W2T: Media Monday

Instead of checking emails and catching up from the weekend through your lunch break, take some time to review two interesting articles on the water crisis. 

It’s Media Monday, why not?! 

This first article is written by Mark Ruffalo, an Oscar-nominated actor and a climate change activist.  Ruffalo talks about the global water crisis not only impacting other countries, but also the U.S.  People may feel separated from the issue of safe drinking water, but this crisis directly impacts our communities.  When we realize how to respect our own water supply, we can become more educated and engaged in helping other countries with the water crisis too. 

Take a look at Mark Ruffalo’s article and watch his chat on Huff Post Live.


The second article came to us from Christianity Today and discusses “Cost-Effective Compassion: The 10 Most Popular Strategies for Helping the Poor.”  This article explores “the best” ways to serve and help poor communities….as well as identify programs and organizations to assist.

What will you do about the global water crisis?  Do you have programs you support to help those in need?


Chef's Table Austin: Menus Released

Join Water to Thrive on April 29th at the NEW Palm Door on 6TH for a unique benefit auction, supporting W2T’s efforts in Rural Africa.
**No tickets necessary. You must RSVP to attend and get an assigned paddle. WEAR HUES OF BLUE IN SUPPORT OF THE MISSION. Drinks and heavy hor d’oeuvres will be served.
Chef’s Table Austin is a charity dinner auction that will bring supporters of Water to Thrive together to bid on meals from the country’s finest chefs. This exciting night includes a Live Auction, Silent Auction and other fun surprises! Mix, mingle and bid on dinners from the country’s most accomplished chefs. A live auctioneer will spice things up and boost bidding fun, so come and join us! Grab a group of co-workers, friends or family and bid together on a fabulous, custom dinner prepared privately by one of the country’s culinary masters.
A few of this year’s confirmed chefs include: Chef Bull of Congress, Chef Snow of Greenhouse Craft Food, Chef Murber of Fabi + Rosi, Chef Jones of Salt & Time, Chef Duplechan of Lenoir, Chef Ellliott of Foreign & Domestic, Chef Parind Vora of Jezebel and Chef Max Petty of Olivia.  To see some of the menus up for bid this year (JUST RELEASED), review the Chef's Table Austin official website.
Water to Thrive is an Austin-based nonprofit. The mission of Water to Thrive is to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in rural Africa. Our event will help raise funds to support the mission’s operations and allow us to continue effective work in Africa, where we have already funded more than 440 water projects, providing clean water to more than 210,000 people.

Lions Club Connection with W2T

Yesterday, Water to Thrive went to Brenham, Texas to present at a Lions Club meeting…but we did a little research beforehand.

Did you know that 153 MILLION people have uncorrected vision impairments?  The Lions Club is aware of this issue, and they collect thousands of eyeglasses every year to provide VISION to people all over the world.

During yesterday’s presentation to the Lions, W2T mentioned the negative impact dirty, unsafe water sources have on communities in East Africa, especially in Ethiopia.  One major thing people suffer from by using dirty water?

River Blindness. 

Providing a clean water well in Ethiopia is a wonderful, long-term solution to PREVENT River Blindness. 

If you have questions about getting your organization involved with Water to Thrive to make a lasting impact, contact us today:    You can also read more about the Lions and their eyeglass initiative here


This project made me feel as if I’d done something tangible with my time


Sometimes you go looking for an opportunity to help people, and sometimes it falls in your lap. The latter happened to me as a PCV. The first year of my service I lived in a tiny rural village in northern Ethiopia, as beautiful as any place I’ve seen. Despite this beauty, and the friendly people there, the area is undeveloped, and 90% of the people working in subsistence agriculture. Most people are without electricity, nobody has running water, and people live hard lives because of the lack of education, health care and infrastructure.

I occasionally made a 40-minute walk to a neighboring village where I visited some classes and taught the teachers basic English. One day the school director, Mr. Mesfin, asked if I could help bring a water supply to the school. I was often being asked for things I couldn’t provide, but I said I’d see if we could find some grant money.
At about the same time Mr. Mesfin asked me for help, I received an email from Joyce Mueller from Water to Thrive, a Texas-based NGO that builds water wells in Ethiopia. Joyce and her husband, Dick, are friends of family friends. They had found my contact information and wanted to meet me on their trip to Ethiopia. Together we hatched an idea to do the water project for the neighboring village and their school: A 400-meter pipeline extension would be built to bring water from the existing source to the school with six faucets.
The project cost was $11,000. When I went home for a break at Christmas we had a party where I spoke about Peace Corps and my village life to friends and neighbors. Dick spoke about the mission of Water to Thrive. We introduced the project and about half that amount was raised among family and friends.
Some months passed and I became worried the project would stall without the rest of the funding. However, one bright day I was awakened by a phone call. It was Tes, an Eritrean/Ethiopian man I met some months back on a plane to Addis Abeba. Tes had immigrated 11 years ago to Toronto and works for Phoenix Geophysics Ltd. He had wanted to make a contribution to the project, which I mentioned on the plane, and he put a notice about the project on his company’s bulletin board. As it turns out, the company president decided to contribute the remaining cost for the project. This generosity brought tears to my eyes.
Several weeks later construction commenced.
The work moved along quickly. A local organization handled the design and construction of the project using the funds donated to Water to Thrive, and most of the labor was provided by local villagers.
As a result of this project, today more than 400 students and teachers have water on site – so they can now wash their hands after using the latrine, drink water throughout the day, and fill up their jerry cans to bring water home, which is typically the responsibility of girls in the village.
In the summer of 2013, we had the inauguration ceremony under cloudy skies. When fellow PCVs and a Water to Thrive board member and I got out of the car that brought us, village women and girls were singing to the rhythm of their drumming and making their happy ululation sound.
We walked to the site of the water station and my heart swelled – and I thought of all the people who gave money who wouldn’t be able to see how happy the people were. Ribbons were cut, songs were sung, dances were danced, students tested the faucets (photo above), and coffee was brewed. We were thanked profusely, and I gave a short speech in Tigrinia, the local language. We were serenaded all the way back to our vehicle and waved goodbye. A truly wonderful feeling enveloped me.
This project made me feel as if I’d done something tangible with my time in Ethiopia. Living here and knowing the challenges facing rural areas it’s hard not to think of their ongoing problems. Will the equipment still be working years from now? How long would it have taken to get the water station if we hadn’t found the funding for it? Will the villagers ever be able to afford an electric infrastructure that would dramatically reduce the cost of pumping the water? These thoughts concern me, but I also realize I can’t figure that all out; these are things the community will figure out.
I hope to come return one day and see the water station and make further improvements. Maybe people will still remember me. I’ll certainly remember forever the day we inaugurated the project, the generosity of both friends and strangers who helped fund the work, and the pure joy and appreciation the villagers showed that day.
**You can find more on the Peace Corp and this entire blog here
Andrew Tadross grew up in Texas and was working as a park planner for the City of Houston prior to serving in Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 2011 to 2013. Later he taught two semesters of Landscape Architecture at Mekele University. Currently, he is readjusting to life in the U.S. and finalizing a Tigrinya language book that he hopes to publish.


