India - causelife clean water

A Reason to Celebrate

The entire village is there. Dignitaries arrive. Ribbons are cut. Fireworks go off in the background. Streamers fly up in the air. Children splash and play, and prayers of dedication are prayed.

Around the world … water is celebrated. When a new well or clean water source is provided, it is commemorated in the same way that we would celebrate a grand opening, a new building dedication, a house warming, or a birthday. It is a party!

You see, they know access to clean water will change their lives … everything about their lives. So, it is something worth celebrating.

La Iglesia Antombran - causelife clean water

Benjamin Franklin once said, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” But, our wells are never dry. We no longer know and understand the worth of water.

The truth is, we have forgotten how much of our daily life revolves around water. From the first flush of the toilet, to our shower, to brushing our teeth … our day begins with water, continues with water and ends with water.

Recently, I stood on a hillside in Africa watching young girls carrying water on their backs. I only watched part of their journey and can simply imagine how much further they had to walk. It was in the middle of the day and I couldn’t help but think what other productive things they could be doing with their time. Not to mention the hardship on their bodies carrying heavy loads for such a long distance … and at such a young age. This daily chore has been shown to literally stunt the growth of these girls leading to lifelong issues including difficulty in childbirth.

Ethiopia water crisis

In Africa, I also stood next to the water source that my family was able to provide. You can read more about that here. On that day, water became more than a cause … more than an idea … more than a need in some far off place around the world. It was real. And the children who would benefit from this new clean water … well, they were very real too and running all around me. It hit me that this water will bathe them, clean them, and feed them. This water will truly give them life.

Over the last few years, we have learned a lot about water. We know we should recycle our water bottles. We know that the earth has a limited supply of water and that we should conserve it. And, we know that not everyone has access to clean water. But, there is one thing we still need to learn. One truth we still need to wake up to … how easy it is to make a difference.

In my book Awake, I write: It is hard to get our minds around the need for clean water … numbers like that are impossible to really grasp, and it is so easy to get overwhelmed. We must focus in on the one child we can help, on the one village where we can make the difference, and on the one story that we can change …

Noel Yeatts - Evah Mugerwa - World Help

Tomorrow, on World Water Day, I will be running my first half marathon. (OK, so maybe more like walking … my goal is simply to finish!). And I could not do this race without water. At every aid station as I sip the one thing that will keep me going, I will be thankful. I will appreciate. I will remember the ones who still do not have access to clean water. And, I will celebrate. There may not be fireworks, or a ribbon to cut … but there will be a reason to celebrate. The life-giving gift of clean water is worth celebrating.

So this year, let’s go deeper – lets go from being aware … to being active.  And let’s give people something to celebrate all around the world.


On the Field: New Hope for Thousands of Haitians

Today, I’m on my way with a World Help team to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere . . . Haiti.

In January 2010, a devastating 7.0 earthquake shook the tiny island nation to the core. Port-au-Prince was reduced to a pile of smoking rubble, and thousands of children suddenly became orphans . . . with only memories of a life they would never know again.

Haiti Medical Care

I remember being surrounded by mountains of debris when our team landed on the ground. The images of hopelessness will never fade from my memory: I knew our response had to be urgent, immediate, and effective.

For months, we worked with a network of aid partners in Haiti to distribute food, set up tents, supply tools to remove the rubble, provide medical care for the sick and injured, and organize rescue care for orphans.

But we wanted to do more than just give temporary help; we wanted to make long-term, sustainable investments—improvements that would address the deep-seeded problems that Haiti has struggled with for decades.

We immediately went to work addressing some of the biggest obstacles to Haiti’s progress—the glaring absence of clean water, medical care, and a program to rescue children who are suffering from the debilitating effects of both.

Haitian Children

On this trip, I’ll have the honor of dedicating two extraordinary advancements to the future of our work in Haiti [ . . . ]

Read more about my trip to Haiti
on World Help’s Blog


Dirty Brook

Quebrada Sucia . . . is the name of a small, impoverished community in Guatemala. In Spanish, it literally means “dirty brook.”

Watch the video on Vimeo.

Located in a remote, arid region of Guatemala, the 250 residents living in this community continually struggle with low-water supplies. The dirty brook, which is a substantial distance away, is their only option for water, as few can afford buying the purified alternative. In the summer, the brook is nearly dry and stagnant, and in the winter months, it becomes a destination for discarded garbage and waste.

One villager named Don Renato told us that because of the distance to the brook, the children of Quebrada Sucia often shoulder the burden of fetching water for their families—a chore that takes several hours a day. The children regularly miss school to help carry this contaminated water, which is a perpetual cause of illness and malnutrition.

There wasn’t much hope for the next generation to escape the cycle of poverty caused by the dirty brook—until now.

Last Christmas, we asked you to spread the joy of the season by Changing the Present for impoverished communities around the globe. So many of you stepped up to the challenge—giving generously toward our goal of revolutionizing five villages with clean water. Quebrada Sucia is one of those villages.

After a long, tragic history of disease and lack of opportunity caused by dirty water, hope arrived in the most simple of forms—a sparkling pool of fresh, clean water pouring from the community’s new water well.

I was there last month, watching the people of Quebrada Sucia bask in their new gift. It was clearly indicated on the beaming faces of the old and young alike, as this gift means far more than you or I could ever imagine. Clean water symbolizes an improved economy, better health, the time to pursue educational opportunities, and a new future for their children.

Today, Quebrada Sucia is a very different place.

Even though the village still bears the name “dirty brook,” it is no longer an indication of the fate of its residents but is a continual reminder of how far they have come . . . because clean water changes everything.