Last semester I took a science for non-majors, called “Living in the Environment.” It was pretty much your standard Environmental Science class-we talked about organisms, biomes, pollution, global warming, etc, you know the usual stuff you learn in a class like that. It was an ok class, my teacher knew alot of information (although my classmates and I were convinced she smoked pot reguarly), but what left an indelible impression on me from that course was the subject of water contamination. Having been deployed outside of the United States when I was in the Air Force, I knew that having clean water to drink wasn’t easily accessible in other parts of the world, but this time, hearing about it, and reading about it during this class hit me really hard. It’s probably because I’m a mama to two boys and I look at the world they are growing up in through a much different lens than I did in my early 20’s. I mean, just look at the picture above-forget yourself for a moment-can you IMAGINE your child taking a swig from that glass? Seriously, I’m gagging just thinking about it.
I remember picking my boys up from daycare after class one day last semester-as soon as we got in the car, my oldest Brennan said he was thirsty and wanted some water-my mind instantly visualized him kneeling beside a river somewhere in India (where water contamination levels are extremely high) scooping up water to drink….then it shifted to another image of us, standing in my kitchen, staring at a faucet of cloudy water….I didn’t realize I was yelling and twisting my face up in anger until Brennan’s voice shook me from my daydreams (or rather nightmares)…..
Learning that roughly 4,500 kids die every day from some form of water contamination still makes me shake in anger when I think about it. I remember feeling helpless and wanting to wring my hands in despair when I started researching the facts and gathering more information on the subject. However, after coming across CHARITY WATER, an organization dedicated to helping people in developing countries have access to clean water AND learning (and verifying) that 100% of the money raised goes towards funding water projects, I knew I had found a tangible solution. Being angry and feeling helpless wasn’t enough-taking that anger and despair and putting ACTION behind it is. What I love about their projects is that when you make a donation and they collect a certain amount to fund a project in a particular country, they send you grid/gps coordinates through Google that you can type in and SEE the project you helped fund. I love their comittment to those they are helping and also to accountability. So how did I get involved and how can you help me help others drink CLEAN WATER?
I had my son Alex in April 2010. I started my pregnancy at 140lbs and ended at 182. I have since endured the all-too-familiar struggle of trying to lose post-baby weight and up until this month was losing the battle of the bulge miserably. Even with Weight Watchers, my weight never dipped below 180. (Well, it did once and then went right back up to 183-booo!) It has affected my self-esteem in a way I haven’t encountered since junior high and it has been a frustrating and discouraging process. In December, I was listening to KLove radio and the morning show host Lisa was talking about her battle with losing weight and how choosing to lose weight for charity helped give her the extra motivation she needed to keep going when she wanted to give up or give in to laziness. With the wheels starting to turn, I pondered doing the same thing up until Christmas. I knew I wanted to combine my weight loss goals with my desire to go out of my comfort zone and actually start living out the compassion for humanity Jesus exemplified-I just didn’t know which charity to do it for….but on December 29th, the answer came when I was reminded about the water contamination issue and how it had impacted me emotionally. I jumped on the computer, started researching clean water charities and once I discovered that I could create my own campaign people could donate to via Charity Water, I knew what to do….
I started on January 1st….I dusted off my Biggest Loser workout DVDs, got reacquainted with Bob Harper and his grueling routines, found an accountability/workout partner in my friend Maggie, made a renewed comittment to portion control, and….well, even though I’ve been sick the past couple of weeks and haven’t been able to workout like I want to, I’m down to 177 from 183.6 when I started on the 1st. 6.2lbs might not seem like alot, but for someone who’s been struggling with staying under 180, it’s a huge victory for me! Even being sick, I’ve maintained 177 and I’m proud of myself….
I’ll be even prouder when I reach my first goal of losing 20lbs and raising at least $1,000 by March 31st. If I can accomplish this, then losing another 20 and raising even more money is not only a second goal of mine, it’s one I know I can knock out the park!
$1,000 gives 50 people access to clean water through a water project….might not sound like alot to you, but think about it-that’s 50 KIDS who will have the chance to drink clean water and 50 KIDS who will not be a part of the 4,500 who lose their lives to diseases associated with water contamination-A DAY.
If you’d like to help me reach my goal, but more importantly step out of your comfort zone and tangibly reach out to kids across the world you haven’t even met, then please consider making a pledge or a donation of any amount to my campaign…or if you want to just make a donation directly to Charity Water, that’s ok too-the point is, please do something 🙂
Last round of info:
“Caused by a water-borne bacteria called vibrio cholera, it is transmitted when contaminated human fecal matter gets into water, food or onto someone’s hands. It can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting that dehydrates victims and can kill within hours.” (Reuters) Cholera can and does spread like wildfire in a country that lacks sanititation, water treatment facilities, and just simple clean drinking water for it’s citizens. As the Reuters article states, it is a “global threat”, and has most recently wreaked havoc on recovery efforts in earthquake-devastated Haiti, where well over 1500 people have died. According to this CNN article back in November, health officials in Haiti are estimating that over 200,00 people Haitians will be affected by the outbreak…The funds I’m currently raising will be going to fund desperately needed water projects there.
I know that information can be overwhelming and disheartening…possibly so much so that it may leave you feeling like it’s too much for you to have an impact or just numb with insensitivity because it doesn’t affect you directly. I say that because I’ve experienced those emotions when being confronted with the plight of others. I’m not trying to be preachy or shove any humanitarian ideals down your throat. I’m just encouraging you, if you feel so inclined, to take a moment and just think about how you can reach out to those around you and possibly to people you’ve never met. No matter the scale it’s on, big or small, I’m just trying to encourage you to do what I did and take a step beyond yourself, outside of your comfort and do something tangible. If it’s not through a water project, then let it be something else-something that impacts you on a personal level and shakes you up. For me it was water-for you it may be hunger (http://www.strength.org/), it may be the homeless,(http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/08/us/08vets.html?_r=2) it may be something else. I don’t know what will make that step, but I know what made me….
So again, if you’d like to help my campaign for clean water, check out my profile at http://mycharitywater.org/weight4water…. I have 66 days left-and I plan to reach my goal 🙂
I know this one was long, so THANKS for reading 🙂