Premdas

My brother Premdas.

In 2012 I met Christopher Premdas at Light of Love Children’s Home in Tuni, and the encounter was a begrudging one at first until I shook his hand. He introduced himself in typical fashion; “Hello, I’m Christoper Premeds, welcome to NASA.” When I took his hand, I heard the Lord speak to me that I was sent to lift his hands and for the past 13 years I have tried to faithfully do just that.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have flowed through Wells for Life® in support of the many activities of Nazareth Association for Social Awareness and it was through his encouragement and admonition that Schaun Colin and I worked towards starting New Life Children’s Home.

In addition to the children, huge work was done with women empowerment, social justice, Dalit rights, land acquisition and the hundreds upon hundreds of water projects which we implemented as a way of making a difference and displaying to the low caste and untouchables that they matter.

A legacy has been left and a grand entrance into Heaven has taken place a short time ago. My only regret is that these last few years were marked by pain and blindness due to his ever worsening diabetes.

Dr. Premdas was my friend and my brother, he was a hero to me and often left me in tears in his office as he shared about the realities of rural life for his people in India.

He is survived by his wife Joythi, his 2 sons Sujeet Nuthulapaty and Sony Wood Nuthulapaty and his daughter, Neelima Pallae Nutulapathy.

Keep them all in your prayers during this time of loss and may all those in the Tuni area see Jesus and the difference that he made as a result of Jesus in his life.

I love you Premdas.

Your brother, Wiser
Michael Viser

Today’s the day

Sunday morning and made it to Odisha. 5 projects will be dedicated today, a sewing center will be visited and looking at some land for a fish and chicken farm.

Had the opportunity of finally making it to Darjeleeing after first stopping in a place about 45 minute drive from Siliguri where I saw a water project from last December.  It was fun just hanging out and watching the flow of people come use it.  Also saw a sewing center and the store front where we hope phase 2 will happen.  Heard some recent stories of girls being trafficked from the nearby tea plantation.  Wishing there was more we could do.

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About an hour out

Usually I start waking up at 2am 4 or 5 days before each of my trips and I can’t go back to sleep so after a few minutes of tossing and turning I throw back the covers and head down the stairs to get some work done or go watch TV. Pretty frustrating actually when it happens but maybe it’s all part of a larger picture.

Not quite sure but here is how it played out just now.

I left home around 12:30 in the afternoon, grabbed the flight to Chicago then onwards to London around 6pm. The flight time today was just over 7 hours and by the time the meal service was over and I was ready to sleep there was about 4.5 hours of flying time left so I grabbed about 3.5 hours of sleep. Landing is going to happen in about an hour and I discover its 12:30am back home. No idea on what time it is in London but India is 12.5 hours ahead of KS so that makes it 1pm which means I need to stay awake for about 12 more hours by clock standards until I reach Delhi but my airport time and flying time from London to Delhi is probably 14 or 15 hours.

I still can’t do the math in my head on how it all works out and maybe that’s due to lack of sleep but I do know that the short sleep I just had needs to get me through the next 16 hours so that when I finally make the hotel in Delhi I can actually sleep. So my big take away is maybe the 2am wake ups that start 3 or 4 days before my trip are actually essential to getting me on India time. No easy way to go to the other side of the world but at least I can be thankful it happens by air and not by sea.

5 projects wait dedication in N. India and a visit to a neighboring state to see a project which we took up last year but couldn’t visit because the weather was so bad my plane wasn’t able to land. So Cathy Griffin I’m excited to share that I’m making good on my word and headed to see Daniel’s water project and capture some fresh photos for you. (I hear that this northeast part of the country is gorgeous this time of year so I’m looking forward to seeing a new and different part of India.) If time permits, I want to make a run for the border, no not Taco Bell, but either Nepal or China. Need to look at a map to see where Darjeeling is but that is where I’m headed for a day to see the tea plantation areas.

More to come once I’m in India.

