October and Awareness Sucks

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!

April 2

A year of COVID is behind us and yet many of us are still working from home and carrying out work via Teams or Zoom calls and were wondering when we can get rid of our masks and go back in public without fear of risking our health or that of others.  No easy answers on this one, other many a viable vaccine or herd immunity.

India continues to experience its fair share of problems related to COVID and for me, her borders are still closed.  Due to COVID, many restrictions have come into place with one of them being the cancellation of all previously issued Visas.  I have since applied for a new Visa and was granted a 1-year Visa with 3 visits starting in June and extending to May of 2022.  Not ideal for me but I will have to make it work.

Thankfully much of what Wells for Life accomplishes is carried out in India independent of my presence.  In fact, COVID has shown me that our partners are more than competent and have done a fantastic job in carrying on and seeing our mission of providing clean, safe water accomplished in 60 new places last year.  That is right!  60 places received clean, safe drinking water despite COVID and despite a 30% drop in giving.

I can only imagine once the economy starts picking up and people feel the freedom to give, what we will be able to accomplish.

There is no lack of villages to touch with clean water, so when you are ready to give, we are ready to receive your gift and make the most out of it.

To give and support our work in 2021, visit Donate | Wells for Life

Stay safe and let us believe together that better days are ahead!!

Water in COVID times

There may not be a lot of good news in the media, but I have cause to celebrate!

COVID may still be occupying most of the headlines worldwide and resultantly negatively affecting the economy as well as the hopes and dreams of countless others, yet I have a reason to get up and dance. Reason being that within the last few weeks I’ve funded 17 projects in 3 different states. You might not think that’s celebration worthy but considering donations have fallen off dramatically since COVID first hit and its now August, and yet I’m still able to drill wells; well that’s cause for me to say “raise the roof”. I would also bet that for the 17 villages, schools and/or communities which will have access to these new projects, representing thousands of lives.

I read an article the other day which spoke of the spread of COVID in India and how it’s producing large numbers of positive cases in the rural populations of 10 states and many think India soon will surpass the US in total number of cases and in deaths.  What happens in the future with COVID remains to be seen, interestingly though is that all of our work is within 7 of the 10 states that are experiencing the most number of positive cases. What I take from this fact is simple; we’re at work in rural areas which are impacted significantly by COVID.  This creates an opportunity for me to not shrink from the challenge but embrace it and look for opportunities to make a difference.

When these projects are completed, we will have brought water to 43 new places in 2020 and hopefully another 10 to 20 projects will happen before the year closes out.

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.

At this point, what can we do?  We can give so that our partners can do what they do best; make a difference.  Difference making looks like this, pretty simple really, nothing more than gather resources, purchase supplies, get the necessary permits and then go out and distribute to those in need.

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.