Water Changes Everything

Water Changes Everything

Meeting with the Minister of Water. -Photo by Lori Dorman

On our final day at the Aregash Lodge in Ethiopia, the owner came over and said, “God works in mysterious ways… The Water Minister of Ethiopia surprised me with a visit today. He came all the way from Addis Ababa.”


Water Demonstration. -Photo by Lori Dorman

We held an impromptu meeting at the lodge where the minister and his associates sat and watched a filter demonstration. This was the first time he had seen such technology and was in awe. He showed us the chlorine tablets they had been using and lamented about the issues he had with them.


Meeting with Minister of Water, Awassa. -Photo by Lori Dorman

He then connected us with the local minister of water for Awassa, where we came up with a solution for a village in the surrounding area that need clean water desperately.


Water Demonstration in Awassa. -Photo by Lori Dorman

This community was in the area we heard had airborne diseases, and there happened to be quite a severe sandstorm the day we arrived to implement the filters. The weather was extreme, it was a totally different feeling from the other implementations. The crowd looked on interested, but not very happy.


Rural Sidama. -Photo by Lori Dorman

This was probably the worst well we had seen. The water level had decreased a lot and the options were uncovered stagnant water in the dry sandy area. The people complained of the taste and how they were getting sick. This was the first time where we visited a location where the people looked hopeless. This was because they had reached such dire states, and the community had become somber.


-Photo by Lori Dorman

As soon as the water was filtered, we began handing it out to the children who were severely dehydrated. They all patiently waited their turn, but as soon as they were handed the water and reassured there was more where that came from, they became to drink with such fervor that clear drips of water were falling down their their faces as the women of the community looked on with intense satisfaction.


-Photo by Lori Dorman


-Photo by Lori Dorman

We were all surprised how quickly the mood changed. There were cheers, smiles and a swarm of people around the filters learning how to use and clean them properly.


-Photo by Lori Dorman


-Photo by Lori Dorman

The leader of the community left us with these words:

“This changes everything.”

Learn more about why water matters and how you can help by visiting WavesforWater.org

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Write a comment
  1. jen 17 July, 2013, 17:16

    Yay!!! Wonderful accomplishment.

    Reply this comment
  2. Heather 17 July, 2013, 18:20

    I LOVE THIS!!!!

    Reply this comment
  3. Zoe - SlowMama 17 July, 2013, 20:56

    Awesome, Jamie.

    Reply this comment
  4. Megan 17 July, 2013, 22:45

    This really brought such a joy to my heart.

    Reply this comment
  5. Laura 18 July, 2013, 19:03

    I have the chills! Fantastic!

    Reply this comment
  6. Tom Leykis 29 August, 2013, 10:57

    Just an FYI, neither “god” nor your imaginary “jeebus” had anything to do with this. Nothing. Engineers, scientists, good managers and operational people and MONEY solve these issues. Period, end of story, full stop.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne 29 August, 2013, 13:50

      Oh “Tom”, you’re back. I was thinking about your last comment. The one you worked so hard on. Other people told me after that comment popped up on my blog that the exact same comment was used all over the internet in articles about the Time cover. You really wanted people to read it, I guess.

      I can empathize with how you feel. I remember making similar comments. For me, it was anger. At around five years old the realization of my own mortality set in and how unalterable it was. Feeling the lack of control and the extreme fear in the thought of nonexistence. Pondering these issues from an existentialist point of view it was absolutely frightening to allow my mind to wander into the labyrinth of existential thoughts. Anyway, I think my anger stemmed from the comfort I saw in those with faith and what I perceived as ignorant bliss, as well as the hypocrisy and hurt that kind of blind faith caused. I directed more of my anger at the Christian faith than others because of the privilege Western Christianity held, and the fact that because of that, many self-proclaimed Christians were doing so much damage.

      So, I get it.

      However, the word “God” mentioned only one time in a quote in this post was said by the owner of the Ethiopian lodge, and the Ethiopian Coptic Church is not only about faith, but is integrated into much of the Ethiopian culture. So, I would suggest not mocking a culture that has such a rich history and compassion for others.

