Enduring Life and Tribulations with Making Ground

Enduring Life and Tribulations with Making Ground

Olivia Arthur traveled out to East Africa, first in 2008 when she visited Amuria, Uganda, a war-torn region. In 2009 she traveled to two rural communities, close to Dodoma the capital. Arthur documented the dry central region(s) of Tanzania in Chigongwe and Michese. Both lacked water and proper sanitation facilities. At the time, they needed to take their first steps out of poverty.


Esther Ariao washes beans for a meal. Her baby, Martha, was born in late 2008. “It was a good birth. After resting for an hour I bathed Martha, my husband fetched the water and I had to get strength to bathe her. There is a bathroom in the hospital so I was able to wash myself. Because of the breastfeeding I do eat more – I eat a lot! I like eating greens with atapa (local bread) – lots of greens!”


Mwajuma Yona with daughter, Miriam, and friend Jennifer Jackson at home.


Many people have mobile phones in Amuria, but as there is no electricity these mobile phone charging booths are the only places to charge up and buy credit. Emmanuel Opolot, seven, mans his booth.


Stella Numa, 30 at the time, a seamstress ran one of the many businesses that popped up along the main high streets in Amuria. “I have had this business for two and a half years. I’m from Katakwi, I moved here because I have a lot of different relatives including my father here. I have many reasons to like it here, firstly because in my area we have a lot of problems with the Karamajong. Because of the LRA many people went to Katakwi, but once they were chased away people went back here to Amuria, so there are many people here. Business is busy at special times like Christmas, Easter or New Year as everyone wants new clothes.”


“This district has problems finding and keeping teachers. Some come and see that there is no water and electricity, they come for one day and leave. Some children don’t come to school because they have to go and fetch water. There are less children here during the dry season for this reason. Three-quarters come late to school and sometimes they can’t come at all because they have to fetch water. This can take five to six hours sometimes.


Benjamin Enngu and Kosei Ogarli play at being sci-fi characters.


The tap is turned on for the first time in Chingongwe as part of the water project funded by WaterAid and Simavi. Gracie Masuguzi collects the very first bucket.




All visuals © Olivia Arthur

Location: Tanzania
Year: 2009
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