We are a family of mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and daughters and sons who find it unacceptable that thousands die each day as a result of lack of one simple thing: clean water. We are distraught that women and children walk three hours one way to fill a bucket with dirty water…water that may quench a deep thirst, but may also kill them. We are pained that 4,500 hundred children die each day as a result of the lack of clean water in their community. We are anguished that 1.1 billion people walking this planet do not have clean water…while we have so much.
We’re moving loudly and boldly with our bodies and our hearts. We are calling attention to a cause and trying to raise ten billion dollars along the way.
Ten billion dollars and the world has clean water. Americans spend around 450 billion dollars each Christmas. Ten billion dollars and the world has clean water. We believe this can be done.
Join us. Check out charity: water. (Follow the link or click the "Water for Christmas" button on the right.) Donate under the "Water for Christmas" tab at the bottom. Every last penny will go toward the building of a well in a community that doesn’t have one.
Watch our passion as we dance for water. Dancing for water and watching the ripples.
(These videos are posted in good faith. Please read about charity: water and consider making a donation before you view. Every dollar helps build wells in places thirsty for clean water.)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
There is no doubt that we looked silly, even foolish. Some may have guffawed at the five adult women dancing in the middle of a martini bar, and surmised that perhaps we had consumed a tad beyond our limit. After all, there wasn’t any music and yet we danced. Admittedly, I was reluctant, self-conscious of my limited dancing abilities, and painfully aware of my scuffed up ten-year-old boots in desperate need of a polishing. But honestly, this performance had nothing to do with me. Instead, it had everything to do with my brothers and sisters throughout the world who are living and often dying because they are denied access to a commodity I often fail to appreciate–clean water. And so, in spite of myself, I danced.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
FYI: This was originally danced to "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" but the copyright didn't allow us to post on youtube with that song. So bare with us.
Dancing...Laughing...Being with Family and Friends....it was a great time "Dancing for Water For Christmas". The Pedersen's and us were all a bit nervous, but when you look at the whole picture of "why" it became very easy! God works in mysterious ways...finding Tesi and her Water Buddies to start this wonderful mission, finding people who would never have thought to dance on a video (can we say the men in this dance?), finding generous men and women who are willing to reach a little deeper this Christmas for people who need water so much.
John and I are very proud of Tesi and throughout much of her life, have found it hard to say no to her and her siblings "ideas" or
whatever they have asked or needed us to do. Pretty sure you are not going to "Donate before Watching" our video - but hopefully you will because it is the right thing to do.
"Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will is to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think of these things, there will be born is us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world."- Calvin Coolidge
God's blessings and Merry Christmas to all - John, Connie, Marcus Dawson
hotflawedmama note: My family and friends are truly amazing. (And seriously, how precious is my dad when he gets his little solo walking in front of the group, too cute). My parents are far above average for the things they'll do for their kids and grandkids. I'm so proud to be their daughter. And yes, we laugh like this all the time. I had to leave the laugh on there, my aunts and uncles will all recognize my mom and my laughs from miles away! Enjoy!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
We are dancing for water because we think people and kids in third world countries should have clean water. The children in the third world counties are dying because they do not have clean water. They have to walk up to 3 hours to get clean water. We think it’s not fair that we have more water than we need while the people in Africa struggle hard to get just enough water to stay alive. We get to take showers and drink clean water without doing anything except turn on a faucet. The people in Africa have to walk to lakes and rivers to find water that is so dirty we wouldn’t even think about drinking it. They drink water that has been used for human waste. We are dancing for water because we think the people in Africa deserve what we have. Please give what you can so people in Africa can get clean water for their families.
--Kevi’Ahnna Wilmington, Nicole Green, Shayla Gales, Vera Clay, Shawnaya Thorpe, Sheniquia Wilson, Sierra Stokes, and Taylor Greenwood
Having water in the United States is like having air, we take water for granted. But in most of the world, water is a precious resource that not many people can afford. Woman and children in parts of Africa travel three hours to get water that is not even safe to drink. Forty-five hundred children die each day because they are forced to drink polluted water. On this planet, 1.1 billion people do not have clean water. How can we help? Just 10 billion dollars would solve this problem. I KNOW THAT SEEMS LIKE A LOT, but with about 6,740,422,806 people on this planet, just one dollar can go a long way. Every last penny goes toward the building of a well in a community that doesn’t have one. To donate to this noble cause, go to the charity: water website.
