Inspired by Betty Londergan's What Gives 365 and the Bible (not necessarily in that order!), I'm giving away $250 a week in 2011.

This is where I'm recording that journey, and I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Buddies in Burkina

When I was 20 years old, I wanted to go to Africa for the summer. Badly. I sent letters to a variety of volunteer organizations, and for awhile I heard nothing back. Then a letter arrived, inviting me to help at a missionary guest house in Ivory Coast. I accepted right away. The next day, another letter arrived, asking if I would consider a posting in Burkina Faso. In a place called Ouagadougou. I ran to an atlas to find out where it was, then read that name out loud over and over again (try it -- it's fun!), then turned it down because of having already said yes to the other one. It turned out to be a life changing summer -- no regrets about my choice to go to Abidjan -- but I've always been mildly curious what Ouagadougou might have been like.

This is our week to give internationally. I'd like to share a note I received from Rick -- a friend of ours and colleague of my husband's, whose example and influence we've appreciated very much. He told me that this blog encouraged him to be a bit more vocal about what he's doing, in the hope of inspiring others:

Many of you already know that on March 11 - 28, I am headed to Burkina Faso in West Africa to spend 2 weeks in isolated communities drilling for water.  Some who I have shared this with think it sounds very cool, while others think I have flipped out. After being vaccinated for about a dozen diseases, I started to wonder myself.  So, I thought I should share briefly with you what I am up to.

There are 3 basic reasons why I am taking this adventure:

1/    I consider myself one of the luckiest and most blessed people alive.  Most of you reading this e-mail should feel the same.  I realize that God has gifted me a life of privilege greater than 99% of the people in the world.  I want to help those who have not been so richly blessed, and by doing so and talking about it, to encourage others to do the same.  Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the worldWe will be living among tribes where people must walk 3 hours to fetch filthy water.  Children die needlessly every day of water borne diseases. It is so easy to help if you know the need and have the will.

2/    A 28 year old friend of mine from our church (Matt) has taken his engineering degree and work experience over to Burkina Faso to live and work permanently, to bring water and hope through the gospel to these people.  Our church supports him financially, but 7 of us are going over to support him as our friend, in a more tangible way.  We are going to have a 2 week guys' adventure.

3/    Matt works for an organization we also support, called Friends in Action (FIA).  They do amazing work all over the world, including Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world.  Here is the link to the Burkina projects: You can get to other projects from there. 

So, the main reason that I am going, and telling everyone about my adventure, is to encourage others to do the same, either through stepping out or by giving financially.  I and my 6 partners have paid for our own trips, so we do not need any money.  But FIA does need constant support, as it costs $8,500 for each well they drill.  They hope to drill 15 wells in Burkina Faso this year, and if we do our jobs, we will drill 3 of them.  Our church is raising money for one of the wells, but you will see many other projects going on around the world.

I know that it is often hard to know when you give to charity if it is going to make it to the people that need it.  I know that FIA are one of the good guys.  If you have some money to give this year, these folks will put it to good use.  Any amount you can give will help to bring clean water, radio communication, health care, orphanage buildings or one of many other services to thousands of people, while also ministering to their spiritual needs.

When he got back, Rick kindly sent these photos, and this quick update:

Overall, we had a blast.  We drilled 5 holes.  The first 2 were dry but we hit a great water source on 3#.  Hole #4 was so wet it kept caving in so we had to abandon it, and hole #5 was another huge success.  We worked 11 days out of 12 and came home tired but happy.

I was chatting with another friend of mine this week, who's also a friend of Rick's. She too has been inspired, and is challenging her kids to be more on the lookout for needs in their community so that she can make a weekly donation to something meaningful to them. As I've written here before, this project is helping to sharpen our perception of need -- what a great thing!

So this week our international donation will go to Friends in Action. My husband's company helps provide safe drinking water here in Canada -- it's seems fitting that one of his colleagues would invite us to do the same near Ouagadougou. (Go ahead -- say it again out loud).

1 comment:

  1. This is such a wonderful idea. I'm Rick's daughter and have done my Masters thesis in philanthropy. I am so happy he sent me this link. I'm excited to follow your giving journey. :)

    Chelsey Davis