Welcome to my Living Water International site!
Whether you're stopping by out of curiosity to learn more about the Global Water Crisis or seeking to donate toward the cause, I'm very happy to have you. Many of you have heard me talk about the water crisis since my reverse-culture shock experience when returning from Ghana, West Africa to the States in 2006 with Azusa Pacific University. The social injustices I witnessed there are what I long to reveal to you here in an effort to build awareness nationally and build water wells globally. For some here, we're connected as family or as friends whereas others visiting may be talented souls I've been blessed to simply cross paths with! Whatever walk of life you're journeying through, thank you for sharing 10 minutes of your time. We all know we can get lost in Facebook for 30 minutes, but this time let's get lost in something worthy of our curiosity. Check out LWI's video, dive into the issue and discover how valuable you are in conquering this crisis.
Enter at your own risk. Personally, I experienced the water crisis first-hand in Ghana, Africa where I lived a short-time with these kids you'll meet on your screen. My eyes opened wide, God broke my heart inside and I absorbed the "third world" into my own where I've since wept and kept them transcendently with me. I have been foolish to keep them halfheartedly with me when, all along as God has so patiently and passionately revealed, these kids are meant to be shared with you. I apologize for the delay, but it is with deep appreciation and heartbreaking awe that I, along with Living Water International, introduce you to your neighbors overseas, The Thirsty.
Who Are They?
How do we comprehend such a number? Approximately 6.8 billion people are living in this world today.
1 billion people of our world's 6.8 billion will go to sleep tonight without clean drinking water. Some of them will not wake up tomorrow morning as a result of dehydration or disease. The photos to your left were taken in Kulkpene, Ghana where I lived with some of the happiest kids I've ever met in my life. Check 'em out. Though fortunate enough to have a nearby stream for gathering water and growing crops, these children suffer fatal diseases unknowingly as this same stream is infected with parasites. In fact, 5,000 children under the age of 5 die every day as a result of foul water. To break it down, that's every...15...seconds. This number has faces. They are our desperate, distant neighbors. The Global Water crisis..."is a silent crisis experienced by the poor and tolerated by those with the resources, technology and the political power to end it." The current water crisis claims more lives through disease than war, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis & earthquakes combined. The reality is 2.2 million deaths occur each year as a direct result of drinking contaminated water.
How can we translate such a staggering number? It is the equivalent of roughly 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.
Dirty water is holding back human progress by confining humanity to lives of poverty, vulnerability and insecurity. These bottom billion suffer for something we take for granted every day. The average North American uses 400 liters a day whereas the average person in the developing world uses 10 liters of water every day for drinking, washing and cooking (Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council - WSSCC). In America, when we consider water, it is for recreational purposes: amusement water parks, sports, casual leisure, etc. In Africa, water is survival. Water + America = Recreation. Water + Africa = Survival.
Onto a New Equation... Why Water?
Water = Sanitation = Health = Education = Economy. Access to clean water is the foundation for most forms of development. Underdeveloped nations depend on swamps of muddy, dirty water to stay hydrated in order to survive. They don't have the luxury of opening up the fridge to get some Brita-filtered H20, let alone running water from the sink. The swamps from which they drink carry a number of life-threatening diseases like cholera, typhoid and dysentery. Animals defecate in the same water source from which people drink to stay hydrated. 150 million school kids are severely affected by waterborne parasites such as ringworm, whipworm and hookworm. Some kids may carry up to 1000 parasites at a time. Many of these children spend all day walking (on average 7 miles) to get water from surrounding swamps and often miss school. Poor health directly reduces cognitive potential, undermines school through absenteeism, attention-deficit and, ultimately, drop-out.
Without access to clean drinking water, opportunities for education are lost and the chance to achieve an economy is destroyed. "Water management is a key factor in the global battle to remove the scourge of extreme poverty and build secure and prosperous lives for hundreds of millions of people in the developing 3rd world" (World Health Organization, 2007). 90% of all diseases in the world are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
When is the "Global Water Crisis" No Longer a Crisis?
Could some non-profit sectors provide sustainable water more efficiently than government agencies? Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to “reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.” The World Bank offers a range of cost estimates to reach MDG goals. They estimate the cost of reaching “basic levels of coverage…in water and sanitation” to be $9 billion at the low end, and $30 billion a year for “achieving universal coverage” for water and sanitation. The same report acknowledges that the “institutional arrangements” do not exist to reach the goal in any case. (Food for thought: There are currently 793 Billionaires in the world as of May 2009. Digesting this number along with the horrific statistics mentioned above makes our food very difficult to swallow.) On another note, we as Americans currently spend $61 Billion on soft drinks every year.
Would it take $9 billion or $30 billion? What is the number for just water without sanitation? The fact of the matter is that a $9 billion or a $30 billion check written tomorrow to the UN or to any development agency in the world would not solve the world water crisis. As many of the experts point out, what is lacking are competent, responsible implementers.
Living Water International exists to demonstrate the love of God by helping communities acquire desperately needed clean water, and to experience "living water" - the gospel of Jesus Christ, which alone satisfies the deepest thirst. Since 1990, LWI has completed water projects for over 7,000 communities in 26 countries with major progress spanning Africa, India and Latin America. "At LWI our next $10 million will go where our last $10 million went: to training, consulting and equipping people all over the world to execute the most appropriate, cost-effective integrated water solutions there are and having them teach others to do the same." By 2008, 10.2 million people were served through LWI's water wells.
How Can We Help?
Meeting with the VP of Development this Fall, I learned that Living Water International's mission is to substantially ease the global water crisis while addressing root causes such as injustice, oppression, and abject poverty. As this happens, communities and worldviews are transformed — both among those in desperate physical need, and among those who have been blessed with much (like you and me!). It takes $ 0.98 to provide clean, safe water to one person for one year. That's right. 98 cents for an entire year. Your donation through this fundraising page will directly support Living Water International initiatives now and into 2010. Our mission: to raise awareness on the water crisis (tell your friends!) and to raise money toward an LWI water well in a village of most desperate need. Your contribution is digging a well for The Thirsty...thus saving lives, furthering education and advancing economies.
As mentioned, the Global Water crisis is a silent crisis experienced by the poor and tolerated by those with the resources, technology and the political power to end it. Refuse to tolerate it, choose to change it. Will you donate? A $10 or $20 gift may be one small drop in a big bucket, but together our bucket will overflow! This isn't just water. This is opportunity...education...life. Please consider joining me in bringing clean water to our thirsty neighbors. Community by community, we can work toward a world where clean water is available to everyone!
For more information, please visit www.water.cc.
Matthew 25:40 "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me."
*Statistics taken from LWI's official website (www.water.cc)