Letlole Mosielele Junior Secondary School in Thamaga started off the year on the wrong foot this week as distraught teachers decided to suspend lessons until their demands for water at the school are met.
By 10am on Wednesday, students were sent home and school management had decided to release teachers on a half-day break following a resolution by the teaching and non-teaching staff that was reached on the opening day.
Without a drop coming out of the taps on Wednesday morning, some of the teachers had reported for duty wearing pyjamas and untidy clothes in open protest to the desperate conditions caused by the poor water supply that is said to have worsened in the past twelve months.
The poor water supply at the school is said to have started in the last four-years as water only trickled from the taps before it eventually dried up last year. Although management referred all enquiries to the Kweneng Regional Education Office, the authorities were reluctant to discuss the matter.
Concerned teachers at the school who did not want to be named for fear of victimization, complained of the inconvenience caused by the acute water shortage which they said affected their jobs adversely.
“When I came here on transfer from Maun last term there was not a drop coming out of the taps and I drive to Ramaphatle village every day or queue at the Water Utilities Corporation plant to fetch water,” one teacher said.
Another teacher who is also a Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) Shop Steward said the situation had since worsened to the extent that they have had to limit some domestic activities.
“We may not be paying any water bills but we are paying huge taxi fares to carry water for us. We bath with very little water and after that we keep it for flushing the toilets.
The situation has become so desperate such that we even prevent kids from playing outside the house so that they don’t get dirty lest they waste the little water in cleaning up,” she said.
For her part the Public Relations Officer at Water Utilities Corporation said the corporation only took over the rural operations less than a year ago and that she was not familiar with the Thamaga situation.
“I will look into the matter and get back to you as soon as I get information on any progress on the water supply,” she promised.