World Water Day 2012 tour, destination # 1: Sharing kindness and the gift of water

The Montessori School of Ojai hosted Amman Imman for World Water Day,  inviting me to present our program to students in Ventura County, California.  I had the opportunity to make five presentations at three schools in two days.  This series of blog posts will share my experiences on Amman Imman’s World Water Day 2012 California tour.

View from the deck
I arrived in Ojai on Tuesday afternoon. Wendy, my host, helped me settle into the guest house on her property.  My heart opened to receive this gift - a quiet retreat and place of respite where I could personally rejuvenate while preparing for my presentations at three schools for World Water Day. Even now I’m sitting on a deck looking at orange and lemon trees, listening to gentle bird calls with the mountains beckoning in the distance.

On Wednesday morning I left the house at 7 am to drive two hours north to Santa Maria to The Children's House Montessori School of Santa Maria. The ride took me along the 101 with a stunning view of the Pacific coast, and then some beautiful views of the mountains as my little rental car climbed and winded through the San Marcos pass.  No time for photos though. I was due at the school at 9 am for my first presentation to the pre-school students.

Water activities for World Water Day
When I arrived the children were in the schoolyard doing water activities in preparation for my visit.  For the little ones, I shared a photo slide show rather than a powerpoint, simply telling the story of the Azawak people through beautiful photos.  I emphasized the generosity, beauty and kindness of people who don’t even have a glass of water to drink. The sweet children listened intently, their mesmerized faces showing that they could relate to drinking water on a hot day or getting clean by taking a bath, such luxuries that children just like them living in the Azawak do not have the opportunity to do for most of the year.   

Sharing photos depicting dignity, kindness
and generosity of the people of the Azawak
The elementary and middle school students joined me for my 2nd presentation.  For them, I shared a powerpoint, going a little more deeply into the struggle for water and the affects on the lives of the nomads, while still emphasizing their dignity.  I showed a short video of people getting water from deep open wells, with donkeys struggling to pull up the dirty liquid from depths of 300 feet.  I also explained that there is clean water 600 feet and deeper that Amman Imman accesses by drilling boreholes, thereby providing sustainable and permanent water sources that bring about a transformation of life and hope.  I ended by sharing examples of the ways students like them had been helping since 2006, and offered them the opportunity to join our movement of student leaders. A fantastic audience, the students asked really good questions, and we spent a good deal of time in discussion after the presentation.

Beauty, kindness, generosity...and water....easy to relate to no matter where on earth you live.

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the story of the Azawak with all the students at The Children's House Montessori School of Santa Maria.

Next, I’ll tell about my presentation later that day at Villanova Prep High School in Ojai.


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