The Water Ride

The issue of clean water along with our overuse/waste of water as Americans (Oh, what? Yeah! That glass of water you didn’t finish and poured down the sink? That would have been saved and used to the very last drop in most parts of the world) has become a hot button topic. In recent years I can’t tell you how many campaigns and fundraisers I’ve seen to build water wells and develop water filters in under resourced areas. To be honest, the over saturation and lack of real exposure to the issue numbed me, as I’m sure it does for most people.

But then I saw how clean water impacted the hurricane affected villages of Haiti and the rural community of Lukodi, Uganda where I worked last summer. The University of New Hampshire Engineers Without Borders team visited over the summer and tested local borehole wells in Lukodi. According to the community members they spoke with, having clean water is top priority. Waterborne diseases from the community’s water supply led to severe illnesses (I’ve personally had a couple of waterborne illnesses and let me tell you-they are very debilitating). They found that roughly 80% of the community’s water supply was contaminated with E. coli. The team then worked to disinfect the wells and educate people on how to protect the water from contamination and fix issues that arise (“Offering a Helping Hand“).

Not only is the sanitation of water crucial to a community’s well-being, but the availability of it is, too. When our Ugandan friends would fetch water, they would carry a full jerry can (which is roughly 45 lbs when full) on top of their head and one in each hand. So, that’s like 135 lbs of water to carry! And most people have to walk MILES to get that. Some kids can’t even go to school when they have to fetch water. It becomes a huge day-long endeavor.

Picture 1
This is a jerry can, in case you didn’t know (photo by Megan Cook)

How do I let this change the way I view and treat water? I don’t take a shower every day. Call me gross, I don’t care. Unless I have excessively sweat or smell bad, I don’t need to take one. Now my goal is going to be to turn the shower water off in between my rinsing and repeating. I’ve done it before, I can do it again. It’s really the little things. I can water my house plants with the water I’m done drinking rather than toss it down the drain. I can shut the faucet off when brushing my teeth. I can avoid buying bottled water. And I can do my small part to encourage others in doing the same. Which brings me to (drum roll please)… The Water Ride.

The Water Ride is happening May 11 in Des Moines. Emily Boyd, Des Moines’ The Move Project and Des Moines Water Works are teaming up with wonderful volunteers to put on a bike ride where 100% (!!!!!) of the proceeds will go toward the $50,000 goal of building a solar-powered well and trench in a TBD location in Africa. There are 85, 40, and 20 (family friendly) mile bike routes to choose from. Prices go up April 12, so reserve a spot here. For additional information click here. Come to reach a personal goal, ride with friends, eat some good food, and do a small thing to make a BIG impact in a community across the world. Spread the word!

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549982_473967639333065_1695089229_nLove, Taylor


Last week I was working at the mall when a mother and daughter came in to shop for some new clothes. While the mother was browsing, the daughter began a small stack of clothes that she had set behind the counter. Then, she went on to try on a bunch of clothes for her mother and briefly mentioned in the dressing room, “Oh, I have stuff up at the counter too.”

Once they got to the check out line and mom sees the other pile of accumulated merchandise she exclaims, “You’re getting all of THAT too?!”


“Okay, well that’s about it for Christmas then.”

“Are you serious…?” (que whining)

And there went $600 to a teenager’s wardrobe. Cha-ching.

Merry Christmas.

Anyway, that story leads well into a something I read recently at Where My Heart Resides. Jen Hatmaker wrote a wonderful blog about the Christmas conundrum many of us experience. She started a gift-giving policy for her family: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. That’s it. Simple. And our “wants” and “needs” don’t have to be material things. I want to make dinner and watch a movie with my parents. I want to go to yoga and grab coffee with my friend. I need to go serve the homeless in my city. I need to spend time with my refugee friends. Someone “getting” or initiating those gifts for me would be incredibly special and low-budget. The gifts of time and experiences are always the best and the longest lasting. I want to make it a goal to give those gifts more frequently, but especially during the holiday season rather than dealing with crowds and the stress that comes with spending big $$$. But, if and when you’re purchasing gifts this season buy what you can LOCALLY. Most of what you can get on Amazon or at Target you can also find in independently-owned stores. It puts your taxes to good use, creates jobs, reduces environmental impact, supports non-profits, and keeps your community unique. Money spent in a locally owned business stays in the community. It’s definitely an investment worth pursuing!


Something she wants: Flowerbomb Parfume by Viktor & Rolf, Le Creuset Skillet (found at Kitchen Collage), Yoga Unmat (found at Lulu Lemon), One Line a Day Journal (found at Ephemera)

Something she needs: Liquitex paints (found at Creative Cold Sno), BareMinerals Foundation in Medium, Warby Parker prescription sunglasses: Thatcher in Greystone

Something she wears: Journey’s Women’s Oxford Shoes, I Heart Iowa Necklace, Fair Isle Open Stitch Sweater, Too Faced Lip Color

Something she reads: Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, Whole Living Magazine subscription, The Story of God, The Story of Us by Sean Gladding, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn