Feb 15, 2013
-Photo left to right: Allen Peterson, Oscar Martin, David Rosser, Geraldo, Kyle Lomax, Melissa Sutton, Jeff Holt-
It was late January this year when he introduced himself as “Geraldo.” I asked for a last name, and he responded: “Just Geraldo, no last name.” I thought about the absence of a last name, its significance. Jesus, Adele, Bono, Oprah; so just “Geraldo,” was o.k. with me.
I gauge his age at fifty-five. He is stoic and confident, because he has seen and experienced more than I have, at a more profound level. He is used to life with physical hardship, of not enough to survive, of looking at this day only, not tomorrow or next week. He lives on faith and hope surrounded by tragedy, sickness, and despair.
He is a pastor in Mas Agua, a poor, rural village 100 kilometers south of Guatemala City. His church has about 350 members, 270 of them children. Pastor Geraldo tells us that 70 % of his congregation is chronically ill from water borne illnesses and that most of the kids live with stomach parasites and diarrhea.
I briefly met Geraldo in the summer of 2012, when Doc Hendley and I visited Mas Agua to see if Wine To Water could provide clean water to the village. We were only exploring –seeing if sustainable water projects were possible in this rural region of Guatemala. We talked to Geraldo for over an hour then, and left telling him we would let him know if we could help. If we could, his church would have to hand dig a 30-foot deep well before we would return to install a pump, pipe and a filter system. Our last words to him were not to count on a water project and not to dig the well until we gave him the o.k.
In December 2012 a missionary friend, Roger Briggs, called to say that just Geraldo had not heeded our words of caution. Right after Doc and I left, he and his congregation began to pray, seeking guidance about digging the well. After months of prayer, the church agreed that they would dig a well. When I heard the news, I asked if he had understood us. He had heard us all right, but had listened to a different voice. On faith alone, the well was completed. I wondered how often I operated purely on faith, relying solely on God, and not on all the stuff that I have bought to barricade me?
Although the well was in place, the water it brought was contaminated, still poison. Geraldo knew this, but also knew the first step in faith is obedience. The second step was ours – we had to provide a filtration system to purify the water. I talked to Doc, Annie, Jessup, Kyle and Josh. We all agreed that Mas Agua would get clean water.
When Kyle and I arrived at the church on January 28th this year, just Geraldo had been there for hours. He had been preparing for the work to be done. He had brought a watermelon for us to share. As he greeted us, Geraldo’s eyes revealed that he knew this day would come. We all worked together for two days, installing a pump, the filter, and a 350-gallon tank that would hold water drawn from the well and purified by our filtration system. I watched Geraldo without staring at him. As we assembled the pump and piping, he took the lead. Within an hour, it was clear that Geraldo was very skilled at plumbing. He and Kyle worked well together, bridging a language gap with hand jesters, broken English and Spanish, and laughter.
When the plumbing was done, Geraldo disappeared. I didn’t see him for a while, as we welded a platform for the tank and glued pipe joints. When he returned, Geraldo had electric wire, switches, and crude tools. He began wiring power for the pump and revamping the old wire that lead to it. He was a gifted electrician as well.
It took our team a couple of days to get the system ready to test. When Geraldo hit the power switch, everything worked beautifully. We were soon transforming dirty, coffee colored liquid into pure, drinkable water. We all drank from the tap, satisfied with what we had done. But, I wondered what exactly we had done? We had of course helped a village to eliminate water borne illness. The church will provide water for everyone in the village, regardless of faith. The kids would be healthier without the parasites, they would go to school more often, and would have a better chance at life. The adults would also have less sickness and more healthy days to work and support their families.
That’s what we had done, but what had been done to us? I thought about the fact that Mas Agua means “more water” in Spanish. The Spanish word for depth of a well is “profundo,” like the English word profound. We had come to a place to provide more water, and in the process had learned a profound truth. We had been witnesses to the power of operating on faith. That is a lesson at least equal to the value of clean water.
