When water in our rivers, lakes and oceans are polluted, it posses danger to wildlife, make our drinking water unsafe and threaten our lives, therefore clean water is essential. In developing nations, searching for clean water is a daily crisis. Millions of people, especially children die yearly from largerly preventable diseases caused by lack of access to clean water. I met Naliaka in 2019 in Egypt, more than anything I was fascinated by the type of job she does and how passionate she is about making sure rural and urban communities both have access to clean water. In our first episode of #33GlassesOfWineWithTshepy we feature Naliaka Kituyi and here is her story…
Tshepy: What’s your story, who is Naliaka?
Naliaka: I am a young woman who grew up in Western Kenya with my siblings. I am the first born in my family. One thing most people tell me is that I am very sociable, I guess that’s how Tshepy and I became friends.
Tshepy: How did you get into rural water development?
Naliaka: My early childhood years were spent in a small village called Sirisia in Western Kenya. At the time, my mother was a teacher at a local High School in the village and we lived at the Teachers’ Quarters. Oddly, one of the fondest memories my sisters and I share is of the trips we would make to the local spring to fetch water in jerry cans. On lucky days, we would fetch water from tap stands that were located in the Principal’s compound. Despite the fact that we had several good memories from this experience, we did not enjoy fetching water every day and we always looked forward to the few days that water would be available from the lone tap stand within the proximity of the house we lived in. This whole experience fanned a fire in me that gave me the urge to want to be a part of shortening the distance within which members of rural communities, (not just where I grew up) can be able to access water from within a considerable distance. That’s how I got myself studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Water and Environmental Engineering and practicing in both rural and urban water and sanitation development projects.
Tshepy: What excites you most about your industry?
Naliaka: The most exciting thing about my work is that the impact from our work is almost immediate. Seeing a community that relied heavily on rain water that collected in puddles or small ponds for their domestic use now gain access to water from tap stands is exciting. Introducing water conservation practices like rainwater harvesting at household levels is something else that brings me so much joy. Needless to say, it actually gives so much satisfaction..
Tshepy: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Naliaka: My mother once told me that I could spend a lifetime worrying about what other people will say about my life choices or decisions that I make and end up not doing anything. Instead of worrying, go ahead and do whatever you set your mind to do and let other people talk if they want to. This has actually played a big role in some of the decisions that I make for myself both socially and professionally.
Tshepy: Who/what inspires you?
Naliaka: My parents are my greatest source of inspiration. Knowing and experiencing some of the challenges and successes they have been through and seeing how strong they emerged is something I admire. I pray God keeps them for us.
Tshepy: What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Naliaka: I recently learnt that a common fly that I always referred to as “Nairobi Fly” is actually called a “Narrow Bee Fly”. My entire teenage was a lie, hey!
Tshepy: If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Naliaka: I would take my fitness and physical health more seriously. I’m just getting back to my fitness routine
and it isn’t as easy as it was a few years back.
Tshepy: How do you unwind?
Naliaka: I unwind by either sleeping, reading books, cooking, travelling or spending time with my partner.
Tshepy: Shameless plug for your business (brag about your achievements)
Naliaka: Ladies and Gentlemen, I am your plug for any consultation on either urban or rural water supply, waste water management or environmental impact assessment. My experience has largely been in East Africa region but hey, it’s 2020 and we’re ready for a continental takeover. Don’t shy away from reaching out. I got you!
Tshepy: Take us through an average day in your working day.
Naliaka: I wake at 6am every day. Have my daily devotion until 6.30am. Shower and get ready for the day. Get to the office at about 7.00am. Plan my work day, go through mails and get ready for any scheduled activities. I often work between the office and project sites through ought the day until 5pm.
At 5pm, I go for my daily jog. Then interact socially with friends afterwards before heading home. I study (Graduate School got me) from 7.30pm till 10Pm. Then sleep by 11 pm every day.
Tshepy: How can people connect with you?
Naliaka: You could connect with me on my social media platforms.
Facebook: Medrin Kituyi
Tshepy: Is there anything else you want to add that we didn’t cover?
Naliaka: The fun things I enjoy are travelling and watching Water Development Documentaries.