecting polluted water to study and do his homework, which will prepare him for his dream of becoming a medical doctor.

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