Oct 11, 2012
It has been 2 ½ weeks since I returned from my first trip to Jacmel, Haiti. I have to admit, I miss that place more and more as the time passes. I met some incredible people during my 2 week stay. I had the privilege of working alongside FilterPure’s ceramic engineer, Brad Ponack, and the Haitian filter factory staff for a majority of my time spent there. It was truly an honor to be a part of the work they do day in and day out. The Haitian people are so resilient!
Our latest filter distribution partner, Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH), helped us and FilterPure distribute ceramic water filters at their September medical clinic. Most recipients either suffered from malnutrition, worms, or stomach issues such as diarrhea; we also targeted mothers who were breastfeeding or pregnant. All 150 filters were distributed in just 6 days with each filter capable of supporting a family of 5 for up to 5 years. So, combined with our previous filter distributions at the May and July FOTCOH medical clinics, over 1000 Haitians have been reached with clean water!
The Wine To Water crew is so excited about this partnership; mainly because it allows us the opportunity to follow up on previous filter recipients. FOTCOH treats nearly 1500 repeat patients suffering from all types of medical conditions. If we are able to reach every patient that also needs clean water, then we can make sure they continue to have clean water for a very long time. We look forward to the future!
Shortly after I left, a gang of thugs tried to raid the FOTCOH compound where the ceramic filter factory is located. They came under the cover of darkness and fired off 9 gunshots during their attempt to get in. Luckily, the bodyguard was able to keep them at bay long enough to become spooked and leave. No one was hurt; however it sent a wave of uneasiness through the area.
Haiti is still a very rough place and in desperate need of clean water. So, although incidences like these are common in Haiti, the Wine To Water/FilterPure factory nor FOTCOH will show no signs of slowing down. We will continue to reach Haiti with clean water!
Oct 5, 2012
September turned out to be a month of firsts for me. It started with my first trip to Africa or, more specifically, my first trip to Uganda. It was my first time traveling into the field to visit our projects, and finally it was the first time that I would be able to share with our wine supporters what their efforts are doing.
Being a part of Wine To Water (WTW) has been a blessing on my life on a lot of levels. Since the day I walked into WTW in 2008, I have taken great pride in simply having my name associated with such a great thing and such amazing people. It has truly been an honor to be included.
This is the first blog that I’ve been asked to write. Trying to illustrate what I experienced during the month of September is hard. How can I put into words all that I saw, the emotions that overwhelmed me, the prospective I gained, the humility and compassion I now carry? I’ve been fortunate to have traveled quite a bit throughout my life, but this trip shinned more light on my life than any other trip I have ever taken. I guess the best way to express my experience is to share a story from my recent journey.
Kyle, our projects guy, and I were in Uganda to visit our projects and partners as well as attend our first hand-pump training workshop. We spent two weeks meeting, teaching, and training locally appointed community leaders not only on how to fix broken wells but also the importance of management and how to get locals in each area to take ownership and pride in their water source. We began traveling to various areas to repair wells and at one particular community the well was completely unusable causing locals to rely on another water source. I noticed that they were drawing water from a small lagoon ten feet away from the broken well. The lagoon was overgrown and covered with a film from animal and human waste. It smelled bad, it looked bad and it was the community’s only water source. As community leaders were talking, I noticed two young girls carrying jerry cans approaching the dirty water. I watched as they both leaned down to fill their buckets, stood and began to walk home again. I couldn’t bear it. I went to one of our translators and asked him to tell the girls to wait and not leave. The girls didn’t understand why I was begging them not to go. I asked them to wait until we finished fixing the well. Reluctantly they waited and once the well was fixed they dumped out the dirty water they had collected and followed me to the new well. Once we finished the repair, Kyle told me to pump the water for the girls. As I pumped they both began to smile. We cleaned their jerry cans and filled them with fresh, clean water. That is a moment I will never forget.
What we are doing, what we are all working for became so clear to me. I am honored to have traveled to Uganda and so thankful to be representing our supporters in the field. As the wine guy for WTW, I especially want to thank everyone who has supported us through our wine program. Thank you to each person that has bought a bottle of wine! To our partnering wholesalers and sales team, partnering retailers and suppliers, thank you. I am humbled by the efforts that each of you in the wine world has made. Together our efforts are making a difference and we are making an impact.
