so I entered this contest for clean water…
Thank you for helping me make a difference for those in need of clean water!
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I write this post as part of a blog contest – “Why are you a change agent for clean water?” The winner receives $15,000 to give to their favorite water charity. For me, that is Water.org, where I’ve had the immense blessing of working at for more than two years. At Water.org, we can bring clean water to one person for life for only $25. If we can win this contest, $15,000 is enough to bring 600 people clean water for life!!! Also, I would win a trip with Dr. Greg Allgood of P&G on a clean water expedition to Africa.
Each time you vote, P&G will donate a day’s worth of clean drinking water (2L) to a person in need in a developing country. So all in all, a pretty cool. deal.
The scoop: limit one vote per person/email address per day. A voter may only use one email address to vote. It just takes a few seconds! The blogger with the most eligible votes as of 11:59:59 PM ET on 8/27/10…
My story below:
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Just as a farmer gently tucks a seed into the unknowing soil, so this whole thing began in my life.
As part of our five week preparation in the states, we spent an afternoon learning how to build a simple bio-sand water filter. The purpose was that we would be able to help our office in Manila, Philippines teach surrounding communities how to build and maintain them so they could have clean water.
That was three years ago. And I can say without hesitation that my life changed that day, as I learned how to build that filter. The thing was, those filters were only $30, completely sustainable, with little maintenance required, and could give a family, or school, clean water for life. I was surprised, and really excited – I felt like I knew so many people who would gladly give $30 to save someone’s life!
I came back from my semester-long internship and two-month trek to Southeast Asia with only one semester of college left. I began to research water organizations and see if there could be a fit with my talents and passions.
At the time, Water.org was “WaterPartners”, and as I combed their site, the fire within me burned with even more ferocity. I was extremely impressed with and drawn to who they were and how they worked. Raised a Missouri-girl, imagine my complete shock when I saw they were based in Kansas City, MO! Uncanny!
I’ll spare you the long version, full of some twists and unexpected turns [I’d love to share over coffee or drinks sometime :)], but basically I just moved up to KC, got a serving job at a steakhouse, lived with my friend and her parents for free, somehow convinced WaterPartners to let me volunteer, and thought if it didn’t turn into a job eventually, I’d at least get some experience for my resume. I was going to take everything else as it came.
But here I am, a little over two years later, working full-time with the communications team at Water.org :) And this past February, I finally got to go to the field to visit our water and sanitation projects in Bangladesh! It was so amazing to finally meet the beneficiaries as well as those living in a community in need of clean water, to hear all of their stories, play with the kids, and see/capture the realities of their lives first-hand.
I am continually humbled by the facts. I am often overwhelmed by the vastness and complexities of the problem, and then the number of people who have no idea it exists. I am saddened by those who could care less. I am inspired by the team I work with every day, by the communities we help who take the lead in their own projects. I am encouraged by people who contact me every week, wanting to help. I reminded regularly why I do this as I am moved to tears by photos and video of people without water, living in extreme poverty. And I am challenged each day with the greater task at hand.
But above all, I have a bursting hope. The past few years have taught me so much. I have learned that good, sustainable work takes a long time, patience, persistence, and dedication. I have learned the importance of doing something you love and believe in. I have learned that there are people all over the world who do care and are working to make the world better. I have learned that I absolutely don’t know what lies ahead. I have learned the transformation that comes with education. I have learned how much creativity and dreams of new ideas/visions/solutions is important to our sanity and lives. And above all, that when people get clean water and a toilet for the first time, these seemingly basic things are so very beautiful and life-changing in more ways than we even realize, because it is never just water or a toilet…it touches every area of our lives, here, and all around the world.
Trust me, I could go on :) But for now, I thank you for supporting me and sharing with me in this passion, and this opportunity to see a different continent and support the great work of Water.org.
NOW just maybe, in honor of this post, you should give your utility man a high five, your toilet a hug, and your glass of clean water a big-ole, unabashed french kiss ;D