Remember, 1.1 billion people are waiting. Help them live another day.
“Water is sometimes sharp and sometimes strong, sometimes acid and sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and sometimes thick or thin, sometimes it is seen bringing hurt or pestilence, sometime health-giving, sometimes poisonous. It suffers change into as many natures as are the different places through which it passes. And as the mirror changes with the colour of its subject, so it alters with the nature of the place, becoming noisome, laxative, astringent, sulfurous, salty, incarnadined, mournful, raging, angry, red, yellow, green, black, blue, greasy, fat or slim. Sometimes it starts a conflagration, sometimes it extinguishes one; is warm and is cold, carries away or sets down, hollows out or builds up, tears or establishes, fills or empties, raises itself or burrows down, speeds or is still; is the cause at times of life or death, or increase or privation, nourishes at times and at others does the contrary; at times has a tang, at times is without savor, sometimes submerging the valleys with great floods. In time and with water, everything changes.”
—Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci pretty much said it all, but we have voices, too. JB Young students got behind the cause. They danced for water to help raise money to build wells in Central Africa to stop people from dying because they only have dirty water. Kids made videos and wrote blogs. On December 18, 2008, the 8th Grade Class at JB Young is hosting a dance to help raise money for this charity and have a little fun at the same time. We’re raising money by throwing eggs and pies at teachers who have volunteered for this honor @ $1.00 a pop, and, of course, dancing to help raise money. We’re selling Dance for Water tee-shirts and decorated water bottles to raise money for this very worthwhile cause. Many students and teachers have donated money and time to support this cause. If you can, please donate any spare change or extra dollars to help the children of Africa.
Water. Dance. Blogs. School. Passion. It’s not often that these words come together, but when they do, magic happens. One drop of water—Ms. Bishop showing the Dancing for Water website to her social studies classes—quickly became a flood of energy and creativity. Kids watched the videos of Associate Principal Mr. Klipsch and art teacher Ms. Mesick DANCING for water, and their ideas immediately began to fall in a torrential clamor that ended only when Ms. Bishop began working with students and the Klipsch family to transform their ideas into reality.
We are blessed with the fire of creativity and activism, kids who care, and adults who will go the distance for kids to make learning and growing both fun and relevant.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
“Those who randomly dance are thought to be insane by those who can’t hear the music.” —Angela Monet
One billion people on this Earth do not have clean drinking water. Many people die daily because the water is not safe. Imagine your nieces, nephews, brothers, and sisters traveling for hours to get water that has to last them weeks—water that is not clean or clear—dirty water that will ultimately make them sick. This is what about one billion people on our planet do daily.
Those of us who have clean water take it for granted, so as a school, we’ve decided to help. The eighth grade students are dancing for water, putting videos on a website to raise money for clean, safe drinking water in places around the world that don’t have any.
“Thousands have lived without love, but not one without water." —W.H. Auden
--Thoughts from Josie Mumm, JB Young, Davenport, IA
Imagine the dirtiest water in the world. How would you like to drink that? Wouldn’t you like to drink clean, clear water, or would you like to drink water with feces and dirt and lord knows what else? Just imagine your kids, siblings, and loved ones drinking that contaminated water. Contaminated water is normal in Africa. Dancing for Water (part of the Water for Christmas movement) is a charity that gives 100% of the money it raises to get clean water to the people in Africa who need it most. Did you know that one in six people on this Earth do not have clean drinking water? How would you like to be that one person who doesn’t have clean water? This holiday season, think about someone else—and please donate to Dancing for Water. Give Water this Christmas.
--Jessica Pearson and Shelby Woolison
People all over the world are dying just because they don’t have clean water. Little kids around age three walk over three miles by themselves just to get dirty water. They have to use that dirty water for everything—washing, drinking, and eliminating human waste. We are lucky to have clean water. Let’s help the people in Africa with money for wells that will produce clean water.
