Hagira slowly stands up as her friend, Atija, helps steady the brightly colored bucket they are trying to balance on Hagira’s head. Hagira then helps Atija situate her own bucket, full of murky water hauled from the nearby pit. The girls turn toward the rising sun, shielding their eyes as they begin the long walk home.
Hagira and Atija are 15 years old and have been making the journey to the pit for about a year. The pit is too dangerous for younger children, several of whom have died after falling in. The walk for water is hardest in the dry season, when the sun is at its most unforgiving and the presence of water in the pit is unpredictable. Hagira and Atija live in the Nampula province of Mozambique, where clean water infrastructure is rare but the need is great.