Rural Zambia, a vast, drying savanna dotted with baobabs, elephants and (somehow) the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Anita, a Grade 9, 19 year old who’s “working hookey” to dig for her family’s drinking, cooking, and bathing water, labours through the eight-hour round trip. She passes multiple broken down hand pumps atop fertile wells on her frequent migration, a common theme among our surveys of the area’s (lack of) water sources.
We volunteer for The SAM Project, a small NGO who, along with nutritional education and sustainable agriculture programs, is implementing a community run hand pump repair and maintenance scheme. The rusting, taunting monuments are the legacy of day-saving developers who ticked cost effective boxes before leaving in Land Rovers with upturned rear-view mirrors. It’s important to turn our own L.R. mirror upon ourselves, compare our own actions, weigh their consequences, and see where we fit into it all.
Unlike the insisting grant proposals and websites, we’re not saving the world. At most, we’re making it slightly more merciful for a small number of people. But, progress at this scale, no matter how infinitesimal, matters. It matters to Anita, who, although only one of millions, if not billions, is no less deserving of our time, money, thought and effort. Goodness knows we, the socioeconomic lottery winners, have enough of these resources to share as we wonder what to do with ourselves in Maslow’s pyramid penthouse.
The point is not to feel guilty when you flick open a tap to fill your ice cube trays; convenient, clean water is a basic human right. The point is definitely not to feel morally baptized when you redirect the second sports car savings to a blind donation dart throw; remember the broken down boreholes. The point, we think, is to give your excess a hard, honest stare and admit its potential, a potential that requires effort and research and time to accomplish, but is still no less present and paramount.
A productive processing of your excess may not change the world, but it could change people’s worlds.
If you achieve this realization, we challenge you to action. We have multiple projects we consider would address dire need effectively but, in a world of abundance, are financially prevented. Find out more, at gofund.me/5554t52z.
And remember, the ocean is comprised of droplets.
Please, if you have
any questions, critiques or outright disagreement, we invite discussion
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