“They say we must wash our hands, keep clean, and wash our clothes to prevent us catching the disease. We’d really like to, but if there’s no water it’s really complicated,” said the 37-year-old mother-of-three at her home in the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou, where houses are not connected to the power or water grid.
Nowadays she scolds her children when they wash with too much water. It has become a precious resource since Burkina Faso’s coronavirus curfew stopped those in poor areas from accessing communal fountains that only flow at night in the dry season.
As a result, many families ration water and jostle in line to fill empty jerry-cans from privately-owned water towers during the day even as the Burkinabe authorities urge them to take extra precautions and avoid crowds to curb the fastest rate of coronavirus infection in West Africa.
The epidemic has so far infected over 440 people in Burkina Faso, including six government ministers, and killed 24. The country, one of the region’s poorest, was already grappling with a deadly insurgency before the coronavirus struck, with 840,000 people displaced in the last 16 months by conflict and drought.