Jul 13, 2012
"Habari marafiki!" Wine to Water, in cooperation with Samaritan's Purse UK, has just finished a 4 year project in Uganda, where we built two community resource centers that manufacture biosand water filters (BSF's) and oversee training on other appropriate technologies, like rainwater harvest (RWH) tanks. We also installed 1,000 BSF's in communities surrounding our centers, reaching 12,076 Ugandans with clean, safe water! The last of these were installed this March, as seen below in the picture with the motorcycle loaded down with a BSF and media sand. After the last installs, the team and I spilt up into small groups to hit the bush for a few weeks to conduct in-depth surveys in households that have a BSF and evaluate the project's effectiveness. And our findings were AMAZING!! Here's just a few...
* Local health clinics showed a decrease in waterborne illness by 37.8%
* Decrease in lost work days due to illness by 69.4%, school days lost reduced by 35.5%
* Increase in household income by 10.1% (usually due to money saved from not having to buy medicine)
* 95.9% of beneficiaries passed hygiene/sanitation tests, 88.7% using soap for hand washing
I know, right!! And I could write a book with all the great human interest stories and improvements on quality of life, directly resulting from this project! These can't be put into statistics. Well, since Doc stole my book idea, I wrote a new project proposal to SPUK, in hopes to secure a second grant for another Uganda water program. I was so nervous about it, as I'm no expert grant writer or literary genius...just read my blogs! I was in Kigumba, Uganda, when I got the call from London, saying the project proposal was APPROVED! I must of had a 40 inch vertical during my leaping fist pump when I heard the news! Micheal Jordan, after his game-winning "shot" against the Cavs during the 1989 NBA playoffs...THAT WAS ME!! You Tube it for the visual!
I just signed the offical grant contract to start the new Clean Water Project for Uganda, which just started July 1! This two year project, worth $156,680, will involve our partners and local team, Connect Africa, capitalizing on things we've learned over the years. In a nut shell, we will install 600 biosand water filters, 20 rainwater havest tanks (20,000 liters each), and repair 20 broken well handpumps, bringing clean water to 14,440 Ugandans!! We will use a sustainable approach with a heavy emphasis on education and empowerment that includes BSF and RWH tank conferences to proper hygiene practices. The first 100 BSF's are being built and I'll fly back to Uganda in September to put together the new handpump repair team! We are all SO thrilled to continue the mission of Wine to Water and thankful for everyone making it possible...so do your best 1989 MJ leaping fist pump!!!
Jun 18, 2012
I’m proud to announce that Wine To Water has officially added Guatemala as lucky country number 13. One of my close friends, and WTW board member, Allen Peterson had been hounding me for a while to get down to Guatemala. He had been doing mission work there off and on for the last 15 years and was always telling me about how amazing the people were and how so many of their lives would be changed if they could somehow access affordable clean drinking water.
Last fall Allen and his wife took a trip down to help serve at one of the school/feeding centers they had been supporting in a slum called Primavera. Primavera is one of the more dangerous areas in Guatemala and on this trip down a local gang made contact with Allen’s team and basically said if they didn’t stop their work in Primavera then they would begin killing the team members one at a time until they left.
This obviously shook Allen up a bit and he questioned whether he would ever return to the place he held so dear in his heart. However, just a few months later he felt the good Lord calling him back and this time he asked if I would go down with him to help three of their school/feeding centers gain access to clean water, one of them being Primavera. “Death threats, gangs, little kids needing water… I’m in!”
Allen and I just got back from Guatemala last week. We had an amazing trip down. We installed water filters in all three school/feeding centers. And in Primavera not only did we hook them up with filters but by the end of our time there we had installed an entire rainwater containment system.
