7 Things Sunday

One. On Monday I laughed until my sides ached, which is one of the better ways you can start off a week. Dave Ross and Kyle Kinane had a fantastic comedy set at Vaudeville Mews. And I was surrounded by these lovely gents from PHS days, making the whole situation even better.

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Two. Everything leading up to the ArtForceIowa Open House on Wednesday afternoon is pretty much a blur. But all the chaos and frenzy funneled into a successful event! There was art on the walls, students galore, performers singing, an interactive assemblage project exploding, doughnuts being eaten, etc.

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Three. I sent my Grandma Jeanne a Happy Mother’s Day text. 5 days later she sent me this:

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Would you look at the use of that space bar?!  I’m keeping this forever. I know she’s reading this. I love you, Grandma. You’re really cute.

Four. I woke up Thursday with a really sore throat and by Friday afternoon it was gone. I thank this guy…

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I’m a believer.

Five. These songs.

Six. Saturday was second annual outdoor Water Ride. Thanks to generous sponsors like Des Moines Water Works, 100% of the proceeds from this bike ride go towards clean, sustainable water wells and education in Ghana! We only had around 25 registrants at the beginning of the week, causing us all to mildly freak out. But we had over 70 riders yesterday and it was one of the most beautiful days EVER for a bike ride! The staff at Orlondo’s graciously “hosted” us and provided riders with specials on pizza and beer (they also brought us volunteers jello shots and maracas?…I don’t get it, but I’ll take it) Thank you to everyone who helped and supported- thanks to you, Tsipasi’s water well will be officially operative on Memorial Day!

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Seven. What a week. Phew. Sometimes the best gift you can give yourself is a guilt-free nap. True story.

Love,
Taylor

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.

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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