COVID 19 effects

 

What’s going on?

Rural India is struggling.

I read stories from NDTV (think Indian version of CNN) along with what is shared on Facebook from my partners and most isn’t good. Over a month ago the government stopped all travel in hopes that it would prevent the spread of the virus. Many villages took matters a step further by blocking roads with large sticks or poles so that outsiders couldn’t get in.

Still today the lockdown is in force and I’m hearing more stories of desperation and hopelessness. You certainly feel for these people as they don’t have the same opportunities to access food, medicines or supplies as their city dwelling counterparts.

What can be done with all these restrictions in place is a question many are asking and thankfully there are those who are responding in small ways with outreach. Certain state governments have taken proactive approaches to get aid to their people yet again in the rural and tribal areas the situation is much different. These people operate on a cash basis; they don’t have accounts that the government can deposit money in, they don’t have access to markets or medical facilities. They are essentially cut off, left alone to cope and survive and sadly there are those who don’t.

Prayer has become the antidote of choice for so many and that prayer has inspired action.  Resources are being gathered, supplies purchased or made, permits applied for and granted so that small teams outfitted with masks and gloves can go out to the interior places and make a difference.

Yes, it is just a drop in the a very large bucket of need, but sometimes all you need is a drop to start the flow.

If you have time, here’s a link to a trailer that gives you a glimpse of the impact that is had with clean water.  https://vimeo.com/ondemand/217210

 

Coronavirus and you or at least your water

Just in case you were ever wondering or considering how the Coronavirus might affect say the water supply?

Rest assured, highly unlikely and even if it did find its way into some sewage treatment facility, it’s easily killed, and the virus reportedly doesn’t hold up well in water.

However, don’t take my word for this, here’s a link to a great article written by some highly intelligent professionals; take their word for it. https://ideas.stantec.com/water/coronavirus-and-the-water-cycle-here-is-what-treatment-professionals-need-to-know?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=organic_social&utm_campaign=Ideas

There’s always hope

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.

15 projects in 2 days

2 days ago, I arrived to the heat of Trichy, 99 degrees is what my app read with no rain or cooling in sight; ahh India!

Despite the heat it was nice to be back, 7 months since my last visit, a new record for me.  This trip was short and sweet, 2 days of project dedications, 15 in all.

Each day was filled with faces of children with stern looks until my camera came out and water started to flow; when these 2 things happened, their livelihood changed.

During my time here in Trichy I was reminded by Dhana, who is the founder of DPWA that our partnership has now stretched to 15 years and he’s still happy with me and trusts that I was still happy with him, to which I gave an affirmative reply.  I don’t think either of us would have thought 15 years ago we would still be enjoying one another and seeing projects happen in so many different places, 378 to be exact.

The miracle of this trip was that when they gave me a project proposal for 14 places, I had money for only 5, but that is how God often works.  He takes what you have, and he multiplies it, so much so that a few days before you travel you receive an email asking if it’s okay to use the left-over funds to drill a 15th project?  Abundance and not scarcity is what the economy of Heaven is all about and for some reason I’m still trying to learn that.

Here are some photos highlighting this trip and in just 3 weeks I’ll be back as it’s that time of year; temperatures are slowly reducing, and God is motivating folks to give and support our work of making a difference through providing access to safe water. 

On behalf of all the school kids and villages who now have access to clean water, Thank You for supporting Wells for Life!

2019 Water Camps

These photos never get old; a partner seeking to make a practical difference in the lives of anyone walking the streets on a hot summer day. 

Our NASA partner decided it was time to make a difference in a very easy and practical way after seeing so many suffer as they walked the streets during the hot days of summer.  Their idea was “what if we gave them a cup of cool water?”  Someone else chimed in “or even cool buttermilk” and the idea took hold and within a short period of time the staff was out on the streets providing a cool refreshing drink when the temperatures were 100 plus degrees.  They wanted to scale their outreach and they reached out to me and so for many years we have been providing funds for these Emergency Water Camps.  Unfortunately, our resources go only so far and so each year we trust we’ll have something we can send so a few camps can be taken up.  This year was no different.

The money you give to Wells for Life goes to projects such as these; basic touches from one person to another.  In a world that is being dominated by headlines of racism, injustices and oppression, it’s nice to see a story or an example of people helping others for no other reason than to demonstrate kindness, compassion, empathy and love, and this towards a stranger.

Help me continue making a difference in the rural areas of India with a gift. 

Your dollars make it possible for a cup of cool water or even buttermilk to be enjoyed.  Your giving goes beyond the small simple touches to larger efforts like drilling bore wells and installing hands pumps or motorized pumps thus ensuring that a needy village or school has fresh water. 

Our work impacts everyone in the community; man, woman or child; rich or poor, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, it doesn’t matter, and it happens when you give.

$1000 provides for a Emergency Water Camp and $2500 ends a village or community’s waiting for a hand pump water project; Waiting

Will you help us finish the year strong and give towards meeting our goal of 60 new clean water projects?  Today we are at 38, so a bit to go, but with your help, we’ll reach our goal and impact a lot of lives. Donate Now

The heat of July

Its July and the heat is on!  Literally, I was just outside and couldn’t believe how hot and humid it was; India hot!!

It doesn’t help that I had surgery and have a cast from my shoulder to my elbow, thankfully though this will come off soon and I’ll be back to normal with a few months of physical therapy.

If you have been paying attention to the national media or following our Facebook page you have seen a post or two about India and the water crisis, more specifically about Chennai running out of water. 

In light of this, I get asked how this affects us.  Thankfully, we don’t have any projects in the city, but we do work in surrounding locations.  Reportedly though, none of our work has been negatively impacted by the issues those in Chennai face or in other areas with pronounced drought and water scarcity.  Regardless, our job continues.  We still work with indigenous organizations who are making an impact in their respective areas and we still work at the community level seeking to make a positive impact.  (Follow this link for a short clip of drilling in Telangana – https://www.dropbox.com/s/t4v3gepadu46bsq/VID-20190706-WA0003.mp4?dl=0)

Whoever we are and wherever we live, it behooves us to be mindful of the fact that water is a precious resource and treat it accordingly.  Those Indians that call Chennai home have taken drastic measures to conserve water, some have not showered in days much less opened a tap for fear that there won’ t be a flow tomorrow.  The ques are tremendously long and many hours are now wasted because people are waiting for a tap to be opened to fill up a pot that holds just a few gallons, but what are they to do when this is the only available water?

What if we all became more sensitive to the plight that millions face because of water scarcity and took steps to better manage our current water consumption?  Even the most practical and easy things done routinely will save gallons and gallons of water, something as simple as turning off the tap while washing, bathing or brushing one’s teeth.  It’s the little things that add up and lead to bigger things, like rainwater harvesting, drought resistant yards and gardens, things like this to help save water.  Every little bit helps, just ask those in Chennai.

To read more about the situation in Chennai here’s a link to a story which now is several weeks old but has great information and photos – https://www.cnbctv18.com/economy/why-indias-worst-water-crisis-could-be-its-best-opportunity-to-address-challenges-3768481.htm