Stay tuned for more dances and thoughts by JB Young students TOMORROW!!!!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Inspiration was behind this video so I must thank Tesi for telling me about Water for Christmas. I also want to thank a very dear friend Jessica and her family for helping us out. Both Jessica and I can understand the sheer devastation that unclean water can do. In the spring of 1990 both of our homes where destroyed by flood when duck creek rose over it's banks. The two mile radius around us was a wasteland filled with sewage and debris. That summer we lived in tents, campers, and anywhere our parents could find us shelter until they found new homes. While this can in no way compare to what is happening in underdeveloped parts of the world it did give us a glimpse. We want to make sure everyone has clean water.
Please use your imagination while watching our video. At this time technology and myself have not caught up with each other. So close your eyes and see balloons streaming, little girls laughing, disco balls bouncing, and a lot of dancing. Hopefully we can inspire other's to help us along the way. So in the spirit of Christmas we present to you Bouncing Around the Room.
Tesi note: Lynn is awesome. She has quickly become another of my favorites with her passion for fitness, her love of local food and her terrific sense of humor. She tried oh so hard to get the dance her family and friends did on video and then uploaded to the internet alas, no dice. I look forward to more from her though and so should you!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
As a future nurse and the president of an organization that works with kids in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, I figured that dancing for developing nations who need clean water would be a good idea. I also figured that after two finals and a big breakfast at 10:30 pm some structured procrastination would do my mind, and future finals, some good. Thus began our pursuit of choreography to a song by M.I.A., which in turn lead to a phenomenal night of no studying with the roommates, a great little music video, as well as water for Christmas for those who really need it. I love the idea of dancing, using one's creativity to benefit others, including those watching this video (you get to see some crazy good moves), those who made the video (we get bundles of fun during finals week) and those who need water...
With that said, enjoy some premium love and donate lots of money and hugs...or we will take yo monay. Cha-ching.
Friday, December 12, 2008
This is another video from the elementary school in St. Louis working hard to raise money for Water for Christmas. They're over $500 now, which is remarkable and amazing and terrific.
One particular little boy in this video wants people to know he's part Sioux Indian! :)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Once, while on a writing retreat, I decided to canoe out to a little island in the middle of a lake and spend an afternoon writing there. No sooner had I settled in, though, then the wind shifted. When I stood up and looked behind me, I saw a big storm blowing in from exactly the direction I would need to go to get to shelter. I immediately untied the canoe and began paddling against the wind, but despite all my effort, I could not make it to shore fast enough. When the storm broke, I was still out on the water paddling as hard as I could. “This is nuts,” I finally thought to myself, “Wet is wet. No amount of paddling is going to change this situation now.” And so, rather than continue fighting against the rain, I picked my paddle up, laid it across my lap, closed my eyes, and allowed myself just to be in the storm. Listening to the rain hit the surface of the lake, I was struck by how little it sounded like water—how much, in fact, it sounded like a dry rattle of stones out in the dessert. And that made me think how at the moment, wet to the bone, adrift in a canoe, I was actually sitting in an incredible position of privilege. Not only did I have the leisure to be out on a lake in the middle of an afternoon, the biggest concern I could have with water was getting caught in the rain. I never wanted for enough water to drink or had to worry about whether or not that water was clean. I might be swept to a distant shore by the wind, but my hometown was in no danger of being swept off the map by drought. When I finally did make it back to shelter, I sat down and wrote “Though the Rain has Relinquished Speech,” thinking about how fundamental water is, and how to be human is to be tied to the rain.
!!!!!!!!SPECIAL WFC AUCTION!!!!!!!
Sarah has generously donated a signed, single edition print of “Though the Rain has Relinquished Speech” to be auctioned off in an attempt to raise money and build wells. This poem will be included in her second collection, The Calculus of Owls, which will be published in August of 2009. You've heard a preview of Sarah's work, now bid on on a copy of this precious poem!!
Here's the fine print:
The bidding will begin NOW. It will end Thursday (12/11) evening at 7pmCST. Please leave your bid under the link below this post labeled "Comments." Check back throughout the two-day period to participate in this "blog auction." The bidding will begin at $20. (Remember how we told you that $20 gives one African water for 20 years. Truly, your bid matters!!) If you are unable to check this blog throughout the period of the auction, feel free to send your highest bid to email@example.com and we will bid on your behalf.
ALL PROCEEDS GO DIRECTLY TO charity: water.
