Friday afternoon in Yellamanchilli, a whirlwind 2 days with 2 to go and then I make the trip home. We arrived Thursday morning at 9:15am into the Visak airport and took breakfast there in the airport then made the hour drive to New Life Children’s Home so we could drop our bags then off we went to dedicate 2 bore well projects in areas being served by SHEBA which is one of our partners in this region of Andhra Pradesh. Both of these projects were to benefit the Dalits or Untouchables and our time with these folks only lasted 30 minutes in each place due to the lateness of our arrival and the heat.
At each site you could see the joy and happiness in their eyes and faces when the water came out of the newly completed well and I was once again reminded of the value of bringing clean water to a people in a village who have been marginalized and oppressed for just being born.
Upon completing these 2 projects we drove to the NASA offices in Tuni where we met briefly with Dr. Premdas and enjoyed a short visit before we needed to move towards our final 2 project dedications which were in a more interior place than the 2 SHEBA projects. After about an hour’s drive and with the sun setting we arrived at our 3rd project and were greeted with garlands and too much fanfare. I was able to share with them about the donor who generously gave and yet wanted to remain anonymous. I took quite a few photos and the kids their really enjoyed their photos being taken and seeing immediately what they looked like. The adults got in on some of the action too and after serving us snacks and coconut water we left for our final project as the sun set behind the mountains.
The last project of the day took place in the night sky and thankfully there was a young man who agreed to hold up a light attached to the end of a 7 ft long pole and throughout our dedication and sharing time he was our sole source of light. I made it a point to recognize him for without his willingness to serve us in this way our dedication would be limited to whoever had a cell phone with a flashlight app and in this crowd there were probably only a few, certainly not enough to light up our entire group. We spent a little bit more time in this village as there was no dedication to carry out after this project, just dinner to attend to and with all the snacks and coconut water being served I wasn’t hungry and neither was Dave.
Sleep couldn’t come fast enough for me as we had been up since 5 so when the clock struck 10 I made sure I was in back to the offices of NASA with my head on a mattress and a sleeping pill in my system as jet lag is still affecting me even after 6 days.
Today is almost over, and I’m unclear as to everything we did though I do remember our meeting with a group of lepers who live next to the NASA offices. I was able to share with them and encourage them to continue to live their lives to the fullest despite being afflicted with leprosy knowing that their struggle in temporary and their future is secure. These folks are a wonderful bunch and it’s neat to see their joy being displayed when they interact with us.
Sometime this afternoon I was able to spend time with Sony and Sowyma who run Light of Love Children’s Home in Tuni and once again I was reconnected with a little guy named Elijah which they gave him a short while ago however his Telegu name is Dhumpa which in English means Potato. When I saw him this afternoon he was holding hands with another little guy his age, (3) and they looked adorable, so I decided the other boy should be named Chip. Not sure if the Indians appreciated my humor but I thought it was brilliant.
Ending the day with volleyball back at New Life Children’s Home. We were able to fit in 5 games before bed. It’s 9:30pm and we just finished cleaning up and now to go for our dinner. I think it’ll be a late night. Having fun though.
Tomorrow some meetings and a medical camp which was funded by one of Wells for Life’s donors who is a partial owner of a pharmaceutical company, with his help were able to conduct a medical camp in a village where we hope to have 200 – 300 villagers receiving basic medical care, care they otherwise wouldn’t be afforded because they lack the means to receive it. Huge thanks goes out to Pharmco Ventures for their support in our efforts to make a difference in holistic measures within the rural areas.
I returned last week from India and I believe jet lag is over! Didn’t do anything to special to conquer it, just came home to sub zero temperatures and snow. Maybe the cold and the driveway I had to clear were what I needed to kick start the body on KS time. Regardless, it’s great to be home and back in KS even if its frigid here.
I am in the middle of uploading photos to Flickr and some of our latest project dedication photos can be found at this link; http://www.flickr.com/photos/wellsforlife/sets
One of the projects we dedicated was funded in part by the students of ORU and their chapel offerings. The photo set from that dedication can be found in the Flickr link above; here is a glimpse of the school kids which are benefiting now from clean water thanks in large part to all the students who gave.
Another highlight for me was watching one of our projects being drilled. Generally this entire process is complete by the time I make it to India but in this case the drill was drilling and I got to watch! I uploaded some photos of the drilling and you can see those on our Flickr page under the set titled “Drilling a well”. Several days later I returned and dedicated the project which was cool; start to finish in just 3 days.
This is my 13th year being involved in India and I’m grateful for the opportunities and the lessons that I have learned over the years. Each trip I take reveals new opportunities and my hope is that you will join me in making an impact in the lives of India’s masses who are struggling because among other things they lack access to clean water.
When you give to Wells for Life, know that the gift is being used to change a life, a life like one of those precious school kids pictured above.
The books are closed on 2013 and it was a record year for us.
Water was brought to 68 new villages and communities in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Orissa. Our total number of projects drilled since our inception now stands at 578, not to bad for someone who told God “You’ve got the wrong guy” when I heard Him say, “I want you to bring water to these people.”
Next month will be 13 years since I heard “the call” and I can honestly say its being quite the journey and it has been filled with highs and lows. 2 new charges for 2014 as mandated from on High; “Don’t compare yourself (Wells for Life) to any other organization,” and “I am your source.”
Hearing these words gives me the faith to continue to move forward and I firmly believe that God loves each and every person on this planet which is why He sent me to bring them water among other things.
For each of you who gave in 2013, thank you for responding to the leading or prompting to give and make a difference, your gift is doing just that.
Almost 2 months ago we rolled out a new video, if you haven’t seen it, follow this link, I think you’ll enjoy it and feel free to share it with your friends – http://vimeo.com/81236937
We also launched again our mobile giving site hoping to engage those that might hear about us via our Twitter or Facebook Fan Page or through some other form of media, you can visit that page if interested at http://raz.mobi/water
Finally, our logo has been filled up with the last names of all those who gave in 2013 and if the giver was a business then the full name of the business is listed. Unfortunately I can’t make the image larger so if you don’t see your name, trust me, it’s there!
In the theme of our video, many more villages are waiting, let’s make 2014 a year where we end their waiting!
I realize its not even February but when I go to the grocery story they already have the chocolate out and the Valentines Day stuff on display so why not share some love?
Love is best when its shared, that’s its nature and I think the photograph in this post reveals love best. Love to show up, to leave a comfortable No. Cal lifestyle and travel to the other side of the world so you can be part of something bigger than yourself. Claire did just that; she showed up.
She demonstrated in each village she visited that she cared enough for them, complete strangers, to do something. She helped me bring them clean water and she did it with others; she made a difference.
I would get in trouble if I didn’t mention Justin.
Justin is a classmate of Claire and the two of them decided to make a difference in rural India and partner with Wells for Life so that clean water could become a reality in as many places as possible. They did just that; worked and worked, asked for donations, tried a variety of different things so that water could become a reality in rural India. Then they each brought one of their parents with them so that together they could see the impact and share the love.
Love showed up in South India each and every day we were there.
In 2013 we brought water to 68 new places and Claire and Justin were responsible for 3 of these. As I reflect on last year’s accomplishment which was an all time high for us, and I look at what 2014 holds, I can’t help but wonder how many places we’ll be able to touch with clean water and with love.
If you want to make a difference and share the love and the dollars so that we can touch more lives then Click the GIVE button at the top of this page and as you give remember to smile because you’re changing lives!