I made it alive. I successfully finished my 100 mile hike in my goal of 8 days. The journey was not without trials, though. There were moments where I thought continuing was not an option and failure was a sure thing. Now, as I have almost recovered from the physical injuries, I am able to look back on my once-in-a-lifetime journey and see it for what it really was.
Cassie Ballard hosted a wonderful fundraiser at The Woodman on July 29th to raise money for Wells Bring Hope.
We were surprised by an unusual summer storm, but the rain could not dampen the spirits of the volunteers and supporters who gathered at the home of WBH Founder and President Barbara Goldberg for the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue. Weather for the event started off warm and clear, but halfway through the skies darkened, and rain sent everyone scurrying. The team immediately rallied together to move the whole party inside in record time, and everyone quickly resumed eating, drinking, and enjoying each other’s company inside Barbara’s lovely home.
One of the best invitations I’ve ever received was from a third grade class, made up of 7 and 8 year olds at NOW (New Open World) Academy. The invitation said that I, along with a few others, had been recognized as a “local hero” who has fought for social justice, and they wanted to present me with the “NOWbel Peace Prize.” What an honor!
It featured a Gambian woman, Siabatou Sanneh, who wore a sandwich board that said, “In Africa women walk this distance each day for drinking water” as she carried a jerrycan of water on her head while walking the route of the 39th Paris Marathon in Paris, on April 12, 2015, to raise awareness for the cause of charity “Water for Africa.”
When you’re president of a safe water nonprofit that works exclusively in rural Niger, West Africa, and a visit is due, you plan the trip. When you’re assured ahead of time by your trusted partner, the large, security-conscious humanitarian organization, World Vision, that it’s safe to go, you don’t think twice.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Brush your teeth? Drink coffee? Take a shower? I bet that within the first hour of your day you are somehow using safe water. Safe water is so available, that we often overlook its importance.
On July 13th, local Wells Bring Hope volunteers gathered at the home of Founder and President Barbara Goldberg for the annual summer barbecue.
A couple of years ago, Marcy Norton heard Gil Garcetti speak about the water crisis and the work that Wells Bring Hope is doing to combat it. When her next birthday rolled around, Marcy, along with her mother Rita, decided to start a Water Circle with the goal of raising enough money to fund a well. A little over a year later, she reached her goal! In celebration of her success, she sent the following email out to her friends and family:
One of our many stops was Gatawane in the region of Tillaberi. The village is two hours north of the capital of Niamey and close to the Malian border. The main road leading to Gatawane was in great condition, but as soon as we saw the sign announcing our intended destination, we veered onto an unpaved, rocky road to meet the people of Gatawane who were eagerly expecting us.
Months earlier, the village had received the life-saving gift of a borehole well that is now providing clean, safe water to the whole village. Close to 1,650 lives have been transformed since the drilling of this well. My arrival, along with the World Vision staff, was a chance for the villagers to express their gratitude and a chance for me to reveal to the village that their benefactor was as we dedicated the well to the Adami/Robertson family. Laurie, Ben and Gus have been staunch supporters of Wells Bring Hope for several years, and this is the second well that they have provided for the people of rural Niger.
Gatawane is a very special place because from 2004 to 2011, the area has seen environmental changes that have negatively impacted life and livelihood for the local population. The region has registered decreasing rains as well as very high and dry winds that erode the ground and make the land infertile. A locust invasion depleted several harvests, and due to the proximity to the Malian border, bovine theft is not uncommon. This series of disasters was interrupted in the later part of 2012 when Wells Bring Hope funded the drilling of a much-needed borehole well. This ray of hope marks the beginning of the end of many of the village’s problems.