Birthday Water

Have you ever experienced a day without access to clean water? 3 days? A week? What about a lifetime? That is a lot to wrap your brain around isn’t it – a lifetime without clean water? What value would you place on having access to clean water? Can you imagine living without it? I can’t. In fact, I don’t even want to imagine it. But closing my eyes does not change the fact that

663 million people in the world live without clean water.

Thankfully, I am not one of them, and most likely, neither are you.

glass of dirty water

Would you drink this? I wouldn’t.

When I heard Scott Harrison’s story and his commitment to run a charity unlike any other charity in existence (can you name a charity that gives 100% of the donations to the actual cause?), I started telling everyone I met about the amazing work he is doing in the world. I hope you’ll take the time to listen to his story – I promise it will be time well-spent.

This year I want to do more than spread the word – I want to participate in the work.

Most of my readers do not know me offline, have never laid their actual eyes on actual me, nor give a moment’s thought to celebrating my actual Birthday. This year I am asking everyone on WordPress to buy me a present. Actually, don’t send anything to me, instead, give clean water to someone who doesn’t have it – someone who, without us, will never have any hope of access to it.

In case you did not listen to Scott’s story, I want to share with you some of the nuggets that impacted me the most:

Scott spent a year or two as a photographer on board a Mercy Ship. Mercy Ships carry doctors around the world who want to donate their services to people without access to healthcare. One day it occurred to Scott to ask why so many of the people needing medical care were sick in the first place. He started investigating, and guess what he found? That’s right, turns out the lack of clean water has far-reaching ramifications that extend beyond thirst, dirty clothes, and the inability to wash your face.

Many of the people who came to the Mercy Ship for medical treatment could have avoided getting sick in the first place had they had access to clean water. The impact of this truth rocked my world.

It’s one thing not to be able to wash – it’s a whole other thing to get a disease from the only accessible water for miles around.

When I heard that some of the women have to walk 4 hours one way to fill 1 ceramic jug with dirty water, only to spend the remainder of the day carrying dirty water back to their village, I realized once again that I have not a clue how the rest of the world lives (as I sip clean water from a clear, plastic bottle, while raging at 30 minute traffic delays and long lines in Wal-Mart that threaten to disrupt my oh-so-important schedule). Perspective is an amazing thing.

Westerners have to be the most impatient people on the planet – at least Americans are – and I am a very guilty participant in a very real rat-race. Please imagine for a moment spending an entire day walking to and from a dirty water source to bring your family all the water they will have access to that day (read: it will not be enough). Then do it again the next day, and the next, and the day after that, ad infinitum, for the rest of your life. Keep in mind you have no idea what clean water even looks like.

Now imagine your thirteen-year-old daughter getting within a mile of your village with that day’s dirty water, only to drop the ceramic container and watch it shatter. She cannot face the family empty-handed, knowing they will now be without water that day and every day following until they can afford to purchase another ceramic pot, so she hangs herself from the nearest tree.

I watch teenage girls walking through the mall, texting their friends, carrying their half-filled grande Frappucinos, worrying if they are wearing the trendiest clothes or have the ‘right’ hairstyle, and think, “These sweet girls are clueless – just like me.” If we only knew what our lives could look like.

But knowing how the rest of the world lives is not enough – not for people who have the ability to do something about it.

For the next 65 days (January 26 – March 3, 2016), I am offering you the chance to do something about it, to participate in something really worthwhile: My Birthday Campaign.

Remember that 100% of the money you donate to Charity Water is used exclusively for water projects. All of Charity Water’s operating expenses are covered by ‘Angel Investors.’

So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we? You are probably asking “how much do you want me to donate?” At least, I hope you are. WordPress says I have 599 followers to date. I know for a fact that not even a small fraction of that number read my blogs. So let’s do some math:

Take 25% of 599 = 149 (I rounded down). Now let’s assume that on a great day, 25% of that number will see any given blog of mine: that’s 37 people (perhaps too optimistic, but, why not?). I set my donation goal at $350, then donated my age this year to the campaign taking the total to $298. If 37 people read this blog and donate $8.06 each to Charity Water as part of my Birthday Campaign, I will meet my goal (+.22). Wonder what would happen if everyone donated 25% of my age? $13 x 37 = $481. Surpassing my goal would be candles on the icing on my cake!

How many of you would be game to donate my actual age this year?

$52 x 37 = $1,924

Gauntlet thrown.

What would you be willing to give for access to clean water? What are you willing to give to bring access to clean water to someone else?

Please consider making #52 my best Birthday ever!