Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday are right around the corner and so I am going to take a moment and share some gratitude despite the continued turmoil of our world.
First, we are on target to fund and drill 60 projects this year. A number I was skeptical about reaching 12 months ago based on COVID and the economy.
Second, after 17 months I was able to travel to India on special Business Visa and see a few of our partners and travel with them into the villages to open some recently completed projects.
Third, we have made strides this year towards standardizing our pump equipment with a manufacturer from Delhi who supplies UNICEF, so I am thankful for the quality and price point we have received for this product.
Fourth, everyone who has given to Wells for Life because it is your gifts that enable us to do what we do, and I take this responsibility seriously.
For all of you who are considering participating in GIVING TUESDAY, you do not need to wait for November 30, feel free to give today either on our site by visiting our Donate page or click on this special site https://wellsforlifegt.funraise.org
One donor asked me a few months back if Wells for Life could manage a donation of Stock as this was something he was considering due to his portfolio experiencing some nice gains. 100% was my response and then he wondered why I didn’t promote this as another donation stream?
I do not have a good answer on this but I can correct it now.
If you are in a position where your portfolio has grown nicely like my friend, and the thought of a tax bill is not appealing, then why not donate the shares to Wells for Life and take a deduction for its market value?
Feel free to reach out to Brett Banks with Enterprise Bank as he handles these types of gifts for us. Let him know what you want to do, and he will help make it happen. BBanks@Enterprisebank.com (913) 234-6457
A quick update on our 2021 progress –
I made my first trip to India the last week of July and into the first part of August and saw many of our water projects which were carried out during the beginning of the year along with a handful of projects from 2020. Being back in India after an 18-month break became an eye-opening experience for me in that I realized how comfortable I had become staying home and doing my part to stay COVID free. I realized that by not traveling, I had become rigid, inward focused, and really sensitive towards others who might be encroaching on my space, after all we are in a pandemic. Naturally then, who wants to venture out and really see the plight of those living on the other side of the world? The adage that awareness sucks really does apply here, at least to me. Despite COVID and my internal feels and reservations from those close to me, I ventured out and made the trip to India, and as you might expect: awareness sucks. Now a fresh perspective exists on how spoiled I am and how the color of my skin gives me certain advantages over many when I’m moving around in India. So yes, the trip was a new, eye-opening experience for me and one which reminds me how much more work needs to be done, both in myslef and in India.
A difference has been made over these last 20 years of being involved in India, yet again, there’s so much more to do.
On my final day in Tamil Nadu, I traveled out into the interior and saw one of our larger projects which we completed early 2021. This project provided water for a home run by some Catholic Fathers who are working with physically and mentally handicapped people. Our project met the drinking water needs and also supplied enough water for them to cultivate a few acres of land so they could grow some vegetables which would be used as part of the daily meals and any excess to be sold at market as part of an income generating scheme.
I was impressed with their work with these people and felt it was right to hear their requests about a few other projects similar to what I had just taken up, but farther into the interior. I was told these place were really some distance and at least 2 days were needed for travel and observation of the work. I didn’t have that time to spare but I commissioned my partner to see the work and my decision would be based upon their assessment and recommendation.
My partnes did in fact make the trip out to the interior and of the 5 projects they saw, their recommendation is that 4 of them be taken up as soon as possible. Here are those projects –
#1. Provide water for a Higher Secondary School targeting the visually impaired for which they currently have 110 kids, and on the same property extend pipe to meet the water needs of buildings used to care for 52 mentally ill patients. The scope of the project requires a deep bore well with submersible pump along with necessary piping and connections for both facilities to have access to clean, safe water. The cost for this project at Amalarakini is $4,000.
#2. A livestock project which is income generating and benefits the Higher Secondary School and Home for the mentally disabled described above at Amalarakini. The infrastructure and the experience currently exists, it’s now time to scale it up so that more profitability can be had which will offset some of the operational expenses of running both programs. The project cost is $8,000 and will purchase 7 cows and 30 pigs.
#3. Provide water for a Higher Secondary School which has 300 kids who are boarded there and another 1,000 who attend, so total student population of 1,300. The school is facing water scarcity issues and has appealed to Wells for Life to provide a new deep bore well with a submersible pump motor and storage tanks to meet the current demand. The project cost for this Boy’s School in Susai Nagar is $4,000.
#4. Provide a deep bore well with a greater HP submersible pump motor to benefit a Higher Secondary School with 200 children and to irrigate a 10-acre field as part of an income generating project to help offset the school’s operating expenses. The cost for this project at Mullipatti is $5,000.
I appreciate the time and consideration given towards these immediate and worthwhile needs. I know there are multiple demands for your generosity and all I can do is present our need and ask that you consider meeting it. The rest is up to you.
To give towards any one of these needs or all of them, just click here – Donate Now and when you get to the section for Special Instructions, tell me which project number you want to give towards, and that’s where I’ll make sure your gift goes.
Thanks again for taking the time!
Almost 2 weeks ago I returned from India and on this trip, I was able to see 15 new water projects spread over 3 states, and yes, many hours were spent on planes and in cars, but it was well worth it. More than ever, I saw the importance of being in person, as the conversations were richer, more insightful towards cultural cues and norms, and organically produced and led in nature. In addition to this, just being in a village and seeing the people who are benefiting from our work was amazing and no doubt the feeling was mutual.
COVID certainly played a big role in my trip and presented some challenges, but despite the necessary testing, additional paperwork, diminished flight schedules and food offerings in the hotels, and of course mask wearing, I managed. In regard to COVID, India has overcome the worst of what they experienced in April and May with the countless deaths, bodies lines the streets, cues of ambulances waiting to get patients into hospitals for treatment; all of that is gone, for now, what remains is a push to stress the importance of hand washing, social distancing, and mask wearing along with being vaccinated. Cues which all of us can adopt and live with as they certainly aren’t life threating.
The other hurdle which I faced and not so easily identified was internal and it wasn’t until I got home and was in conversation with my wife and a few other people on separate occasions that I could pinpoint it, and that was experiencing life on the other side of the world. Because of COVID my travels in 2020 were cut short, I only made 2 trips out of a planned 6, and as a result of not being in India for 16 months, just about everything about my life became rather comfortable despite the COVID lockdown. The best way to explain it is, I didn’t have to come face to face with all the challenges that India presents as an emerging nation. I had a safe place to call home, I had running water, reliable transportation, and health care, I had access to pretty much anything I wanted, sure I might have to stand in line for an hour, but it was there waiting for me to purchase it. I realize places in the US didn’t fare as well as my suburban life in Kansas, but India was far worse than anything being experienced in the US, and despite not being there during the worst of times, being there between the 2nd and anticipated 3rd wave, weighed heavily on me internally, and showed me how resilient Indians are, and now privileged and spoiled I have become. It is hard to admit this but I’ve come to accept it, my life is blessed more than I know and I experienced it during my trip, I didn’t have to wait in the same lines, I wasn’t asked for certain documents, I was given 5-star treatment wherever I went, all things that I have grown accustomed to receiving and yet the average Indian doesn’t experience because they’re not white and from America.
How do I change?
Working on that right now.
One thing for certain is that this trip gave me a fresh perspective, one which is akin to my 1st and 2nd trip to India, my eyes and my heart are more open than in the past, and God willing, more receptive to doing something in order to make a difference and create some impact.
God help me!