The Affero Blog
I feel as if I have used this space to write ad nauseum about the grave ills in the world that not only discomfort our fellow human beings, but lead also to their demise. I hope this post is less of that and more helping to lead to a better understanding of why what you do on a monthly basis through your gift is important.
For example, of course you know that people are hungry, children need schooling and people need houses to live in. These are not grandiose theorems that are hotly debated amongst the nation’s leading scholars; rather, they are realities that you know to exist via your own experiences in life. Maybe you have an inkling of what it feels like when your stomach grumbles or you have a headache and find it difficult to think straight because you missed lunch. There’s a probability that you have felt the wind’s sting on a blustery day when a bus was missed or a car broke down. At some point you may even have experienced what it’s like to feel as if you could not advance further beyond in your career field due to a lack of education. These things seem like common sense because the experiences are just that; common.
When it comes to the importance of clean water, I think that we tend to brush it off as “someone else’s problem.” A struggle that is neither relevant to your current state in life, nor small enough that you can personally give clean water to someone in need.
Sure we can spend our time tutoring a student at a local school, or buy a sandwich for the person standing by the side of the highway with a beat up cardboard sign that’s been scrawled upon with a sharpie impeding you to help out any way you can. These are tangible things you can do in order to alleviate someone else’s pain.
You can’t exactly fly to Sub-Sahara Africa with a few gallons of water to help ensure that people are drinking from a water source that is separate from the water source that hundreds of others are using as a source to clean themselves.
Even helping get clean water to areas that are nearby doesn’t always lead to a solution as to why there isn’t access to clean water in the first place. Rare is the opportunity that one has to build a new waterworks system in a city that’s been devastated by a hurricane, tsunami, or just plain lack of maintenance.
I think these are the reasons that clean water tends to be pushed to the back of our minds when it comes to issues to tackle, we can’t fix it easily and therefore it lacks a tangible solution.
However starting in the 1960s, the William Ashe and his family took outings into Baja, Mexico, to help orphanages, camps, and churches install new water systems. These outings, the relationships that were build and the need that was discovered became the foundations of what we know today as Lifewater International.
Lifewater International is an organization which seeks to provide tangible solutions to an issue that is beyond the grasp of many of us. That is why Affero has proudly partnered with them to support their vision of reducing and eventually eliminating the desperate need for clean water to the parts and people of the world that lack the resources to provide clean water for themselves.
Check them out and consider what you can do for to help provide clean water for those in need.
How many times have I flushed the toilet today?
Today I’ve had a shower, washed my hands, washed the dishes (I am a real man), been to the bathroom, washed my car, drank water from the tap and watered my (dying) oh-so-thriving plants.
I like flushing the toilet. I really like it when my kids flush the toilet (hint hint:my son Samuel). I like hot showers.
I take water for granted. And why not? It’s always there…
Or is it?
Across our planet, 884 million people lack access to clean water. That’s just a statistic, right? Until you meet the someone who doesn’t have access to clean water, and we met many of those somebodies during our trip in Uganda.
Me and a Village in the North of Uganda
Lucas, Marc and I set out to visit a village near Lira. We drove in on a psycho rough road ending up spectacularly bogged in a creek. It was amusing. At first.
We went forward. Reversed. Wheels spinning but no progress. Marc and Lucas bounced and yahoo-ed on the back of the car while reversing (not exactly sure who’s idea that was!!?!). Finally, after an hour we spluttered out.
The little village had several huts which made up this impoverished community. As we drove in, the children came running out. The kids were pumped to see visitors, but seemed to hold a sadness. In fact, the whole village has a haunting story – it had only just been resettled. The villagers had returned from spending several years in an IDP(Internal displaced people’s) camp.
An IDP camp(a term new to me) is like a refugee camp except your within your own country. You are internally displaced.
The LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) reeked havoc on this community: killing and stealing children for their war.
The people told us that they were devastated and constantly worried the army would return, so they hadn’t resettled or planted their crops properly. They lacked a hope for the future, wearily hanging onto existence.
Until this trip, I didn’t quite realise how not having access to clean water impacted peoples lives. The people were drinking water that makes them sick, the children were most vulnerable. Until Lifewater International partnered with another organisation and helped out. It was still evident that many of the kids were malnourished and several of them had swollen bellies from worms. This well is bringing hope back to the community and saving lives.
In this region of Uganda only 46% of people have access to clean drinking water.
Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease. (What the!? That’s insane!)
In the developing world, 24,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water. 1.4 million children die as a result of diarrhea each year.
How you can make an impact:
Vote for clean water on The Affero Project
We are excited to announce our May winner… Lifewater International from our Clean Water category!
If you haven’t already, go and visit http://afferoproject.com/organizations/lifewater-international/ and view their profile page, check out their video and learn more about where our funds will be going. Because of your generous support we’re able to contribute $396 to helping build 14 wells in communities surrounding the city of Lira in Uganda.