Oscar, an awesome local Guatemalan dude who runs these feeding centers, told us that he and his wife shut the doors of the Primavera center after the death threats. The gang began following him, found out where he lived, and eventually he was forced to move to a new home in a protected community. Oscar’s heart was broken for the children of Primavera and he said he prayed every day that if God wanted him to go back there to work in spite of the gang, then he would gladly go. However, in his praying he asked that God give him some sort of sign if he wanted him back there.
In January Oscar received a call from someone in Primavera begging him to come back to reopen the children’s center. The man told Oscar that six of the notorious gangs members had just been killed in recent drug violence and that he didn’t think they would bother them anymore. So Oscar took that as his sign and returned. Not long after he asked Allen to come back down to continue to help his people, and voilá, Guatemala becomes lucky country number 13!
Thank you all so much for your continued support. We will keep everyone in the loop on how we plan to grow our projects throughout Guatemala… and I hope y’all ALL know that this work that we love so much would not be possible without you. Whether you’ve supported us financially, hosted an event for us, or just kept us in your thoughts and prayers, we love and are thankful for each one of you.
Picture 1: Children at one of the feeding centers are gathered around watching us install the water filters
Picture 2: Oscar pouring the first bucket of water into one of the filters
Jun 1, 2012
Konpilman!! I just spent a few weeks at the Wine to Water / Filterpure Filter factory in Jacmel, Haiti. I was joined by Filterpure director, Lisa Ballantine, and ceramics engineer, Brad Ponack. We worked with the factory staff on advancements to production, quality control, and distribution of the silver-infused ceramic water filters we produce.
The latest program for distribution is being set up with an excellent medical mission clinic called FOTCOH (Friends of the Children of Haiti). Comprised of volunteer medical professionals, they offer free medical clinics every other month to the local Haitians in desperate need. Each two week clinic treats an average of 2,500 patients ranging in all illnesses; HIV, hypertension, and waterborne diseases are rampant. In Haiti, one in five children dies from malnutrition, dehydration, and diarrhea. Waterborne illness is huge!
The program will provide every FOTCOH patient, suffering from any waterborne illness, a Filterpure filter for their household. A test run was done during the May clinic where FOTCOH doctors designated those most in need of clean water and issued them a plastic tap from our filter bucket. Patients were directed to our filter factory as they left the clinic, which is located on FOTCOH's property. There, we educated the Haitians on filter use, maintenance, and gave them a Filterpure filter.
The test run was a success! Dozens of filters went out to people like the malnourished 16 year old boy in the picture; he weighed less than 80 pounds. Thanks to your support, we are very excited to be providing 100 filters for the upcoming July FOTCOH clinic! These filters will provide a preventative solution to all waterborne illnesses, as opposed to treatment. Our goal for this new program is to put FOTCOH out of business when it comes to treating waterborne illness!
-Kyle, WTW Projects Manager
Apr 24, 2012
Tiffany Song, a student from Northern Guilford High School, approached us last year about doing her senior project on WTW. Below is her story in her words. Tiffany, thank you for all your hard work! We have no doubt that you will succeed as you move into college and beyond.
As my senior year in high school draws to a close, I keep reminiscing about a few things. I often find myself thinking about the moments and milestones that have defined my four years in high school. There’s the typical stuff, like The First Day and Homecoming and my first AP exam and Prom. However, there’s also a not-so-typical milestone that especially stands out in my mind: The Senior Project.
Every year, the seniors at my high school have to commit to what is called a “senior project.” This lengthy process, which includes an 8 to 10 page research paper on a topic we feel drawn to and twenty plus hours on a “project” that is relevant to our research, is no easy feat. Despite the hard work, there’s never been a time when I thought of my project with Wine to Water as labor. In a way, it’s been one of the pinnacle moments of my senior year.
I’m kind of an environmental geek, so I knew early on that I wanted my focus to be on water resource issues. For a while I struggled with finding a project to fit in with my focus, but by means of a family friend I finally found Wine to Water. Little did I know how big of an impact this project would end up having on me. Through Wine to Water, I also met my unforgettable mentor, Josh Elliott, who helped me with every point possible. With Josh, I set a goal of $500.00, which is enough to put a water well in Cambodia.
