Archive for February, 2012

On our last and final day in Ethiopia, Scott Harrison asked us if we wanted to visit one. final. village. The second of two villages that co-traveller and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg had funded.  Our total travel time that day had already been five hours and this last village was an additional hour and a half on a paved road, followed by another hour on a sketchy dirt road. We were weary but with the promise of amazing geography, and the reminder that the villagers had been awaiting our arrival all day, we sallied forth.

The trip to the village ended up being one of the best.  Driving on the top of a plateau with valleys and cliffs meters off the road , we made slow time, but every vista incredible.  Where most villages were rockin’ the old testament style architecture the few buildings we saw looked prehistoric.  With layers of mountains in the distance we drove through foggy clouds, shared the road with camel caravans, sat on the top of the Land Cruiers to feel the wind and get a better view, stopped to take photos on awkward peaks to capture the last moments of the sunset, and even chased donkeys around the mountain side.

At the end of the road was a village. This village was in a valley, loosely connected to 5,000 other villagers. This was the final of 27 wells in that cluster.  For everyone in that area, charity:water’s well work was complete.  Instead of getting sick from drinking water, they received energy. Instead of the mothers walking six hours a day for hydration, they farmed. School, not survival, was now the main goal of these children.

The villagers thanked us as best they could. Threw popcorn, sang songs, danced, made injera and honey. They gave us a coffee ceremony. Speeches and hugs. But for them this well was a miracle.


Out of Africa

A 6:20 wake up in Mekelle Ethiopia followed by a 8:00am flight to Addis Ababa with a seven hour layover until the four and a half hour flight to Dubai with a bonus layover of three hours before the seven and a half hour flight to London.  One Heathrow Express plus taxi later and I’m in my hotel, ready for free to play casino gaming.

I’ll be decompressing for awhile but here are three quick thoughts about my trip:

  • The combination of seeing an amazing place with new friends, meeting amazing people who dedicate their life’s work to doing good, and being part of something so much bigger than myself has made this the best vacation I’ve ever had (sorry Italy)
  • The need for clean water around the world is cemented in my soul.  To hear that one billion people lack clean water is a statistic, to go to a village of 200 and bear witness to the lack of water is a tragedy
  • The solutions are there.  The work charity:water is doing to bring clean water to villages with integrity to their donors is amazing.  Within my life time I will be able to live in a world where everyone has access to clean and safe drinking water, in part thanks to the work that Scott Harrison and charity:water is doing

So many people have donated to my Out of Office campaign that with my matching we will be able to give hundreds of people access to clean and safe drinking water.  That is priceless. I thank you, and some fortunate village thanks you.



Annoying New Friends

One of the best parts of coming to Ethiopia is the opportunity to make new friends while seeing an amazing country.

Here is a perfect illustration.

Sent from a phone. I actually have no idea what it’s like to send mail on a normal keyboard.

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