In mid-June, Marc and Lucas will be traveling to Lira Uganda to visit Lifewater and the projects we’re helping to fund. We’ll be shooting lots of video and photos of all the amazing work we’ve contributed to, and will be posting updates on the blog from June 13-28th (pending internet connectivity).
So a HUGE ‘thank you’ to everyone in our community! Together we are able to do remarkable things and truly change the world. If you’ve not yet joined us, visit http://afferoproject.com/ and decide how much you can give each month, then learn about our categories by clicking on the category images and cast your vote. Every month we’ll have a new winner and the combined funds for that month will be released.
The Affero Team
I want to write about clean water, I really do, but I have a problem. I have no idea what life is like without it. My average day starts like this.
I wake up, start a pot of coffee and use the bathroom. I take a shower, I shave and I enjoy my coffee. The day moves on and I have yet to even think about water.
Most days my teaching team gets to teach outside. This season in particular we get to teach baseball. We have the opportunity to teach kids what running the bases looks like. We get to teach them what catching a pop fly looks like, as well as teaching them how to throw to the cut off to get an out at third and hopefully back to second to teach what a triple play is, if we’re lucky.
These kids stay pretty healthy throughout all of this. They have the ability to change into clean clothes if they need and take medicine if they need. I alone get the chance to take a break in an air-conditioned room and have a solid quart of water and get ready to do it all over again for the next class, never thinking about the fact that clean water gets us through all of this.
I have a friend who is a carpenter by trade. For some ignorant reason when I think of carpenters I think of old guys sitting in rocking chairs whittling away at fallen tree limbs, hoping to make picnic benches and rocking chairs in their free time. Unbeknownst to me, carpenters are a lot more than that and I have done them a lot of injustice in my predisposed thoughts of them.
I want to be the first to say that my ideas of clean water are warped, just misplaced and wrong. After looking into it I want to throw my hands up and say I am unable to be changed in my knowledge of clean water because I am so twisted in my non-knowledge of it.
My carpenter friend reminded me though that he LOVES to work with pieces that are warped. That it brings out this creativity in him that he cannot explain where it comes from. Warped wood is this adventure, out of seemingly nowhere, that keeps him going during the most tedious of jobs.
My idea on what clean water is may be intrinsically warped due to my life as a person coming from the Midwest of the States, and it is something I’ve never been without, but my point is this. There is hope in that I don’t think I’m too warped to not be malleable enough to understand, to be bent into a new thing, to get it, really comprehend what it’s like to be without clean water.
We have links on the site, go ahead, check them out, it only takes minutes to understand the problem of clean water. It takes hours and days and weeks to figure out how to help, but it only takes minutes to understand how warped you might be when it comes to clean water. It’s ok though if you’re warped, a lot of us are.
It’s been said that many hands make work light. That’s so true.
Anyone who knows Lucas knows he has a heart for justice. He goes into schools and churches sharing how young people can make a tremendous difference in our world. He offers engaging mult-media presentations that challenge us to tackle problems facing humanity such as poverty, human trafficking, child soldiers, famine, disease, clean water and more. How can you not love this guy?
As I type this post, I’m reminded of an African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, take someone with you.” The Affero Project is a team effort. Already, a community of talented and inspired people are lending a hand and leading the way forward. If you are reading this post, you are a part of the team.
Welcome aboard! And don’t forget to share with others what you’ve found. Tell your friends about The Affero Project. We are community against poverty and injustice, committed to bring hope, sustainable change, and empowering communities all over the world.
Thank you for joining the movement. We are going far together. You have already lifted a hand in significant ways. God bless you!
David and Amanda Rodriguez, owners of Guaranteed Gutter & Siding in Nashville, approached me about a year ago and plopped down the initial seed money to develop afferoproject.com. Without their early vision and generous gift, where would we be?
Ben, Josh and Shannon at Mellowtown navigated Lucas and I through the various twists and turns of taking our ideas and putting them into a well developed and functioning website. It’s beautiful, don’t you think?
Have you seen our introductory video donated by StoneKap? Or the “I’M IN” campaign video? Incredible. My wife caught me watching it over and over yesterday. It’s phenomenal. It captures so well the heart of what we’re doing. I LOVE IT!
When in Ohio making a presentation, Lucas met Joe. Then Beau, our very own Chief Affangelist, reinforced the tie with the StoneKap team. Soon after, the entire crew of this full service production company jumped in with both feet! I’m blown away by their inventive and creative direction. Thank you Chad, Tom, Shelvia, Dave, Joe, John, Derek, Kevin, Beau, Kevin D., and Robert for your creative work and for your generosity.
This is a blog post and not War and Peace. So I’ll sign off now. Thanks for checking in and watch for more posts to come. Don’t forget to share Affero with your friends and don’t forget to sign up and say “I’M IN!”.