World Water Day & Planet Changer!

Today is world water day. The theme for this year is:

“World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.”

Creating sustainable, eco-solutions to providing communities in rural areas with fresh water is what we do at Planet Changer!

If you would like to make a sustainable eco-safe difference then I would love to have you join the planet Changer team and make a donation today in honor of World Water Day! You can donate here:

We are currently working on two new spring protections in Uganda and are ready to continue making a difference and inspiring hope!

Monty

 

Sometimes The Answer Is No

I like saying yes.
Perhaps that is because I am a pleaser at heart.
I also tend to root for the underdog in most situations.
I think that is why I am still a #mariners fan.

Today I have been hiking through the rural farming district of Tororo Uganda. My purpose here is to locate and assess potential water springs that my organization #planetchanger might protect in order to provide clean water for communities who have none.

My heart and soul long to say yes to every community I visit. As I hike down to the watering hole, women and children are scooping murky water and pouring it into a smattering of jerry-cans that lie around that they will then lug a great distance to their huts and homes.

When they see us arrive, their eyes light up with hope. Perhaps fewer babies will die, maybe fewer community members will get cholera or some of the sickness if we work with them to protect the spring and provide clean water.

I like saying yes.
But, sometimes, I have to say no.

Today, we were climbing down a bouldery hill into an area where people were collecting their water from a dirty spring, but that was all they had access to.

The hike was long and hot, the trail was small and awkward, and the spring site was really large. This would be a hard project for us to complete.

On the way to the spring, I passed by a series of graves. This one gave me a gut punch:

I “really” wanted to say yes to this project. No momma should have to lose a 1 one-year-old baby because of water sickness.

After the assessment was finished, it was clear that this water site would be too large for us to do. The cost would be huge, about 10 times the cost of a normal water project. The road needed to access the water spring was so bad that we could not get the bricks (hard-cores) and materials needed anywhere close to where they needed to be. When you operate on a small budget, sometimes you have to say no.

So, the answer to this one was no.

And that hurt my soul.

I paused as I walked back past the graves. Most of the people buried there we 36-42 years old. Also too young to die. I looked again at the grave of the one-year-old and said, “I’m sorry.”

I argue with God a lot in moments like this.

I wish I had been born into a family with millions, or, I figure God could at least throw me a PowerBall win so I could say yes to more projects that inspire hope and create healthy thriving communities. But I wasn’t, and the PowerBall hasn’t hit for me.

While visiting a potential water project site a young man named John Richard Omsungu said,

“You see our conditions in Africa. We are surviving on God’s nature (natural water supply). We need spring protection for clean water. Please, will you help us with getting clean water? 

While my NGO Planet Changer is small, and although we operate on a small budget, we have accomplished some amazing things that truly humble me.

Since 2011, we have protected approximately 50 springs in rural Uganda, bringing clean water to tens-of-thousands. Communities that are now healthier and have hope. Communities that have come together to help build their water system with our National staff creating sustainable solutions that they are proud of and helped create. That continues to inspire me.

So, I like to say yes.

Today I had to say no to some potential projects.

But, I also said yes to the next round of water systems that we will able to accomplish together with the people who will benefit from their creation.

Thank you for helping me say yes to as many opportunities as possible when you invest in what we do at www.planetchanger.org

Today I heard “thank you-thank you-thank you” from many men and women who we have partnered with to bring clean water to their communities. I tend to find myself saying the same words back to them back in these moments. “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life. We are all one no matter where we are from, and at Planet Changer we know that #waterislife.

Together we are Inspiriting hope!

I Need you!

ebola kits screen shot

That might seem like a strange blog title, but it is true, I really do need you. This Saturday we will be assembling 250 Ebola Caregiver kits to ship to Sierra Leone. I have partnered with World Vision to help protect the men and women who have courageously chosen to deal with containing this outbreak, as well as helping people through the devastating loss of friends and family.

I really need your help in 3 areas:

1. Funding the cost for 250 kits. The cost is $30.00 per kit. On your phone, text the word “GIVE30” to: 1-855-581-1777 you can donate $30.00 safely and securely.