2014 Impact

Amazing to think we are only in February and I am about to travel for the 2nd time this year back to India with another trip to take place in 6 weeks.

Needless to say my travel schedule is a little crazy but enough of that and let me share briefly what 2014 was like in regards to our accomplishments.

• 68 new water projects in North and South India

• A Mobile Medical Unit in Southern Gujarat

• A Reverse Osmosis filtration system for New Life Children’s Home

• 7 medical camps in South India which each averaged 400 rural villagers who received an evaluation, diagnosis and medicine or referral for further treatment

• 12 months of support for Lydia’s Hostel which provides care for 20 at risk high school and college age girls in Southern Gujarat

• Sawyer Point 1 water filters for cyclone Hudhud ravaged areas in South India

• Motorcycle for our water project manager, solar lights, and an internet cafe in North India

• Toilet block, water project and small building for a school all within a Gypsy community in South India

• $21,000 for rebuilding at New Life Children’s Home due to Cyclone Hudhud

• Numerous hours on planes and in airports, 5 times last year, not to mention the accumulation of many miles and the continual nuisance of misplaced luggage; but it’s all good!

Bottom line is that we accomplished amazing things last year due to God’s grace and your support.

I’m excited about the opportunities before us in 2015 and looking forward to seeing how we can be used to make a difference in the lives of the rural poor within India.

Your support makes all of this possible and the last number to share is at this moment in time we have funded and brought or in the process of bringing water to 656 new places within India.

Simply Amazing!

MMU dedication

On the journey home and since I have time in Heathrow before my next flight I thought I would post some photos from the Mobile Medical Unit dedication.  I hope you enjoy viewing them; its fun being able to help others realize their dream especially when the dream involves service and stewarding ones own gifts and talents.

For more photos of the Mobile Medical Unit dedication click here to go to our Flickr feed.

Oct 2014 India trip

I’m in the middle of a trip to India and its hard to believe I’m half way done.

Whirlwind of a trip which started with surveying the cyclone damage at New Life Children’s Home to opening a Reverse Osmosis project at New Life which was generously made possible from a consortium of donors.  In addition to this, 8 other projects were drilled and dedicated and I finally received my missing bags from British Airways.  2 of those pieces of luggage were filled with Sawyer Point One water filters which our New Life partner will distribute in affected villages within the Visak Dist.  These filters have a street value of over $10,000 so I was very happy to finally get them back and into the right hands.

I’m wrapping up Day 2 in Trichy where 10 water projects were funded and drilled; quite the impact being made in this area thanks to the 25 plus years of dedicated service by Fr. Dhana and DPWA our partner here.

Tonight I’ll fly to Chennai then a flight to Mumbai and a 3 hour ride north to Gujarat where the following day I’ll cut the ribbon and hopefully turn the key of our new Mobile Medical Unit which will be operated by our ASK partner there thus fulfilling a dream of theirs.  Huge thanks to PharmCo and Hodgdon Family Trust for making this happen.

Home and Caught Up

Back from India and recovered from jet lag.  Most of the photos from all the projects I have dedicated are up on Flickr and organized into Albums based upon donor.  There are a few projects where I am still waiting for pictures as they were under way when I visited so you might not seeing ALL the work but you’ll definitely get a good taste.  Here is the link to the albums – https://www.flickr.com/photos/wellsforlife/sets

If you followed me at all on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you know that I was overjoyed about our work in Orissa and what our partner there was accomplishing.  Here is a link to a PP presentation which outlines what can be accomplished.  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/69995962/Computer%20Center_STEP.ppt

If this is of interest let me know and I can share some more with you and ideally I want to see more of these projects funded through our STEP partner.

The last bit of great news is seen in another PP where our Gujarat partner has revealed the work going on with our Mobile Medical Unit.  Huge props and shout out to Hodgdon Family Trust and PharmaCo Ventures for making the MMU a reality.  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8ih9vkfsbvzdk6e/AACJ8HYCobn9AL_iA38mQmSJa

I head back in late October for another round of project dedications and in the interim I still have more to fund so to get in on being a catalyst for difference making, visit our Give page and make a donation.

