“People are living better. They are very grateful for the trench. They are living in their houses and getting more food.”
On the face of it, Kikarara is prospering: new houses are being built, a second primary school
has opened, newly harvested maize is drying in the sun. Chris Kagayano, Area Councillor for
Kikarara Parish (comprising nine villages) relies on farming his land close to the trench to make
a living, like all the other villagers.
He says, “Villagers now have ‘security food’ and food to sell” – an important development for
what is traditionally a subsistence community – “now they can pay school fees.” More children are
going to school now because they eat well.” Previously there was no income to buy uniform,
books or pencils. There are now:
• 364 children enrolled at Kikarara primary school and 120 at the new Catholic School
(only 250 children attended primary school before the trench).
• 51 children enrolled at secondary school (none attended before the trench).
• People can even think about Further Education, an option they couldn’t consider before.
In areas close to the trench, villagers can now rest home at night, secure in the knowledge their
crops and property are safe from possible destruction by elephants. The incidence of malaria
and Tsetse fly bites has decreased dramatically as a result. “Even in family life, people are happy.
We make a resolution to sit together now we have more time.” Families are enjoying better health,
are sleeping better and have more time to spend with their loved ones. Chris is 39 years old and has
four children, the last one who was born thanks to the trench. “Before the trench, our wives were
alone so they weren’t happy. Now we don’t have to sleep in the fields, there’s time to produce more
children,” he smiles.