Tag Archives: Dry Tears

Partying African Style

No, I didn’t get eaten in the bush. I did, however, get so deep into the bush that we were hours away from the nearest electricity so I was unable to post any new entries. So here goes.

Our first day we traveled to a village called Bonzan. It is the location of the most recent Dry Tears well and we had been told that it was completed just the day before. We were so excited to see it and especially to meet the people whose lives were going to be changed by clean water.

After 5-6 hours of bouncing across dirt roads and paths, we finally arrived right at dusk and to our great disappointment the well was not finished. Apparently the crew working on drilling it were so confident that they would be finished by the time we got there that they told us it was completed. The deep water drilling rig had broken and they needed a part to get it up and running.

We were all pretty disappointed but kept up a good front. That night, in anticipation of our arrival, the village had planned to throw a huge celebration. Pastors from 4 neighboring villages all showed up to have a kind of “tribal meeting” with Logan and Conner (the 2 Dry Tears guys who were on the trip with us). It was amazing hearing them tell how the water was going to impact their villages…not only physically, but spiritually as well.

You see, as people come to draw water, these pastors visit with them and tell them about Jesus, The Living Water, and the hope He brings. These pastors told us that they would need bigger churches because there would be so many people accepting Christ once they heard the about Him and His love for them.

As is their custom, the villagers brought out buckets of warm water that they had heated over fires for us to bathe with before dinner. Knowing that water is such a precious commodity, it was such a gracious gesture for them to share it with us like that. Bathing was interesting…it was basically go stand behind a 5 foot wall and use a cup to pour the water over yourself. It took a little getting used to!

Dinner was rice, spaghetti noodles in a peanut sauce, chicken (cooked whole minus the head and feet), and toh (sounds like toe). My son, Logan, describes toh as a cross between jello and rubber. The village fed us first and wanted us to stuff ourselves and, only after we had eaten, would they eat (assuming there was still food left—if there was no food left then they would go without).

After dinner the party began!!! Hundreds showed up for singing, dancing and banging the drums. It was amazing. Logan and Conner led the way for all of us as they jumped right into learning the African dances. It was kind of like doing the electric slide but in a constantly moving circle—way fun!!!! The natives greatly enjoyed laughing at the white guys as we tried to grasp the complex dance moves. Heck, we laughed at ourselves as we felt like total doofussses. But it sure was fun! Well we danced until around 1:00am and then we crashed on our cots underneath a breathtaking African sky.

The pastor had to ask the villagers to take the party down the road as we had to get some sleep. So they moved about 100 yards away and continued to sing, chant, dance, and bang the drums until 3:00am!!! They were so excited that we had come and that a well was being dug.

I fell asleep staring at the most stars I have ever seen in my life listening to the poorest people I had ever met sing songs of joy over the prospect of clean water arriving. I couldn’t help but think about how rich and blessed we are in America and how we take so much for granted.

Greetings from Africa

We’re here!!!!! Had a great trip from Atlanta to Paris (it’s an 8 1/2 hour flight and I slept the whole way) Then after a 4-hour layover we had a 5-hour flight to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso where the whole team finally came together (we had all taken different flights). There was much much laughter, hugs, and high fives!

Our main local contact, Pete, picked us all up at the airport and took us out to eat in downtown. I have no idea what we ate but it was tasty. During dinner we learned about more of the details pertaining to our itinerary.

Our agenda for the week is very aggressive and I am not sure if we will be able to do everything we are planning on doing. I have learned many amazing facts about this country and the needs here are so great:
It is the 2nd poorest nation on earth (beaten only by Sri Lanka)
The capital city (Ouagadougou) is the only one in the world without a water source and as I have mentioned in earlier blogs, water is their greatest need
There are up to 160 children in one elementary school classroom with 1 teacher and since you must pay to go to school here, entire extended families get together to decide which child has the best chance of graduating, getting a real job, and then be able to care for the next generation (only about half make it through grade school, of those left,half make it through middle school and of what is left only 35%graduate).
There is much pressure on the child selected for education…at times the parent’s decision is made to send one child to school rather than buy the medicine to save another child’s life.

