The girl in the photo on the pillow is Ruth, and she lives in Mwamba, Zambia. Ruth was eleven years old when this photo was taken last June, and she has just walked about a mile to this water hole to bring water back to her village. She will make this journey several times a day and will carry the jug back by balancing it on her head for the long walk home.
The water hole is also frequented by animals like monkeys and snakes that pollute the water and create unsafe conditions for the women and children who visit it daily. Until last summer, this water hole was the only option for providing water to Ruth's village, and the daily task of fetching water was a full-time pursuit for many women and children.
But then a well was built in Ruth's village, thanks to the efforts of World Vision, a global humanitarian organization, and Wellspring for the World, a local non-profit organization in Fargo whose mission is "to provide safe drinking water for the people of the world," according to the website.
Regular access to clean water has the ability to profoundly transform a community and enhances the life and health of each individual in simple ways we can't even imagine. Upon being interviewed after the well's installation, 11-year-old Ruth commented that she no longer experienced the head and backaches that accompanied her daily trips to the water hole.
I recently became involved with Wellspring for the World when I was asked to help coordinate the food and beverage components for their upcoming fundraising event, Art for Water, which will take place on Thursday, April 20, in the renovated Fargo Laundry building, now the home of Keith and Rondi McGovern.
The evening will include live and silent auctions showcasing beautiful pieces of art donated by local artists including Rando and Jon Offutt, as well as handcrafted jewelry and a variety of other interesting items. There will be hearty hors d'oeuvres created by local chefs Andrea Baumgardner and Paul Perez, and a sampling of desserts made by pastry chef Nancy Olson.
I was initially moved to volunteer simply by hearing the stories of real people who struggle every day for something as basic as clean water. Safe food cannot exist without clean water, and my life has been filled with an abundance of both. I am grateful to live in a community where I have regular, unfettered access to clean water and safe food. To examine the other side of food and water, their scarcity, presented a feeling of discomfort, or a call to action, that I could not ignore.
Aside from the moving stories, it was Wellspring's commitment to effective and efficient fundraising that sealed my participation. Operating solely with a volunteer board and no paid administrative staff, Wellspring works diligently to ensure that nearly 100 percent of every dollar raised goes directly to clean water projects, which are then implemented by World Vision in partnership with local communities in nearly a dozen African nations.
Moreover, every dollar raised by Wellspring is multiplied by six, thanks to one local and three national match programs, enabling every donation, large or small, to have a far-reaching impact. Each well costs $15,000 to build, and with the 6 to 1 matching grant, the Art for Water event has the potential to help build a great number of wells in Africa.
Tickets are still available and we would love to have you join us next Thursday evening. Recently, I visited with Maureen Bartelt, president of the Wellspring board, and asked her what her goal was for this special event.
"More than anything," she replied, "our hope is not just to build wells, but to share stories." In other words, water may be essential for living, but it's our human connection that is the real recipe for life.
If You Go:
What: Art for Water, Live and Silent Auction to benefit Wellspring for the World water projects
Date: Thursday, April 20, 2017
Time: Social Hour 6 - 7:30p.m., auction begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20
Where: Keith and Rondi McGovern home, 1002 1st Avenue South, Fargo
Ticket price: $100 each or 2 for $150
More information: wellspringfortheworld.org
"Home With the Lost Italian" is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello's in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their 12-year-old son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello//thelostitalian.areavoices.com.