      Also, it would probably be best to not assume knowledge about another’s faith, because you clearly keep doing that with me, and I think it is pretty clear you don’t understand my beliefs at all.

      Finally, it is amazing how money has caused a lot of the global issues and yet, because of industrialization and globalization still has the potential to solve so much of it, so yes? Likewise, Engineers and scientists are not innocent of causing problems on this earth, but they are also in the position to solve almost all major problems our species is currently facing.

      Coincidentally, the revolutionary Sawyer filters we are using in Ethiopia were created by a Christian engineer that felt called to aid in solving the global water crisis. So, I think your animosity is best directed towards Christians that are actually using their faith to cause harm rather than good. Whether you believe that religion is the opiate for the masses, there are actually people who are making positive contributions to this world because of their faith, and I think that it may be best to leave them alone.

      Also, I’m a bit confused on why you keep coming back on here. Unfortunately, with posts like this, it is taking away from the main message, which you have also said to be so important- raising funds. With that being said, I have told the moderators to not allow any more comments that are attempting to be demeaning and completely off-topic. I apologize, and you are welcome to email me and we can continue this conversation privately.

      You are welcome to respectfully disagree, but I’d prefer to spare everyone (especially on posts like this) the theological debate.

      Just realize the issues you have with religion and faith are your own. You can speak out against injustice, but remember that the frustration many feel towards organized religion is not helpful when used against all people of faith. I found working out my own issues with the false virtue of so many self- described “Christians” was healing, and allowed me to be more compassionate towards all people.

      Hope this helps! Now go surf or go to Disneyland or something. This is heavy stuff, time to lower your cortisol levels.

      Yay water!

      Reply this comment
    • Brandy 29 August, 2013, 14:57

      I’m very sorry that you feel the need to write something like this on such a positive post about people receiving help that they so desperately needed to survive without water borne illnesses. Engineers, scientists, good managers, and operational people did not bring this project to Awassa…people who have a deep faith and a heart for ministry did it solely because they have compassion for others. They gained nothing out of doing this, as a matter of fact, they spent a lot of their own time and resources to ensure that people in another country, people that they did not even know personally, had clean drinking water. I encourage you to think about the last one that you did something so profound. Perhaps if you’d spend more time thinking about how to serve and help others without any benefit to yourself, you’d have less time to criticize something that you do not even try to understand.
      It’s honestly pointless and a waste of time to try to convince those of us who have a faith in God that he isn’t real, or that he is “imaginary”, because contrary to what your probably believe, we have faith because we can see God’s work in our lives on a daily basis. This is because we have allowed him to work in our lives. Perhaps this is why you have so little compassion for others, because you refuse to believe that not everything is about YOU.

      Reply this comment
  7. Jeebus 29 August, 2013, 14:03

    Mr. Leykis, it’s redundant to put a period after a full stop.

    Reply this comment
  8. Elizabeth 29 August, 2013, 14:36

    You know, Tom, I am not a Christian, and I do sometimes get annoyed when I see people giving all the glory of a person’s hard work to their god, or who try to give all the responsibility for everything to their god. However, this is not what is happening here. This is a family who is actually out there, helping people. If their faith is part of what helps them help others, great!

    Seriously, have you ever done anything half as noble, difficult, or selfless as this? I bet your contribution to humanity is clicking “like” on a facebook post.

    Reply this comment
  9. Coral 29 August, 2013, 15:03

    This is an amazing thing you have done here. I always see how people like Bill Gates are spending billions and billions of dollars on vaccinating people in countries like this and I always think how they would be so much better off if this money was spent getting them clean water and making sure they had healthy food to eat. It’s wonderful to see that there are people and groups actually doing this work.

    Oh and Tom if you’ve done anything at all you instigated the author to repost this article and because of this I was able to read it. Who cares if the people wanted to believe that God caused this miracle or if they think good human beings did it? The fact is that a wonderful generous act was done and these people have one less thing to worry about.

    Reply this comment

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