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.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jedi Yoga Class -- Bettendorf, IA



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.
--Michelle

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Janet -- Moline, IL



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.

Cousins from Iowa




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

Erin, Emily, & Tracy -- Onalaska, WI



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.

--Erin

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sheila -- Davenport, IA -- plus.... WaterForChristmas AUCTION!!



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.

~Sheila Mesick


!!!!!!!!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 dancingforwater@gmail.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 dancingforwater@gmail.com 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 dancingforwater@gmail.com and we will bid on the painting on your behalf.

Now....GO!


Acrylic on canvas, 16X20

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kelsie--Cullman, AL



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!

Frank and Terre-Davenport, IA



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

TorreyBeth and Jeff -- St. Paul, MN



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

Central High School Students-Davenport, IA



WHY NOT?
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 :)

Kara and Hunter-Richmond, VA




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

Sarah, Mallory, Tori, Natasha, & Dustin -- Winona State University, Winona, MN



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!!

Dan-Bettendorf, IA



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

Jake -- Davenport, Iowa



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

Kait -- Chicago, IL


As a social work major at a liberal, social justice-oriented university in Chicago, good causes and issues are never difficult for me to come by. But I think the difficulty really comes down to making these issues a part of our everyday lives, as opposed to something we read about in the BBC news and reply, "How sad..." I think that dancing for a cause like Water for Christmas is a beautiful idea not only in the fact that ANYone can do it, but it's incredibly fun as well.

Helping our fellow human beings does not always have to be back-breaking, sacrificial work (although sometimes it does). At times it can be an hour of dancing around Chicago and talking to people, all the while reinforcing the fact that every decision we make--the clothes we wear, the coffee or soda we drink, and the food we eat, is so very connected to people on the other side of the earth. As is discussed by Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, this is a term called Ubuntu, which means that everyone's humanity is wrapped up in everyone else's humanity, and until we realize this, there will be no true peace.

It was an honor to dance for Water for Christmas, and I hope people will not only donate, but begin bringing it and other issues into their everyday lives.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Zach -- Buffalo, Iowa

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.

Leslie -- Davenport, Iowa

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.

Tesi -- Buffalo, Iowa -- On Dancing

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.