Poverty this profound puts people (especially parents) in impossible places to make decisions.

There are some non-negotiable activities that we definitely will be doing. The first of those is today (Sunday) as we worshipped with brothers and sisters in the Lord in a small local church. Even though we could not communicate with each other, we still shared a bond that was much deeper than language and they made us feel so welcome. I look forward to the day when language will not be a barrier that keeps people apart. This afternoon we will crash and try to get our bodies more closely aligned with African time and we need to rest up as we will head into the bush for a minimum of 4 days. Today is my son Logan’s 18th birthday and we are planning a big bash at the US Embassy tonight complete with hamburgers, milkshakes and a football game (the Falcons will kick-off at 9:00pm here).

Our plans for the bush include visiting a well that Dry Tears funded that has just been completed and is now providing water for an entire community. We will be sleeping outside near the well and, rumor is, the village plans on dancing all night for us! I can’t wait…hope they let small white guys dance with them!!! We will also visit several other villages where the need for clean drinking water is great and we will be looking for good locations for future drilling projects.

Next, we will be visiting a city on the Mali border which has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. 1 out of every 2 children born don’t make it to age 5.

Our travels will then take us to a church building project that, unfortunately, was unable to be completed by another group. We see this as a wonderful opportunity to show the body of Christ as a much bigger thing than just one group of visitors. We plan on taking at least one full day to finish the building (the roof still needs to go up).

I’m not sure how much time we will have after doing these things, so we’ll just have to wait and see if we can cram more in.

Well I better get to bed…oh, and yes, Tina, we are taking all of our medications.

The Day Before

Well, we leave tomorrow and the last minute running around has been pretty exciting. There has been a lot of “getting things”:
*getting 1 more Hepatitis A and B shot,
*getting Malaria medicine into our systems,
*getting close to 100 tennis balls to give to the children we meet,
*getting as many balloons crammed into the unused corners of our luggage,
*getting our clothes sprayed with mosquito poison/repellent,

*getting 4 cases of tooth brushes and tooth paste (Thank you Dr. Tom Turner!!)
*getting lots of snacks
*getting packed
and finally getting very excited!!!!!!!

So far the weather for our trip looks like it will be great with highs around 100 and lows around 62 and it looks like the heavy winds off the desert are going to hold off a few more weeks (actually this is both good news and bad news…the good news is that the dust and sand will not be flying around and the sky will be gorgeous–the bad news is nothing to blow the mosquitoes away!)

My wardrobe looks almost like I am planning for a nuclear strike…I will pretty much be covered from head to toe with clothing (giving those mosquitoes very little to shoot at). I spent an hour today literally poisoning all of our exterior clothes to keep them at bay. The day we return I will leave to begin speaking in 4 cities in 6 days and I do not want to have malaria.

The Final Countdown to Africa has begun

Well, ready or not here it comes! We leave for Burkina Faso, Africa in 4 days! Just yesterday, our entire team gathered together to go over last minute details and to learn more about the villages and people we will be visiting.

Conditions in many areas have gotten even worse and according to the Mayor of one region “The thing we need more than anything else is water.”

The 5 amazing teenagers (Connor, Dan, Jared, Kyle, and Logan) who started Dry Tears continue to astound me with their vision to change a continent…and to have the opportunity to help them (in any small way) is an honor. Feel free to visit their website at drytears.org

In addition to visiting where wells have already been built, we hope to scout out other villages where future wells can be dug and more lives impacted.

Because many people will be reading this blog, if you are looking for a way to really make difference in this world, I strongly encourage you to partner with me in helping the guys in Dry Tears. Their organization is truly committed to their mission of “Building wells. Building lives.” All of the money given goes directly to help others. None of the guys nor their Board of Directors is paid and the focus is truly on helping others…even this trip to Africa is not being paid for with money given to Dry Tears.

Here is the amazing thing, your school, company, church, or organization can actually fund the building of a well for only $5,000. Do you realize how easy it is to impact an entire community…water changes everything!

I can’t wait to get there!