Cholera Ins't Much of a Christmas Present

I overestimated the difference ten years can make and underestimated the difference a year can make. 

One year ago, the small Eagle Air LET410 banked out of Yei, South Sudan, and for the 60th time I wrestled to understand and manage my emotions. In no particular order, I am always confronted with “why do I get to leave,” “are we making any difference,” “there must be more we can do,” “I so love these people,” “look at the metal roofs, things really have improved,” you get the picture. 

This time was different. My son Hampton, recently graduated from college, was staying behind in Yei to work on reporting, construction, relationships and of course, his muscles. My friend Greg Keen and I were headed to Juba to meet with top government officials and to explain on SSTV the power of a very simple water filter. Adam was diligently teaching building concepts as he waited for a brick machine that insisted on arriving late or more accurately, on African Time.

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Over 100 employed now building with bricks made from training

Over 100 employed now building with bricks made from training

That was just one year ago. 

As the plane powered down the dirt runway and banked out over the “Paris of South Sudan,” I smiled. This is what it feels like to invest yourself in a place and a people for a decade. This is what this partnership between a large and ever growing group in the West and the people of South Sudan creates. Relationships lead to trust, trust to freedom, freedom to impact.

It was just a decade ago that…

A half century of struggle had come to an end with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Treaty in 2005. Leaders from the “other side,” or the other tribe were in the process of healing. The air was heavy with pain and hope, and charged with the energy of new dreams. It was then and there, after team building exercises with spaghetti and marshmallows, that the ideas began to flow for educating and healing a nation, a nation on the very bottom of every development goal.  

I overestimated the difference ten years can make and underestimated the difference a year can make. 

From that week of brainstorming, an indigenous, locally controlled, water organization was birthed. The mission was simple: to provide clean water to the people of South Sudan. In the past decade, girls have picked up school books instead of jerry cans, fathers have paid school fees rather than paying for fuel to boil water, mothers have held on to hopes and dreams rather than sick and dying children. Water does that you know. Water is life. Water is basic.

Today we stand at another threshold. Together we look out into the murky future of a country seemingly dedicated to destroying itself. Those who can have left, by the millions. Others would like to leave but are stuck moving from one place to another in hopes of avoiding the next outbreak of violence. However, for many, when the going gets tough, well you know how the saying goes. Those who dreamed dreams a decade ago are still dreaming. Their request is the same as it was then, “Give us a hand and we will build a nation”. It is the stuff dreams are made of, grit, determination, faith, partnership, sacrifice, and friendship.

This powerful filter cleans 500 liters of water in a day and it never breaks down!

This powerful filter cleans 500 liters of water in a day and it never breaks down!

We have launched a campaign to distribute 10,000 Sawyer Water Filters and you get to be a part of it. The Sawyer filter eliminates 99.999% of the pathogens that make kids sick. These filters are easy to use and portable, meaning it goes with the family wherever they run to. Whether the bush or a refugee camp, clean water is a simple filter away. No more cholera, no more typhoid, no more sickness. All of our staff use them as they continue to repair and drill wells. We want every home to have one.

One thing is for sure, we should never underestimate the difference staying in the game makes. Whether one life, one family, one village or an entire nation, we all need a little help from our friends. BNesides, Cholera isn't much of a Christmas present, is it?

Give to our 10,000 filter campaign, $15,00 gets the job done for an entire family, Would you help 10 families right now? Gift The Gift Of Water.