Scattered along the small alleys in Baghdadi Lane, Lyari, are houses of residents with no access to clean drinking water as Lyari toils with the water crisis. Their only solution, for the past couple of decades, has been to go to neighboring areas to get water for their houses. Rubab, along with the rest of the women in these alleys gather buckets and empty plastic bottles on a daily basis in hopes of getting water so they can use it for cooking & drinking.
Rubab, a 25-year-old, married mother of 5 helped show me around the area and converse with the women experiencing this issue. She also let me follow her around and experience what all she had to go through to get water for her and her family.
Living in a town with the majority of the population politically supporting Pakistan’s People’s Party, the residents are understandably upset that no one seems to take their plea to grant them access to clean drinking water seriously. Last year, the women tried to shed light on the water crisis by leading a rally and walking from Baghdadi Lane all the way to Lea Market, protesting the daily ordeal they have to face for a basic human necessity, which was to no avail. They had no media coverage, and despite taking these problems to PPP representative Hafiza Noor, who resides just 5 minutes from the area troubled with the scarcity of clean drinking water, they have yet to see any solution to their dilemma.
Rubab and her neighbor, Nafisa, walking down the alleyway in Baghdadi Lane, Lyari. From every house crossed, everyone had the same complaint, “There’s no drinking water.”
The most common sight in front of every house is filled or empty water bottles, either to take to Chakiwara, a neighboring area 15 minutes away or waiting to be lugged inside the house for the week’s use.
Two women walking out of their house holding buckets at 1:00 pm. It’s usually then that everyone slowly starts walking out of their house in hopes of getting to where the water pump is, as it’s usually filled on a first-come, first serve basis.
“The only person who ever listened to our problems and tried to fix our water issue was Rehman Dakait,” remarked Nafisa, “thanks to him, we had clean drinking water running in our houses for hours every day. After his death, we were back to our old unfortunate lives.”
Rubab’s children, Duaa, Bilal and Rabia, play inside their house as their mother gets ready to go collect water.
Rubab and several others gather around Bibi’s house, where there is access to drinking water. Bibi fills buckets with water to help facilitate anyone she can before the water stops running.
Few blocks away from Baghdadi Lane is where you can see numerous people standing outside houses with buckets, hoping to have theirs filled next.
Maryam, age 6, standing outside guarding the buckets she and her sisters have to take back home.
After the water is brought back home, it is transferred from buckets to bottles, or sealed and kept away to be used for consumption until they run out, when they have to start this routine all over again.