Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eric's and Lori's Birthday Wish List: Water

Warning: This post may seem presumptuous,
but it's a risk we're willing to take.

As most of you know, we're leaving in NINE days to go back to Ethiopia to pick up Markos and bring him home. We are so very excited to go back to Ethiopia - not just to get Markos, but also to be in Ethiopia again, to travel around and see more of the country, to learn more of the culture, and meet more of the people. There is a part of me that finds it strange that I have such a strong desire to go back to a place that broke my heart the last time I was there; a place where I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I will have my heart broken all over again.

When I look through the pictures from our first trip, in the background of many of the pictures that we took driving through the city -- the CAPITAL city -- I see large yellow plastic water jugs being carried. Being carried by children. Being carried by the elderly. Being carried by women. Being carried up roads so steep that I truly thought that the van we were riding in was NEVER going to make it. Water. Walking and walking for water. And this was in the capital!

On our next trip, we will travel south. South, not quite to where Markos lived, but far enough out to get the idea of how he lived. In rural Ethiopia, women and/or children sometimes walk for hours to get water. Miles & miles to fill that yellow jug with water. Then, they get up the next day and do it again. And the water they walk to get is not clean. It is teeming with parasites and bacteria. It sickens and kills. Here's a few statistics:
  • More than 1/2 of Africa has no access to safe drinking water.
  • 76% of Ethiopians have no access to safe drinking water.
  • Every 19 seconds, a child dies from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation facilities.
I prayed that I'd be changed by what I saw in Ethiopia, and I have been. What I fear is that I will forget and that I will come home to my nice, cushy, American life and forget. That I will become complacent and happy to keep the news turned off and my blinders on, so I don't have to have my heart broken. But, I certainly hope that doesn't happen.

One thing that became convictingly clear while we were there the first time, was how very much we have, how very little we need (if anything!), but how very much others elsewhere in the world need. And need to SURVIVE. Not to be more comfortable, not to be "happier", not to live an easier life, but need simply to LIVE. And, so, after struggling to get through Christmas this year with this painful knowledge, Eric and I have decided that we absolutely WILL be giving up our birthdays this year. (This is where the slightly presumptuous part comes in!)

As you might know, I turn 40 the day that we leave Ethiopia to come home with Markos. I'm not having a big party (and have threatened Eric's life re: any surprise parties!). I don't want gifts. I don't even want cards. What I want is for you all to donate to the well that we will be sponsoring through Charity:Water. Each campaign lasts for 90 days, so we will start around my birthday and end around Eric's birthday -- thereby giving up both of our birthdays!

I will send more information later, but for now, please know that we have all that we need and so much more. Our heart's desire is that all the beautiful people in Africa would have at least the simple basic necessity of clean water. That other little boys like Markos will not have their mother, brother, and sister die from disease caused by the unclean water that they were drinking, thereby forcing their father to relinquish them for adoption.

We hope to raise $5,000 which will cover the cost of drilling a well in Africa, supply a rural village with clean water for 20 years, and train the local men to drill and maintain the well! $20 will provide one person with clean water for 20 years!! That means that with the cost of birthday cards and stamps these days, the sacrifice of 4 birthday cards will provide one person with clean water for 20 years. 100% of your donations to our Charity: Water campaign will go directly to the well drilling project, and in 2 years, we will receive the satellite coordinates to the well that was dug and be able to go to Google Earth and see the area where the well is located.

I know that some of you might also want to buy gifts for Markos when we get home, but again, we have all we need. Truly. Markos is already going to be overwhelmed with all the toys and such that he already has waiting for him here. Please save your money and give it to the well in honor of his family in Ethiopia instead.

OK, this was my little heads-up, we're going to be hitting you up, warning. :-) As I said, more information will be coming after we're home. Just wanted to catch you before you start sending those birthday cards, or buying birthday gifts (MOM!) ;-) Instead, watch the following video and begin praying about giving to our well!

For additional information about Charity: Water, go to:

1 comment:

  1. Most definitely! Fabulous idea. I will check into making this a service project for our school. The 7th graders are all wrapping up a lengthy unit on Africa!