After setting my goal, the challenge became creating the wine tasting events themselves. It’s actually surprisingly easy to set up an event once you get your venue though; in fact, it can even be a simple event with family and friends. I ended up having two events at Rio Grande, a Mexican restaurant in Summerfield, NC, after getting help setting them up. Both Josh and Rio Grande’s owner, Gonzo, were very cooperative and supportive, and I wouldn’t have been able to take part in this experience without them. For two nights, Josh and I manned a little wine booth in the restaurant; as guests sampled wine, we talked about what WTW was and the goal of my senior project. Not only was it a great event, but it was very reaffirming to see how generous people were. One anonymous lady even donated $100.00! At the end of the day, I walked away with an awesome learning experience and a spring in my step, in addition to an unbelievable $632.00 of donations and sales.
To finish off my project after the two tasting events, I visited the Wine to Water office in Boone, NC. It was really cool to meet some of the members of WTW and to check out things like the clay filtration pots and photos, which had been taken from around the world. I remember thinking how remarkable it was that such an unassuming office was home to one of the most impactful charity organizations I’ve worked with.
The senior project has been finished and graded for quite some time, and all thoughts now focus on graduation. Still, I keep coming back to it; it’s been so much more than a school assignment. I learned so many things from working with Wine to Water, and the personal gains from this project have been enormous. People often think that one person is too tiny to act. My senior project with Wine to Water taught me that though one person’s actions may not change the world, the world may change for someone who needs a hand. I went into the project hoping to create positive change, never even imagining how much it would change me.
Mar 4, 2012
Alo Wine to Water team! I just spent a few weeks at the Wine to Water Filterpure Filter factory in Jacmel, Haiti. In response to the devastating 2010 earthquake and cholera outbreaks, this local factory was formed to provide highly effective and efficient ceramic filters for thousands of Haitian households. For most of the trip, I worked with the production staff on several improvements to the factory. We strengthen the kiln, installed a new oblong press mold, repaired the factory roof, and did an overhaul on the generator. I was very impressed with the staff as we worked to fine tune production and quality control. Amidst all the work, I did manage to attend my first Haiti "Carnival", which was "people watching" at its best! Now entering into our second year of full operations, we will continue to build on the number of Haitian families we can reach with this simple, life-saving technology...6,000 and counting! Awesome work team!
Feb 7, 2012
We recently had the opportunity to provide a well in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. The well was not for a small village, family, school, or church. It was for a prison camp of over 600 inmates from all walks of criminal life. The prison camp's primary water source recently ran dry forcing the inmates to use dirty river water being trucked in from nearly 2 kilometers away. The government was unwilling to fund a new well so the dirty river water quickly began to make a majority of the inmates sick from parasites. Our partner on the ground in Ecuador, Inca Link, helped facilitate the project, they did an amazing job. We want to sincerely thank them for all the hard work and compassion they showed throughout this project. Water is a necessity to life and therefore we believe it’s a basic human right for all people, even prisoners.
Jan 10, 2012
Teanaste'lle'n! I just spent a few weeks of December in the Borana zone of southern Ethiopia, where we are currently working with our local partners in a large 27 well project. Approximately, five million Ethiopians are suffering from lack of clean water in the southern part of the country and the UN has declared the area to be in a "state of crisis." The Horn of Africa drought has devastated this area with extreme food and water shortages. Just a few weeks before I arrived, the area received their first rainfall in over two years! The drill team has been deployed with our best drill rig and been busy drilling wells in the Miyo District, where they will remain until the completion of the project in March. The wells are drilled about 10 to 15 meters past the static water level, ensuring the will provide water though the dry seasons and even droughts. The villagers were ecstatic to finally have a secure clean water source close by. Children would come running from all over shouting "Woo hah" (Amharic for "water"), when they would see us driving by in the land cruiser. The drill team was known all over and treated as royalty, as they worked hard day in and day out, giving the gift of life: clean water. Amidst all the laughter and bright smiling faces surrounding the new wells, I was so humbled, thinking of everyone back home who made all of this possible. I have seen some pretty amazing things doing this work but, this project stands out. The need for clean water here is huge but the amazing thing is the huge response and impact Wine to Water has been able to make, due solely to our supporters, like you. And for that we are so grateful!