The winner (the highest bidder as of 7pm on Thursday, December 11th), will be asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org identifying themselves. We will then provide them an address to send their check (made out to charity: global so that it's tax deductible). The winner should also provide the address to which we will ship the print free of charge.
Monday, December 8, 2008
So these are my kids in action. They love, love, love to dance. I think all kids do. Dancing, like most things, is all about perspective. What I consider dancing may be barely moving to some and vice versa. What I love about it, though, is that whatever it is, it brings joy to the person doing it and typically the person watching it.
Kids, for me, are the greatest place to seek joy. Even when they let little things get them down, it's only a matter of minutes before it's forgotten and life takes over. I constantly seek to be more childlike in that way (among others).
The awesome part about having built 3 wells (total is over $16,000 now) for Water for Christmas is that we know some things have changed for the Liberians getting the wells in their communities.
We've saved lives. There will be less rape, less time away from family for children. More time for doing fun things.
Things like singing. And dancing.
So here are my kids, giving their best imitation of how they would feel after a refreshing glass of clean water. I think, with the possible exception of jumping off couches, they've gotten pretty close.
Thank you for caring. For not tuning out. For actively choosing a different way to look at the world. The choice you've made is more difficult. Ignorance is surely bliss, but the life you've CHOSE of your eyes being opened, will be rewarded here and in heaven.
To being more childlike!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Mrs. K's class dancing to "Beat It"
Mrs. K's class dancing to "Thriller"
An Elementary School in St. Louis has decided to Dance for Water. Each student that wanted to "STAR" in their class video was asked to bring in 50 cents. With a student body of appoximately 850 students, we were hoping for a couple hundred dollars. We have collected over $500 so far! Our school has always pulled through when people need them. The staff, students, and families have a heart of gold. A BIG THANK YOU to all the teachers and students participating in these wonderful videos. A BIG THANK YOU to all the people who have already donated and to those who will donate so that other children can have clean water!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
When the Water for Christmas campaign hit two wells last week ($10,000!) we knew it was time to celebrate. Who better than our children to express our unbridled happiness? Here they are dancing for water. You may not find them as irresistibly cute as we do, but you’ll no doubt notice their unrestrained joy. We love that about kids—-they’re silly and happy and passionate and profound. And how wonderful is it that God makes each of us so uniquely? We are all capable of loving in magnificent ways and the water campaign is a testament to how God gifts each of us differently and then uses those gifts in a multitude of ways, all for the betterment of our shared world.
These children are connected, as we all are, to Africa. They may not comprehend the magnitude of this reality yet...but then again perhaps they get it better than anyone.
Give thanks. Give water. Give yourself to something greater. And most of all, do all of these things with great joy.
Monday, December 1, 2008
We are brothers and sisters. We are not eloquent writers by any means, but we do know how to enjoy life. We enjoy our lives that are filled with all of the basic necessities---things we take for granted. We shower, shave, brush our teeth, wash our clothes, use the toilet, and give our dog a nice brimming bowl of clean water every morning and every evening. Our dog has it better off than many people around the world. He has access to clean, disease-free water without limit.
Why wouldn't we choose to give of our time and resources to grant everyone in the world basic human necessity like clean water?
Why wouldn't you?
Abaye, Emaye, Sparky, Tater, and Noodle
Monday, November 24, 2008
I decided to Dance for Water because it will improve the quality of life for many people their trees and their livestock. Water is life. It is important that we do what we can to help all our brothers and sisters gain access to water--which is a right for all. I asked the padawan learners (and their parents) at River City Yoga to help because part of the Jedi Code asks us to defend and protect as well as to serve others. The Jedi are guardians of peace in the galaxy. Bringing water to those who have none helps to bring peace to a struggling people. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I am a child of the '80s. I came of age when U2's Bono was waiving his white flag onstage at Live Aid, the 1985 worldwide effort for famine relief in Ethiopia. That effort and others throughout the '80s were so big that people eventually tuned out. Instinctively, Bono knew that, and his efforts grew quieter and even more effective.
I was lucky enough to ask Bono himself about this change in the tone of his activism when I interviewed him in 2002 at Davenport Central High School in Davenport, Iowa. He told me that people get tired of listening when you scream at them. And that's what is so wonderful about this grassroots effort to bring clean drinking water to people who have no access to this most basic of human needs. I think Bono would approve of the goofy hook of dancing. It gets people excited about a huge problem without screaming at them.
