Opinion

River Nile needs to be known understood and protected by all [Part 6]

By: Francis W. Wani

After going through the indigenous names through which the Nile is known in some of the countries, we now come to discuss the importance of the Nile as dictated by these preliminary findings. The question I would like to ask here is what do I learn from this simple presentation about the Nile in the lay men perspectives.

From these presentations, I have learnt six important things about River Nile which could form our basic understanding of the importance of the Nile. These things which makes the Nile important to us and the entire population of the Nile includes the following:

The first thing I learned from this simple survey about River Nile is that the Nile is very important to the local population along which the Nile passes is that it provides food to those people. We have found out that the water of the river provides the local population with agricultural production in terms of small irrigation schemes in upstream countries and larger scale irrigation schemes in the downstream countries. From these agricultural projects people get food.

The second thing I learned from this simple survey is that the Nile provides the local communities through which it passes with means of transport. This means of transport can either be down the Nile or up the Nile or across the river. The purpose of the travel may vary from individuals to individuals but the means is the same.

The third thing I learnt from this simple survey about the importance of the Nile to the communities it passes through is that it provides them with tourism and recreation for economic development and cultural enrichment. We saw in the survey that the communities who live along the river use the waters of the river for swimming and sightseeing. In swimming there is sometimes competition and for sightseeing people go to the river side to watch either the animals which live in water or to see the spectacular flowing of the water over rocks and cataracts. This visit to the special places of the Nile creates sense of happiness to the visitors.

The fourth thing I learned from this simple survey about the importance of the river to the communities it passes through is that it is their economic power base. It was discovered that the population living along the Nile gets Nile products such as fish, papyrus and other eco services products and sell them to upcountry people. From these ecosystem services products, they get money and with the money they buy whatever they want to use for whatsoever.

The fifth thing I learned from this simple survey about the importance of river Nile to the communities it passes through is that it provides them with security and safety. We learnt that the river offer protection to people of Mugoro from attackers. When they are attacked from the west, they cross into the east and when they are attacked from the east they crossed to the west. And when they are attacked from both sides they crossed into the islands.

The sixth thing I learned about the importance of the Nile to the communities through which it passes is that it provides them with power and energy. We learned from the simple survey that the Nile provides opportunities for production of electricity. With energy and electricity, those countries can produce more and more money for their citizens and the citizens of the neighbouring countries.

The seventh thing I learned about the importance of the Nile to some countries through which it passes is that it controls flood for the people especially in the upstream countries. For this matter, the Nile protects communities and their properties from floods. In this way it is a blessing to them.

These are some of the benefits we have just identified from our simple survey. These findings can stimulate our minds and hearts to think deep about other benefits we can get from the Nile when we carry out some wide and deep study and analysis of the Nile. For these reasons we need to conduct some further and deeper understanding of the River Nile so that we discover more benefits of the river to the entire population of the Nile basin.

But these are not the only positive lessons we learned about the Nile. There are some disadvanges as well. As a matter of fact there are three serious disadvantages of the river to almost all the communities which live in the river. These include the following.

The first serious disadvantage of the Nile is the fact that the Nile can make people drown. As we saw in the survey, it was found that some people complained that their relatives had been drowning by the Nile as they try to cross the river. Others are drowning by other circumstances. Today we still hear news of people being drowned by the Nile which we call Supiri and other parts of the Nile.

The second serious disadvantage of the Nile is the fact that it covers dangerous animals which can kill and even eat people. These animals are hippopotamus, snakes, pythons and crocodiles. These animals are really a threat to the lives of people who live along the Nile. Not only people but livestock as well. We have heard news of goats and sheep being caught and swallowed by pythons and crocodiles that live along or in the waters of the river Nile.

The third serious disadvantage of the Nile is that it brings a flood which kills people and destroys properties of the people. Every year the river brings floods. And once flood happen lives are lost and properties are destroyed. In this way some people who lost their relatives to the Nile calls the river a curse to them. I heard of a story that a certain who lost her mother to the river sworn not to drink the water of the river Nile for life

In conclusion we would like to say that the river Nile is rich in many good things and its richness cannot be understood and known within one day or one attempt. It requires continuous assessment and survey into all aspects of the river. We can also say that the river is both a blessing and a curse to some and to others respectively. We can also say that the river is an economic base for all the riparian countries.

I would like to recommend that let there be a vigorous and continuous study of the benefits and disadvantages of the Nile so that we know and understand everything that need to be known and understood about this great water resource of the Nile basin . Let us therefore exert more efforts to know and understand the river Nile which is the sources of our livelihood and security for all the citizens of the riparian countries.

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