It’s true that 2 weeks ago I returned from India, a wonderful trip indeed as I opened water projects in West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. What’s crazy is that I leave today back for India. This trip to open projects in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
This past trip, I had travelled to a remote area, on the edge of a jungle actually in Odisha and of the 6 projects I was there to open, one of them had some difficulty and in fact wasn’t completed. Upon inquiry with the villagers and the village President I learned of the setbacks. What was most troubling for me was to hear firsthand the plight they were experiencing. It seems, according to one woman that they haven’t had a reliable water source for drinking in several years and as such she in particular had been “crying for water.”
How do you respond to this?
All I could do was listen and try to combat her fears and beliefs that the gods weren’t pleased with their village and as such they were being punished or suffering from back luck. I tried my best to communicate with the help of an interpreter how these things aren’t the result of bad luck or the displeasure of the gods that she worshipped but were based on more scientific or natural causes. She nor the others were buying it, so I just had to leave them with, we’ll be back with a new rig and try again.
Even to this moment I wait for word on whether or not water was found, and the suffering alleviated in that tribal area. This uncertainty isn’t something I enjoy, and I can only pray and ask God for mercy and wisdom for those doing the work that they might discover and know for certainty what is happening in that area and where the water is located. Certainly, in my mind, if it’s there and it’s deep, then let’s drill to a suitable depth so that the suffering can be eliminated. All of this takes place with the involvement of the local officials and our project partner; nothing we do is done independently, but only at the request of the partner, the community being served and the engineers.
I share this story from last month as a reminder that even in todays world, millions suffer because they lack access to safe water and until the Indian government is able to address this issue in a systematic and effective way, people like me will continue to travel overseas trying to help and villagers in remote areas like I have just visited will continue to struggle.
Is there hope?
Of course, there’s always hope and so I pack my bags and get on a plane; to bring hope.