Dec 29, 2011
Our projects manager, Kyle Lomax, returned from Uganda just before Christmas. He came back with stories of people who were overjoyed to have received life saving water filters! Thank you Kyle for all your hard work; below are few of his words.
Furaha ya mwaka mpya! Happy New Year everyone! I just returned from Uganda, where I've been getting quite the workout hauling these 70 kg bio-sand water filters! I was greeted by large crowds of smiling people in every village, expressing their gratitude. After instructions on filter use and maintenance, the filters are installed in the selected homes. Clean water has literally transformed these communities with better health and a drastic reduction in waterborne diseases. Although we are closing in on our 1,000 filter project, a new project will be starting soon to continue to fill the high demand for these simple life-saving filters! Your gracious support has made all of this possible. On behalf of my friends in Uganda, THANK YOU!!
Dec 5, 2011
In 2010 we worked alongside a community based organization called FRIDSRO to construct a large hand-dug well. This well provides clean water to villagers, their livestock, and their agricultural needs. The quality of life for the locals has greatly improved. With access to clean water they are able to grow food for their families, feed their animals, increase their productivity and break the cycle of poverty. If you would like to help us continue improving the quality of life in Sri Lanka, please follow the link below to our catalog. Thank you so much for the support!
Nov 28, 2011
Our work in Cambodia has greatly expanded over the past few years. In 2011, along with our partners, Kone Kmeng, we celebrated the completion of our 300th well. we continue to work hard, drilling ten wells per month, as well as distributing ceramic filters, constructing latrines, and offering sanitation education. Each filter can provide clean water for a family for up to five years. Community sanitation is the last facet of influence we are able to provide in Cambodia. Poor sanitation kills thousands of people every day, so to cambat this in Cambodia, we are building latrines in areas where no previous methods of sanitation were used. Our goal is to build a latrine in every village where we install a well. With just $15 you can share in the cost of funding a well or latrine and just $30 can provide a filter. If you're interested in donating to our Cambodia projects please follow the link below. We greatly appreciate the support!
Nov 22, 2011
Though time has passed since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the need for clean water continues to be urgent. In partnership with Filterpure Filters we have established a ceramic filter factory in Haiti that is now capable of producing up to 1,500 ceramic filters per month. Since the earthquake in 2010, our factory has produced and distributed over 4,000 filters. Each filter provides clean water for an entire family for up to five years. In 2012 we hope to distribute 14,400 filters and provide clean water to over 72,000 people. If you would like to help us reach this goal, please follow the link below. We really appreciate your donations.
Jul 8, 2011
We received this e-mail from a supporter yesterday that provided great encouragement to everyone at the office and wanted to share with all of you.
"I am weeping as I write this to you.
Yesterday I called and talked to Chelsea, and explained to her the situation that I am involved in Uganda. I am a pastor in a church in Kansas, and our staff and members have been working with Arise Africa International and I Love Orphans to help children in a small orphanage survive in Uganda. This facility was built a year ago by people who have seen the plight of these little ones, and they wanted to create a haven so that they can survive. The children at this orphanage are taken from the worst scenarios. Their families have been murdered, eaten by animals, died from AIDs or other diseases, or they have left and simply abandoned the children. It is not an exaggeration to say that these children would be dead if they were not in this facility.
The facility is located outside the village of Bukaleba, out in the bush, and while a good facility it does not have clean water. As a result, the 53 orphans are always struggling with some water-born disease. My daughter Allie, 23, left the US a month ago to help out with the orphanage, and when she arrived was placed in charge of it. She has worked night and day to improve the diet, medical health, and physical needs of these children.
She emailed me on Tuesday (yesterday) saying that she needed water filters. She herself has been sick, and several of the children are sick. She had seen something about your organization online and asked me to check it out. I called yesterday and talked with Chelsea, who encouraged me to send an email to Kyle, who happened to be in Uganda. I did so.