With my intense love of U2's music, you'd think that I would have picked one of their songs to dance to. But, being a child of the '80s, I chose one of my favorite one-hit wonders, Men Without Hats' "The Safety Dance." Anything by U2 would have required actual dance moves, but "The Safety Dance" was, well, safe. But I still did it because I believe this effort is important and needed.
"You are more powerful than you think, and we can be even more powerful together," Bono said during his Davenport visit. He is right, so I will dance.
I read about this project in our local newspaper, and it just made me cry! Right away I knew I wanted to do a dance with my grandchildren to help raise money for children who have so little. We have SO MUCH to be grateful for. We hope everyone will enjoy our "dance" and laugh and have as much fun as we did. Be thankful! We are richly blessed!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I learned about giving Water for Christmas from a girl in my English class. She showed me the video she made and this website and I was really impressed. This is such a good idea to spread awareness and I wanted to be apart of it.
I can’t imagine not having clean water. When I learned about all of the people dying in Africa because of their dirty water, I wanted to do something about it and this was my opportunity to help. And as a bonus, my friends and I had so much fun dancing around for such a good cause.
So please take time and think about what a great gift clean water would be and how this is an opportunity for you to help too.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
As I walk this path I discover more about myself in relationship to God and this world that I live in. Some of it is about my relationships with people that I love, live with, work with, or pass daily. And some of it is about people that I will never meet, yet how I live my life does have an impact on them either directly or indirectly. I could pass up this opportunity to dance and never acknowledge the water project. But how could I face myself in the mirror when I brush my teeth…or when I meet my Savior.
!!!!!!!!SPECIAL WFC AUCTION!!!!!!!
Sheila has generously donated the original painting she worked on in her dance to auction off in an attempt to raise money and build wells. You've seen Sheila dance, now you can bid on this precious painting!!
Here's the fine print:
The bidding will begin NOW. It will end Friday (11/21) evening at 5pm. Please leave your bid under the link below this post labeled "Comments." Check back throughout the two-day period to participate in this "blog auction." The bidding will start at $50. (Remember how we told you that $20 gives one African water for 20 years. Truly, your bid matters!!) If you are concerned your bid will be outdone while you are at work, etc, then email email@example.com with your highest bid and we will bid for you!
ALL PROCEEDS GO DIRECTLY TO charity: water.
The winner (the highest bidder as of 5pm on Friday, November 21st), will be asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org identifying themselves. We will then provide them an address to send their check (made out to charity: global so that it's tax deductible). The winner should also provide the address to which we will ship (free of charge) the painting. If you are unable to check this blog throughout the day, feel free to send your highest bid to email@example.com and we will bid on the painting on your behalf.
Acrylic on canvas, 16X20
Monday, November 17, 2008
So...I'm one of those crazy water lovers. I pretty much drink only water (without lemon). I don't drink pop, or coffee, or juice. I have a glass of milk with my dinner every once in a while but that's about it. I especially love water on those hot summer days when you've been outside for a while and you can't wait to get inside for your big glass of ice cold water.
I can't imagine if that water wasn't there! I mean I don't just have clean water to drink....I use clean water for quite a few things!! I wash the dishes with clean water, I do laundry with clean water, I brush my teeth with clean water, and I bathe in clean water!!! I guess I don't think about it very often because I was born in a very blessed and prosperous nation and this is what I'm used to. It blows my mind thinking that there are millions of people in this world without an essential thing like clean water!
So when my cousin, Tesi, asked me to dance for water how could I say no?? Let's just cut one Christmas gift out and give WATER this year to those who are in need! Thanks!
38 years ago, Frank and I became husband and wife. Glory be to God, our lives have been blessed with freedom, love, and clean water, and food. We have suffered nothing compared to what the rest of the world suffers.
As a mother of 4, I cannot imagine how it feels to watch my babies drink filthy, contaminated water. Please donate now to Water for Christmas. Just $10 and 100% of your donation...100%......goes to developing wells and digging for fresh, clean, water for folks who need so much. Won't you please dig deep in your pockets so that wells can be dug deep to provide for others?
Shirley Chisholm, congresswoman in the US House, once said "Service is the rent you pay for room on this planet." Please help us serve others.