Sitting on a train

Making my way towards home today.

Sitting on a super-fast express train which is actually stuck on a siding right now and I’m looking out my window and fields flooded from the monsoon rain. Some houses are underwater while those on high ground have been spared, no real place for all the water to go since the ground is saturated, so the water sits like we do in our super-fast express.

In North India over the span of a day and half I saw 4 completed projects, 2 being drilled and 1 which hadn’t yet started due to a variety of reasons with the well drillers. Actually it has been a Muslim holiday for some time now and they aren’t taking up work, then there were the elections which meant no work until the new government was in place then there was the occasional rain which meant no one wanted to work. I have been assured though that all projects would be completed and photos sent to me timely. Translation is you’ll get your photos and the people will get their water in 1 – 2 weeks. Bottom line is that water will flow, clean water and it seems the common thread I am hearing is we have been waiting for you; 10 years we have been making requests but no response from the state government.

A plug for our video which is on the home page of our website, you should watch it now as it has tremendous relevance to the message being communicated to me by those in Odisha and West Bengal; were waiting.

I will be uploading in a day or two all the trip photos I have downloaded so far from my camera. I would do it earlier but no Wi-Fi on Indian railway as we sit on a siding in our super-fast express. Thankfully my flight out of the capital city of Odisha isn’t for another 5 hours and we should reach the station where I’ll get down in 2. Plenty of time, no problem!

This evening I’ll fly to Delhi then a long layover before flight to the DFW via London Heathrow then on to Kansas City in time for dinner hopefully.

If you are on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram go and find us then Like us only though after you view the photos, captions and short quips I have posted. Facebook we have a Fan page, Wells for Life, Twitter its wellsforlife and Instagram its w4lindia. To view our Flickr feed you can search Wells for Life or maybe it’s wellsforlife, I forget.

It’s tough to capsulize the trip in a sentence or two so let me just say that in addition to seeing lives touched through clean water, I saw the power of vision and faith in action with an entrepreneurial spirit result in transformative development that touches the physical, material and spiritual.

This trip solidified for me the need and the reason for my efforts and may they continue to grow and increase and a harvest reaped beyond my wildest expectations!

Monsoon Rain and water

Not sure how many days I have been in India, it’s all a blur especially with the airline keeping my bag in Chicago instead of sending it with me to India. Then there was the monsoons in Mumbai and Valsad, the shopping for new threads, Starbucks and Coffee Day and the super nice suite at the Marriott Courtyard.

In the mountain region of Southern Gujarat I was able to dedicate a water project sponsored by 2 HS kids from Bonner Springs and they did various fundraisers at school as part of their Senior Project to raise money for Wells for Life. Enough funds were raised for 2 projects, 1 I dedicated and the other I plan on dedicating when I return in the Fall. After this dedication we drove back to the ASK campus, our partner in Gujarat, and dedicated the final bore well on their acreage. They are using the water for cultivation of crops, construction of different buildings on their property and as a source of drinking water for all those in the area.

Amazing work is being done by those involved with ASK; this is the same organization which will be launching a Mobile Medical Unit later on in the year and for which Wells for Life provided half of the funding for. In addition to their work in the mountain region they are running a hostel for college girls and have 17 presently I believe and so I got to spend time with them also which was a treat.

From Gujarat I traveled to Yellamanchilli where New Life Children’s Home is located and arrived a day late thanks to the rains in Valsad that snarled traffic and prevented us from making a timely departure. I did arrive at New Life in 1 piece, just a day late, but with my luggage as I was able to retrieve it in Mumbai before I caught my flight to VIsak which is about an hour’s drive from Yellamanchilli.

Today I dedicate a water project on the grounds of New Life which will be used for a Reverse Osmosis system which will filter the water and provide for an opportunity should it be chosen to sell the water to nearby places and make a small profit as a return on the investment. In addition to dedicating the new water project, the Directors of New Life have finally shifted their residence to New Life and several rooms have been remodeled to create a home for Raja and Neelima complete with a full size kitchen. They have really created a great space for themselves here and leaves me somewhat jealous.