2. Show up and build some kits. If you are able to come to the gym at Snoqualmie Valley Alliance Church this Saturday from 10am to noon with your family and friends, we will have a great time doing something meaningful together! directions All the items will be grouped in stations ready for us to assemble and prepare for shipping. I will have some info at the bottom of this post about what is in the kit.

3. Spread the word. While Ebola is not a daily threat in the U.S, it is still a crisis in West Africa. Help me keep people informed and motivated to make a difference where they can. Feel free to share this blog post as a way to do just that!

When people in the  U.S heard the report of one or two people confirmed to have entered the States carrying the  EBOLA virus, panick ensued. In Western Africa Ebola is still spreading. In fact, there is widespread belief by WHO and CDC officials that the outbreak numbers are much higher than are being reported.

As of December 12th, 2014 there are now more cases of ebola in Sierra Leone than in Liberia or Guinea with total cases just under 18,000 globally. This is particularly alarming as there remain far fewer ebola treatment centers in Sierra Leone as compared to Liberia. This graph displays the total ebola treatment centers completed or planned in the three countries. Note the significant lack of centers in Sierra Leone. There are currently 4 centers with just 8 more planned.

ebola treatment centers

 

What is in the Kit?  Latex gloves, face masks, face shield, protective gown, biohazard waste bag, soap, disinfectant, spray bottle, Acetaminophen, oral rehydration salts, information about disease control, and a handwritten note of encouragement from your congregation

Who determined the contents of the Kit?  Combination of WHO recommendations plus input from WV health experts and World Vision Sierra Leone staff.

Who supplies the products in the Kit?  McKesson, the largest provider of healthcare products in the country, is our supplier.

How will the completed Kits get to Sierra Leone?  Completed Kits will be shipped to Sierra Leone through World Vision’s established supply chain.

In Sierra Leone, World Vision is:
  • Providing personal protective equipment for health professionals
  • Organizing awareness, prevention, and education campaigns
  • Training and coordinating burial teams

World Vision-trained staff in Sierra Leone are organizing massive awareness, prevention, and education campaigns to protect children from the disease through radio and house-to-house information sharing.

The organization is training faith leaders, other influential community authorities, and frontline community health workers to share prevention messages at the community and household levels.

Spiritual leaders, including many pastors, have been central to Ebola prevention efforts. “When so many communities face such terrible suffering, the church must be there to combat fear, stigma, isolation, and hopelessness with both love and tangible support,” said Bruno Col, World Vision communications director in West Africa.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden is now expressing concern over the rising cases in Sierra Leone and the need for quick action by major governments and others. “Speed. That’s key to ending the Ebola epidemic, otherwise, Ebola could become a permanent disease in West Africa. That’s exactly the risk we face now. That Ebola will simmer along, become endemic and be a problem for Africa and the world, for years to come,” Frieden tells NPR. “That is what I fear most.”  The biggest challenge right now is in Sierra Leone, he says, where the epidemic shows no signs of slowing down. New cases continue to rise exponentially. Last week, the country reported nearly 400 cases, or more than three times the number of cases reported by Guinea and Liberia combined. (taken from WV church response update)

World Vision is also helping through education. Working together with faith leaders to help inform people about curtailing the spread of Ebola, and helping in a sanitary and dignified way to bury those who have died from the disease.

Bodies of those who have died from Ebola carry high concentrations of the virus that can spread to others through contact. Family members and friends who follow the local practice of washing and preparing their loved ones’ bodies for burial are at high risk of contracting the disease.

With funding from the British Department for International Development (DFID), World Vision is taking a leadership role in training, equipping, and coordinating burial teams to provide burials for Ebola victims in Sierra Leone that preserve tradition, yet prevent further contamination.

World Vision leads a national consortium of organizations providing safe burials, and coordinates burial teams in six districts. When a death call comes into one of the organization’s call centers, an eight-man team responds. (taken from WV church response update)

Thanks for partnering to make a difference.

Monty

Sierra Leone: Safe and dignified burials curb Ebola from World Vision Church on Vimeo.

Ebola Response: Channels of Hope Sierra Leone from World Vision Church on Vimeo.