God bless you for your time, your efforts, and your donation.
Grace and peace, Frank and Terre
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I ate crackers and cheese in bed last night. The crackers are called "Fire Crackers", a recent gift from a friend's wedding. The crackers set my mouth on fire. So I gulped down a glass and a half of water. Icy, cold, delicious water. And I thought about the little video that Jeff and I shot on Saturday night.
Why dance for water? Why give money to this cause and not any of the other million good causes out there?
Well, why not? It doesn’t have to be a lot. It could be the $5 you don’t spend on a bagel and coffee this morning. These people don’t have water; they probably don’t have a lot to eat either. I bet you won’t miss this one breakfast.
This cause speaks to me. Water is life; water is sustenance. I’ve been worrying about this planet running out of drinkable water for years. And if there is still drinkable water to drink, why should 1.1 billion people lack access to it?
So, I danced. I danced in my Halloween costume and I’m sending my money to buy some people who need water access to Water for Christmas. What do you want for Christmas this year? I bet it’s a want, not a need. Not something that sustains life. So, give water.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Hello, My name is Allie Corbin and I am a senior at Davenport Central. I have been pretty fortunate in my life...clothes on my back, a roof over my head, an education and most of all I have CLEAN WATER EVERYDAY! Did you know 1 and 6 people dont have clean water? Here in the US most people do not have this problem. In fact, I bet most people don't even think about it being a problem. In the United States people spend over 400 billion dollars on Christmas presents and all we need is a fraction of that to provide wells for everyone in Africa to have clean water. When I hear that we spend that much money for presents my mouth drops! We are spending that much money on stuff that is not needed when children are dying in Africa because that dont have clean water that is NEEDED for survival.
I did this project because it is SO easy. I love to dance! While I'm going through my senior year I am trying to figure out what college I want to go to in a year. College. I'm thinking of college while children in Africa just want water and they will be the happiest kids. I think about all the times I have been disappointed because I didn't get something I wanted and I feel GUILTY! When my friend Leslie told me about this project a million things were going through my mind about how easy it was and how fun it will be.
All you have to do is dance! I know that my friends and I dance all the time in the car, at school, in the park, and we even made music videos! If you think about it you can help raise money and awareness just by dancing. How much easier does it get? If you don't want to dance alone then grab a friend. I hope when you read this in your head you're thinking 'thats it', because yep that is it! All you have to do is dance! So do it!!! DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE!!! And DONATE as well :)
My sister, Tesi, with her friends, has been sponsoring projects that give aide to those in need of help. If you, like me, are an avid follower of her blog, she is passionate about the needs of others, but this need is big! Huge! GINORMOUS! (Merriam Webster approved!)
Water is a necessity of life, and to sit back and question what my life would be without access to a healthy supply…it’s just unimaginable. So when my sister was brainstorming about ways to help raise money to build wells in Africa, (since, like me, she is not so good at the crafty stuff) she came up with dancing! I thought, “Yeah sure I would pay to see you dance, love the idea!!” Then she says, “Oh and by the way you will be dancing too.”
Hmmmm…What wait a minute I typically only dance for my dog, but people?!? Talk about coming out of my comfort zone, because let me tell you, I do not like getting up in front of people and doing anything (I’m the shy one, by the way). But this is what this is all about right?!? Getting just a little uncomfortable? I am not even feeling a fraction of what these people feel every day when they aren’t getting any water. So I hope you enjoy the little dance, and Hunter thanks for joining me!
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” –Winston Churchill
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Here, at Winona State University we have recently finished reading the Blue Death by Robert Morris. It is a book discussing the harmful water that, even here in America, we have. But to think that water in the United States is considered “dirty” when thousands of people die everyday because of dirty water in Africa, is crazy. So when my cousin Leslie told me about an opportunity to spread the awareness by dancing, how could I have said no?
So a week later, my friends and I gathered to gather to Shake It! We had such a fun time dancing ALL over Winona State University while explaining to people why we were dancing. So join in the Dance Party and Dance for Water!!
To dance is to celebrate life! We hear the song and feel the beat, much like our own hearts, driving us to move in ways that we haven't moved before. The movement is sometimes beautiful, sometimes not. Yet we move, dance, feel and celebrate nonetheless because we are called to dance. And every dance should be celebrated, whether it be the slightest toe tap or the most glorious ballet.
