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:
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!