October 16, 2015
I was reading the news yesterday and came across an article about the drought not only in California, but worldwide. My heart stopped when I read that Papua New Guinea has already had 12 drought related deaths and that the count will greatly increase.
There was a picture of children standing in a dry field and although the image impacted me, I wasn’t seeing their faces. Instead I was seeing the faces of the many people in Lido, PNG where we have worked for 4 years. I immediately sent an email to one of my contacts in Lido and she informed me that as of now they are doing alright so my mind was eased for the night.
I have yet to meet the community in Lido, Nicaragua where we are currently working. Pat has been the Walu face there. I am eager to meet the wonderful people who are already a part of my life. I know that when I meet them the connection will be much stronger and thus articles involving Nicaragua will hurt more than they used to. That is part of this work. The more you get involved in a project the more that particular part of the world matters.
For example, as a Californian, I am actively trying to do my part in conserving water during our own drought. Every time I think of what we are facing, I think of Nicaragua and PNG and multiply the effects by 20. We are inconvenienced, while they are focusing on survival. It puts things in perspective for me and reminds me why I have dedicated so much of my life to humanitarian issues and now Walu.
Our founder, Zack Parker, made it a point to not use sad faces full of snot to get people involved with what we are doing. Rather he focused on the happy faces and titled it “Let’s keep the children happy!”. This is still our focus. Why wait until droughts and famines occur to help when we can help communities by equipping them to combat these inevitable occurances. Why wait until crisis mode to get involved?
In the developing countries where we are working, survival, community and family make people happy and by training these communities to access clean water and invest in safe sanitation we are not only helping them, but we are learning about what truly matters. We give them tools, they give us life lessons.