It all started when ... Back in November I got a mailing from a charity I never heard of. I set the envelope by my laptop to check it out. A week later, I had a vivid dream about an old woman standing in a small mucky river frying chicken pieces using the river water. She was tasting the liquid as she cooked, dumping some out of the pan and scooping up more water as she cooked. Upstream from her was a flock of ducks in the water, and upstream from them were more women washing clothes in the river. I felt sorry for the woman cooking, and disgusted at her having to use the river water to cook. I woke that morning, forgetting about the dream, and decided to Google the charity on the envelope by my computer to either donate or throw it. Living Water Intl. was one of the first things to come up, not the charity I googled. I never heard of them, so I clicked the web site. When I saw pictures of hand pumps, water and kids, I remembered the drea m and was moved by a strong feeling that I was being called to go. After checking them out on Charity Navigator and other sites, I signed up. Three days later I went to a meeting with some new friends at a small church I've driven by hundreds of times but never paid attention to the name. It was dark when I got there, and didn't know the name until leaving. The church is Living Water, in Lino Lakes MN. I had chills going up and down my body, and knew for sure I made the right decision. The next sign was a Guidepost magazine daily email with a story from Mysterious Ways. The title was, A Need For Water. Ok God, I get the message!
I enjoyed getting to know ... Our team of the other 3 volunteers- Matt, Mario and Stan, and the Living Water guys, Mario, Abraham, Dennis, Nuggett, Emelio, Alfredo and Sony. And of course the locals, esp. the young men who were helping us. We couldn't communicate other than smiles, but that was enough.
Things that challenged and changed me ... Not knowing Spanish was challenging. Seeing all the poverty in such a beautiful country was hard, and really got me to not only appreciate how "rich" we are in the U.S., but now knowing we have way too much. A simple life full of family and friends and God is all we really need, and they proved that. This whole experience has changed me, from the call to go to the trip itself, and the amazing things that have happened to me since.
I will never forget ... The smiles on all the faces. Especially the young boys I was tossing Frisbee's with and teaching some how to throw properly. They would call out "Gringo" to get my attention to throw to me or me to them. I had 2-3 Frisbees coming at me all the time. They totally wore me out!