Residents described UNICEF as God sent to free their community from the aged long sufferings.
Residents of Nok village revealed that for over 1000 years, after they came down from the mountain to the lowland, they have consistently climbed a 334 feet mountain, called ‘Jordebo’ where their only source of water is located, until 2016 when UNICEF came to their aid.
Nok village located in Southern Kaduna, is about 210 kilometres from the metropolitan city. History records that the Nok people had lived for decades on the mountain top before their resettlement on the plain.
The Nok people are predominantly Christians, known to be the earliest producers of life-sized Terracotta in Sub Saharan Africa. They were aslo known to make some of the oldest and culturally intriguing sculptures found in Africa.
The Nok civilization earned its name from the tin mining in the area around 500 BC, and was discovered in 1928 according to history. The community which currently houses a National Museum, called Nok Terracotta Museum, has produced numerous businessmen, politicians, captain of industries, prominent academia’s like the foremost Biochemistry Professor, late Andrew Jonathan Nok.
However, in 2016 UNICEF provided the community with a 15,000 litres solar powered borehole to ameliorates their sufferings through, the Sanitation Water and Hygiene in Nigeria (SHAWN II), project.
The SHAWN II project is funded by UKAID through its Department for International Development (DFID), in collaboration with UNICEF and the Kaduna State Government, through the State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA).
Recounting their ordeals, a resident of the area, Christiana Joshua, 47 years old mother of 5, said, she has been climbing the mountain to get water from the pond for the past 30 years, since she got married.
“As a newly married woman, I do not expect my husband who is always off to the farm to fetch water for me, even though the mountain is very high and slippery, especially during raining season. I really experienced hardships getting water from the mountain. Ascending the mountain is not the major issue, but descending it with water on the head, is where you face the most difficulty.
“It becomes more intense when one is pregnant. I carried basin of water on my head climbing mountain throughout all my pregnancies. In fact, I delivered my first child on top of the mountain with no one’s help. I never knew I was going to deliver that day but was already very heavy and I needed water, so I had to climb, and it was that force while ascending the mountain that led to a forced labour, but thank God it was successful.
“Residents of Nok village climb this mountain once it is dry season, since there was no other source of water in the area, except for the few wealthy individuals who later dug Wells in their houses and they will not allow you fetch unless you pay for it.
“So many people wanted to dig their Wells, but there is mountain everywhere that you can not break, so the community almost lost all hope of access to quality water, before UNICEF came in 2016 when we least expected,” dge narrated.
Mrs. Joshua thanked UNICEF for supporting the state government and remembering Nok village when all hope was lost, saying “history will forever remember those who made it possible.”
Similarly, 25-years old Mary Yang, who guided Journalists to the mountain top, also shared her experience as a child growing up in the community.
According to her, it takes 30 minutes to carry a basin of water down the mountain. I usually felt very weak each time I descended the mountain. Sometimes, I have to climb it thrice a day to do houshold chores, clothes, and bath among others.
“But thank God for the coming of WASH which has made life easy for me. Since this borehole was provided, I no longer have cause to ascend the mountain anymore, except I want to have a feel of nature or take some visitors around.”
She explained that, the water source is a pond at the mountain top, yellowish in nature at dry season, but becomes clean and pure during raining season. She added that there were times people slept on the mountain waiting for the water to become clean amidst long queue.
“Sometimes, when the rains are much, the water from the mountain overflows downwards and at that period you may not need to go up, even though the flow may not much, yet residents queued up.
“During the raining season, the path to the top of the mountain is slippery, and we had cases where women fell trying to descend with basin of water on their heads. There are spots where you have to sit down to cross certain obstacles.” Mary added.
Another resident, Victoria Marcus, a mother of five, noted, “one of the things I will forever be grateful to God for, is saving us from dangerous animals who equally goes to the pond in search of water for survival.
“The water was not a good one, but we drank from it all these years because we don’t have any option and we know the health implications of drinking it, but there was no help. Thank God we have gone past that era now. And you can hardly find our children fall sick. God will bless UNICEF.”