A few moments ago Allie sent me an email saying that five units have been dropped off at the orphanage. FIVE UNITS! She is so very happy, and I am so very happy. I don’t know how Kyle got the directions (I am assuming it was Kyle), or where he was when he got my email, but I cannot believe your people acted so fast.
So, I cannot thank you enough for your kindness, service, and graciousness in helping us help these little children survive. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness, and have just gone around to our staff here at the church and (loudly) yelled out what had happened.
God bless you, and you wonderful staff. You all have changed lives today!"
May 19, 2011
Kyle just returned from visiting our filter factory in Haiti. Here's the latest on the progress:
"I just returned from three great weeks at our filter factory in Jacmel, Haiti, accompanied with ceramics engineer and consultant Brad Ponack. The visit was intended to increase the quality and efficiency of both the factory and the filters it produces. Improvements were made in several areas like mixing ratios and times, kiln log profiles, flow rate and filtration tests, and packaging of filters to be distributed. Everyone involved was excited to be working towards developing the proper procedures to manufacture the best ceramic water filter possible. Our goal is to have the factory at full capacity within the next four months, producing up to 1,500 filters of the highest quality each month. The demand is so high for these filters that reaching our full potential is not a recommendation but a requirement. The Haitian factory team, Filterpure, and Wine To Water are committed to do our best in providing clean water to as many Haitians as possible. Thank you so much for the support to allow us to do so and be sure to follow the progress being made over the next few months!"'
May 9, 2011
We hope everyone had a great weekend! We received a newsletter from our parnters in Cambodia today and wanted to pass a story along to our great supporters!
This month we would like to show you how one well can change this person’s life. We would also like to thank you for your support of this project. Reoursey Chour village is located in Kroul Kor commune, Svay Chrum district, Svay Rieng province. The main occupation of the people is rice farming, with almost 100% of the people depending on their rice fields to live. But in the hot season they cannot raise their rice because there are not enough water systems available in their communities. In fact, in rural areas communities face a lot of problems, especially accessing clean water for home use and for growing fruit trees or vegetables. Because of this they become poorer and poorer, most of the men in the village go to work in Vietnam and some go to the towns to become construction workers while most of the girls move to work inside and/or across the border.
These are some of the social issues that Kone Kmeng is responding to in their communities.
Testimony “My name Kong Von, I am 28 years old and I am married to So Yin who is 29 years old. We have two children. We live in Reoursey Chour village, Krol Kor commune, Svay Chrum district, Svay Rieng province. As I am a disabled person it is really difficult for me to draw water from the lake, and some days we have no water to drink and use at night time. The villager who owns a well does not allow me to use it so I cannot grow any vegetables or fruit trees at my home. Because of this I tried to climb up palm trees every day to get palm tree’s water to sell and earn some money for my family. However, I could not afford to support my family and so one day my wife took me to the town in order to beg for money, but I have no desire to become a beggar even though I am disabled person. Then one day I asked the Pastor in my village for some advise, and he said he would request a well from Kone Kmeng.
I received a well from Kone Kmeng and some teaching, and I was able to start to grow some fruit trees, morning glories, vegetable, yams, and gourds. Now I know that one well was not only helpful with our health as we now have clean water to drink and use in our daily life, but it has made our living conditions so much better because now every day we can earn some money from our garden, and I can afford to send my children to school.” He added “let me show you how green my garden is now” “I am really thankful to Kone Kmeng and all of its staff that have helped to save me and my family from unsafe water and poverty. I hope our community will improve soon.”
Jan 5, 2011
Our newest addition, Kyle, started this week. We're excited to have him on board reporting from our international projects. Below is a little message from Kyle to all of you...
My name is Kyle Lomax and I am the new international projects manager for Wine to Water. In 2009, Doc asked me if I would be interested in doing some construction work in Uganda. Being a contractor and enjoying adventure, I said, “Let’s do it!” So, I spent mid-January to March of 2010 working in Uganda and loving it. I was able to see first hand, the personal impact Wine to Water was making on my new friends. After witnessing this organization's passion and ability to make a difference in the world’s water crisis, I wanted to be a part of it!