And every life should be celebrated too, whether it be with dance, with love or with a simple, yet vital, gift of water.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I started saying the word globalization a few years ago because it was not a mainstream word yet and I thought it would make me sound smart. Today, it’s nearly impossible to open a newspaper or turn on the television without a form of that word being used. Most of us have our own definition of globalization. To me, it means we are all connected and that every one of our actions has a rippling, exponential impact on the entire world.
Should we fear this change? Well, first of all it’s not really a change as much as us finally realizing what has always been true. Ignorance is indeed bliss, and we’ve enjoyed our bliss. But mass communication is erasing our ability to be ignorant. Ignorance is no longer a product of passivity, but is now an active choice. It’s difficult to escape the pictures, videos, and stories of injustice around the world. We cannot escape the fact that there are injustices that exist because we allow them to exist.
Lack of clean water is an unnecessary injustice.
If my neighbor across the street was dying because of a lack of clean water, would I do something? Most definitely. What about a person that lived a mile away from me? I hope so. 10 miles away? In another state? In another country? On another continent? When would I start making excuses?
When does a person stop being my neighbor? Globalization is teaching us that the answer is never.
Give water to your neighbor on another continent or tell your neighbor across the street about what is going on. And if you really want to raise awareness and have some fun, go to the Skybridge in Davenport, Iowa at 11:00pm on a Saturday night and have a dance party with random high school age kids (all of whom were intrigued by the idea of dancing for water and wanted to know about the wells being dug and what they could do to help. Hopefully, we’ll see their Dancing for Water video soon). I have to apologize to the pregnant girl who allowed me to rub her belly for the camera. We just couldn’t find a way to make it fit into the video.
“Can our prizing of each human life weaken with the square of the distance between us, as gravity does?” -Annie Dillard
Friday, November 7, 2008
I wish I could say there was some cinematic reason for JT and a ninja but unfortunately for those cinema majors, Tesi, there is not. I had a hat that looked like JT's hat and Nick, the ninja, had a full jump suit that looked like a ninja and thus, Justin Timberlake and the ninja were born.
I wish I was as eloquent as any of the women in my life so I could write something that would touch the heart strings of the readers of this blog. I am however, just a simple man who loves his wife which is why I danced for her in the middle of a YMCA Camp in 40 degree weather. I would like to thank Nick for his participation as the ninja in our "Break Off." I could not have done it without him.
Now comes the time when I stand on my wife's soap box and discuss why I believe in this cause. I sure hope I do not need to tell you why this is important. I think it may be hard for some to get behind it because as lucky, blessed, blind Americans we have a tough time imagining it any other way. Let me paint a quick picture of another way for those that have not seen it before.
Imagine driving down a stretch of highway with nothing around you but horizon. It is a beautiful sight to see to say the least. As you drive down this highway you notice up ahead something on the road. As you pull up closer you notice it is a donkey, not the type you would see driving down an American highway in the midwest, but rather a donkey that weighs less than the average American man. You can count ribs, both scapulas, vertebrae, hips, and knee joints. You move quick to grab your phone to call the humane society to see if someone can come arrest this person who has treated this animal so badly but then you remember that you are in the middle of Africa and the idea of animal rights here is comical. Animals have the right to serve humans' needs, not the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness as in your home town. You slow down next to this poor, disheveled looking animal and see that hanging off of the back of skinny old eeyore are two large yellow jugs. You can't tell what is in the jugs but by the way the animal is carrying them, they must be full of something. Behind the donkey you now see the most shocking sight, the 5 year old child who is tending to the donkey to make sure it gets home. A 5 year old child who should be reading books and playing in a front yard or taking naps in a comfortable bed or just hugging their mom and dad is hitting this donkey on the right side and the left side, not hard mind you, but enough to let the donkey know to move over so it doesn't get hit by the Land Rover that the white people are driving. As you pass and look at the child and donkey walk away from you in the rear view mirror of the Land Rover you start to imagine your oldest son Trysten, 5, leading a donkey down the highway carrying two large jugs on its back. I will repeat that so it hits home, YOUR 5 YEAR OLD IS WALKING DOWN THE HIGHWAY LEADING LIVESTOCK. Then you remember that the last time you saw any type of hut, home or person was probably 5 miles back. That five year old is walking livestock down the highway for five miles at the minimum. Then it hits you harder because you realize for that child to be where he is he had to walk there in the first place which means that that little 5 year old child with that 175 pound donkey will be walking 10 miles just to get these jugs. As you find yourself waking from this daydream of math about how far this child has walked, you see hundreds of people gathered on the side of the road ahead. As you drive past in your land rover with air-conditioning and leather seats you realize they are all huddled around one well pulling water out to fill up their 5 gallon jugs. Most of the people huddled around are children. Getting water for their families for the day, week, month? That is why Justin Timberlake had to break off the ninja.