Tomorrow I leave for Orissa; flight to the capital city then a train ride lasting around 3 hours or so. Once in Orissa I’ll take up 7 project dedications over the course of 2 days then make my way home. Seems like a long time ago that I left the US but I guess it hasn’t even been a week yet so there are still more days to go and work to be done.

Enjoying the trip and a trip highlight currently is my super dress, Indian clothes borrowed from a very fashion oriented man, my good friend and brother, Raja! Right now my dress is the talk of the place and maybe I’ll have to go shopping for something similar and wear it home on the plane. I think I would be quite the conversation piece; who is that white person wearing the shiny clothes and pencil cut jeans? Maybe I should wear dark sunglasses and dye my hair black and look like a famous Bollywood actor from Mumbai. Who knows?!!

(To see some more photos go to the Wells for Life Fan page in Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/wellsforlife)

The latest and hopefully not yet the greatest!

Now that we are in the throngs of summer here is a recap of what we have accomplished so far:

30 drilled water projects in Gujarat, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh with another 10 projects in the works within the Trichy District of Tamil Nadu.

Just funded 6 months of 2nd Saturday medical camps in Tuni, AP which will start in August and run through January 2015.  These projects have on average 400 people attending who are in need of medical care and can’t afford such care.

Funded 7 months of support to a girl’s youth hostel in Gujarat and still seeking the final 5 months of funding for their everyday needs.

Carried out a medical camp earlier this year in the Visak District and saw over 400 people come to receive medical exams from 2 local doctors along with receiving much needed medicines for their individual ailments.

Seeking to raise $25,000 for our share of a mobile medical unit we want to help purchase and see used in the Dang District of Southern Gujarat.  We have the staff ready; just need another $12,500 to fulfill our obligation.

Raised funds for a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system which we hope to see installed soon at New Life Children’s Home and in addition to providing them with cleaner water, the system will enable them to enter into a small water distribution business which we hope will help them become more self-sufficient.

Set up 5 emergency water stations in Tuni which will run for a week and provide “water relief” for all those traveling throughout the city as Southern India is experiencing high heat and significant power cuts.  The local government has appealed to our partner and Wells for Life to provide assistance and as such we have responded.

1 of our 5 water stations in Tuni

Leave next month for India and will be traveling to North and South India dedicating projects and working alongside our project partners with an aim towards developing projects/programs that bring lasting change.

My hope and prayer is that what has been accomplished so far this year is the build up to even greater exploits as the year goes on.  More projects remain to be funded, more opportunities for outreach into the lives of the poor.  Raising another $12,500 so that we fulfill our commitment to raise ½ of the costs for a mobile medical unit in North India would be huge and to see this vision come to fruition would truly be a climax for those tribal people who desperately need such a van to bring a doctor and medicines to them.

People ask all the time how and why I do this work and don’t I grow overwhelmed because the needs are so great?  My answer to them is not to see the needs and be overwhelmed but to see “needs” as opportunities and at the vast number of places that we can touch and make a difference in.  It’s like a huge bowl filled with candy that was collected over Halloween, do you just look at it and be amazed at how much is there and how can one possibly eat all of this candy or do you just start digging, grabbing and eating and before you know it you have consumed a bunch of it?

India is like that, just jump in and start; before you know it you’re so in to what you are doing that you just have to do more because it’s really good, especially when you see lives changed.  I know this isn’t the greatest analogy and I could poke holes through it, but I won’t because it’s what came to mind as I type so I’ll just let it stand!

Now my invitation to have you join me and help me finish strong this year!  Your financial support will help bring water and change lives and if you want to help us reach our goal of $12,500 to meet our obligation for funding a mobile medical unit for Southern Gujarat and the Dang District then memo your gift MMU.

Blessings to you and enjoy your Summer!