World Water Day 2012 tour, destination #2: Jitters to Joy

This is part 2 in a series of blog posts  about my experiences on Amman Imman’s World Water Day 2012 California tour. Read part 1 here.

I left Santa Maria carrying the sweet wonder of the children with me back through the winding canyon pass to the Pacific coast and into Ojai.  I arrived at Villanova Preparatory School, a Catholic boarding and day school, at 2:00 pm in time to set up for my presentation in the school’s gym.  My talk with approximately 400 high school students was scheduled for 2:30 pm as the day’s last activity.  My host Michael warned me that the students are generally antsy at this time of day, and may not be totally attentive.   

Eddie traveled to Africa last year and
witnessed how water transforms a community.
Eddie, a student who had an affinity for Africa and water after his travels to Tanzania last year, would introduce me. He told me about his experience witnessing how the installation of a well in the center of a village totally transformed the lives of the people, as well as his own perspective.  

I began the presentation deeply moved by Eddie’s description. I had just 30 minutes to speak with the students before the final bell would ring.

Perhaps the students were jumpy but they did not show any restlessness as I shared our photos and stories.  On the contrary, most of them were totally focused as I explained about the affects of a changing climate, the ways people retrieve water during the long dry months, how water and food scarcity affects the lives of the children and families, and how, as Eddie witnessed in Tanzania, water changes everything.  

Indeed, the results are captivating: Women assume responsibility as decision-makers for their borehole, grow food and can gain employment.  

Men can begin to cultivate their animal herds, and help re-build their community. 

Children who once had no time for school or play because they were burdened with the task of searching for water now attend school, plant gardens to grow food and have the potential to lead a healthy life.  Perhaps for the first time in the lives of these children, they have the exhilaration of drenching themselves in cool, clean water. 

A story of chronic scarcity turned into a story of abundance and life.

I felt that the students left their jitters behind and ended their school day with a sense of possibility and hope.

It is my hope that they will add to this positive story and join with Amman Imman to transform more lives in the Azawak. 

Next I'll share about my presentation on March 22, World Water Day, at the Montessori School of Ojai.


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