I now step down off of my wife's soapbox. Before I leave you, I want to give you one more challenge; tomorrow morning when you wake up and go to the bathroom, don't flush; when you try to brush your teeth, don't wash your toothbrush off, don't take a shower, don't drink coffee, don't shave, don't give the dog water, don't do anything until you send your 5 year old child down the highway to get water for the day. When that child gets back after the 10 mile hike down the highway where Land Rovers are flying by driven by people that looking nothing like your 5 year old, then you can flush the toilet, brush your teeth, drink your buna (coffee in Ethiopia), shave to look nice and of course give water to the dog that is a part of the family. But remember, you only have about 10 gallons of water for the day, so use it wisely.
Please give water for Christmas, don't get comfortable in the blessings you have been giving. Make yourself so uncomfortable that giving money to this cause seems like the least you can do.
Soap box is now officially turned back over to my wife.
Water. I just danced for water.
I have been listening to Tesi’s heart brim with passion for months as her plans to raise 10 billion dollars and give the world clean water has occupied many of our conversations. When you see such passion brim, it’s hard not to want to be a part of it. That’s why I was thrilled when she asked me to dance for water. Thrilled, nervous, and completely intimidated.
Give a former cinema major a camera and a vision and before you know it, you’ll be standing in a near empty swimming pool in the middle of Iowa. That’s where I found myself this morning.
I love music. I love poetry. I love God. I love humankind. I believe we are here to endure God’s beams of love. And shine them everywhere we go. And to the places we don’t go, or haven’t gone yet.
Water and ripples and water and ripples.
So that was fun, right? You excited to see more?
I wanted to make a few comments. One: Did you guys notice the thought behind this video? (Mad props to my hubby who cast a vision). $10 Billion dollars (OR, clean water for everyone in the world, as the case may be) for the person(s) who noticed that I was doing a "rain" dance. And me moving around all the time? That was me dancing all over the world. I'm dancing so that it will literally rain, rain as well as rain money so we can build some wells! Remember how I told you once I was a cinema major? Yeah, mom and dad, all your hard earned money went into that 2-minute video.
Two: So you know how I talked lots about getting uncomfortable in the last couple posts? I was thinking about what that actually means. Because, truly, some people could give LOTS of money and still not really be uncomfortable. For some people it's not about the giving money. So what is my big hiccup? In full disclosure I struggle with the issue of pride. So if I'm being honest, that video was kind of hard to do. I talked a big game but when it came down to it, I was a bit nervous at you all seeing me in my small black shorts and uuber white legs dancing to a horribly inappropriate song (sorry mom).
Still two: So what are we supposed to let go of (in both the secular and non secular world)? Well the things we hold onto most. I have a few people in my inner circle (you know who you are) who are holding onto their pride, or their image, or whatever in this game. And it's not about that is it? Because in all honesty it's ridiculously easy to cut out one present for each child at Christmas or cut out a dead bird or something similar. Much more difficult to really let go of the thing you keep close to the chest.
Three: Do that. If you're kind of shy, try going up to people in your workplace or at your church and ask if they want to be involved in this project. You a really bad dancer? Send me your video so we can all enjoy your letting go. No seriously, really let go. Send out a mass email even though you usually talk behind the backs of mass emailers. Or...call your local radio show when they're taking callers and instead of requesting a song talk about Water for Christmas...(hey, I worked in Marketing, I could go on here people.)
Didn't it look fun for me? That could be you (and I'm not just talking about dancing here kids). Get uncomfortable and tell me how you're doing it.