Nov 5, 2010
Editor's note: Doc Hendley, a 2009 CNN Top 10 Hero, is the founder and president of Wine to Water, a nonprofit group.
(CNN) -- Humanity is facing a war right now with an enemy that appears to be winning.
Although this war is not fought with guns, more people die from this enemy than all the guns and all the other wars in the world combined. What's really sad is that many of the casualties of this war are children under the age of 5. Who is this enemy, and what is this war that claims the life of a child every 15 seconds? The enemy is unclean drinking water, and the war is the world's water crisis.
I started my organization Wine To Water in 2003 while bartending and playing music in Raleigh, North Carolina. When I learned about the world's water crisis and that more than 1 billion people lacked access to clean drinking water, I was upset to say the least. I became even more upset when I learned that more children died from unclean drinking water than anything else in the world.
However, it wasn't so much these staggering numbers that moved and angered me. It was the fact that neither I, nor anyone else I knew, had ever even heard of this global water crisis that claims the lives of 3.5 million people every year.
In December 2003, I decided I wasn't going to sit back and do nothing and began raising money in the bars and nightclubs around Raleigh. By September 2004, I had moved to Darfur, Sudan. What I saw and experienced there drove me to continue growing Wine To Water in hopes that we might have the greatest impact possible in fighting the world's water crisis.
After returning from Darfur in late 2005, our organization expanded to reach nine countries, including Ethiopia, Uganda, India, Cambodia, Peru, Haiti, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Not only have we been able to have a great impact, but I have also seen a lot of other great organizations out there being formed to address this same issue.
In the beginning, I was a bit overwhelmed. The staggering statistics and effects of unclean water were discouraging. But we pressed on, and we continue to be encouraged as the world begins finally to take notice of this crisis.
Yet we still have a long way to go. Every day in the news we hear stories from places such as Afghanistan where coalition forces have lost more than 2,000 lives, yet nothing is being said of the 85,000 children in Afghanistan who, last year alone, lost their lives because of unclean drinking water.
When the Haiti earthquake hit, it was well-known throughout the world that water was by far the biggest need immediately following the quake. Yet one of the West's main responses was to send millions of bottles of water that now litter the already trashed streets of Port-au-Prince. And since bottled water is one of the least sustainable methods of addressing a water crisis, there are now 1 million people exposed to deadly waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid and not much better off than they were immediately following the quake.
So, while at times I am encouraged by the milestones reached in the last seven years of doing this work, I am also deeply saddened that not more is being done to save the precious lives of 1.5 million children each year who die simply because they can't get a clean cup of water.
I have two children of my own now. One is 2½ and the other 7 months. They are what keep me going, even when it all seems too difficult or impossible to fix. Because in the end those children dying are someone's sons and daughters, and I don't care where they're from, what they look like or what they believe in -- everyone deserves the right to have clean drinking water.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Doc Hendley.
To visit the published article: http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/11/04/hendley.heroes.water/index.html
Sep 15, 2010
We finished our second well today at Basak Primary School. The school typically has about 300 students, many of which we were able to meet, even though they let out for the summer yesterday. Having the children there gave us an opportunity to really connect with the beneficiaries of the well and we enjoyed playing and laughing with them. It was definitely the hottest day we’ve had in the field so far, but everyone was eager and excited to pitch in, and despite a few kinks in the drilling, the well was completed this evening. This particular well was made possible by donations from our partners at 46NYC, and it was exciting to have one of the founders, Graham Bunn, on the ground with us to witness the installation.
This afternoon the team traveled out to another remote village to participate in one of Kone Kmeng’s community sanitation workshops. Each area that is provided a well is also asked to attend one of these workshops, at which they are educated on the importance of clean water and sanitation. The people of the village were so welcoming and happy to have us there, especially the children. It’s an incredible experience to meet the people who’s lives will now be drastically changed because of the help from supporters back home. We can’t thank you enough!