Water Quotes and Inspiration

Yesterday, Water to Thrive asked our Facebook friends and supporters to share their favorite water quotes.  Here is what they shared (tell us what you think):
·      Thousands have lived without love, not one without water." -W.H. Auden
·      From older woman at new well: "You mean I've been carrying water for miles all of my life, and there has always been water in the ground, just under where I sleep?"
We also came across an important, innovative way to look at water.  Take a look: 


Lent, 2014 – Water to Thrive and Bethany College

Water to Thrive is excited for Bethany College to be supporting the mission during Lent!  


Ash Wednesday, March 5

·      Chapel – The Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion
The Water of Hospitality:  Holy Baptism”
Extended Chapel time:  10:15 – 11:00 am
·      Beginning of Lenten Series:  “Water to Thrive”  Water to Thrive is a faith-based non-profit dedicated to the mission of bringing clean, safe water to those who need it in rural Africa.  They work with donors in the U.S. and implementing partners in Africa to create sustainable change.  (               
·      During Lent, everyone is invited to participate in the daily discipline that involves water and to contribute to building a well in Africa through Water to Thrive.  Small collection boxes are available in the Chapel.*
·      This week’s daily discipline (March 5-11):  say a prayer of thanks for clean, safe water every time you turn on the faucet.
Wednesday, March 12
·      Chapel (10:30-10:50 am) – Bishop Mike Girlinghouse, Ark-Ok Synod
“The Water of Integrity” – John 4:1-30
·      This week’s daily discipline (March 12-18):  take shorter showers (5 minutes or less) and save thousands of gallons of water over a year.
Wednesday, March 19
·      Spring Break
·      This week’s daily discipline (March 19-25):  turn off the water while brushing your teeth, shaving, and washing your hair.
Wednesday, March 26
·      Chapel (10:30-10:50 am) – Amelia Fabrizius, EBE in Honduras
“The Water of Community” – John 2:1-11
·      This week’s daily discipline (March 26-April 1):  use a reusable water bottle instead of single-use disposable bottles and save water and CO2 emissions (in the production of bottles), waste, and money.
Wednesday, April 2
·      Chapel (10:30-10:50 am) – Chapel Choir
“In the Morning I Will Sing”
“Water to Thrive” video
·      This week’s daily discipline (April 2-8):  re-use towels during the week so you don’t have to wash as many or as often. When doing laundry, avoid small loads and match the water level to the size of the load.
Wednesday, April 9
·      Chapel (10:30-10:50 am) – Aaron Silco, Study Abroad in India
     “The Water of Sustainability” - Mark 4:35-41
·      This week’s daily discipline (April 9-15):  volunteer at the Community Garden and/or help with Composting.  Learn about ways we save water
Wednesday, April 16
·      Chapel (10:30-10:50 am) – Wednesday in Holy Week
“I Thirst” – John 19:28-30
Maundy Thursday, April 17
·      Maundy Thursday Worship (7:00-7:45 pm) Swenson Chapel
“The Water of Servant Leadership” – John 13:1-20
Holy Communion
*You are invited to bring your offering to Chapel on any day you choose and place it in the earthenware water jug.
*To learn more about Bethany College, their campaign and ways to start your own

Participate in Amplify Austin NOW

We are thrilled to be participating in Amplify Austin 2014 – a city-wide giving day that offers a fun, exciting, and incentivized way of giving to causes you care about. Help us continue our work in the community by showing your generosity on March 20-21 during the 24-hours of giving. Set a calendar reminder now that at 6pm on March 20th you have 24-hours to give back where it counts. Save your calendar reminder and preschedule your donation today. Set-it and forget it, and still be apart of this exciting effort for us and with us.

Follow These Step-By-Step Instructions to Participate NOW:
1. Go to W2T’s profile.
2. Click “Donate Now” at the top of the page.
3. Fill in the donation amount.
4. Check the ‘Schedule for Amplify Austin Day’ box on the donation form.
5. Complete other questions on the form and click “Add to cart”
6. You will be asked to create an account, or login with an existing user account.
7. Creating an account allows you to track your donations, print receipts, save payment information, and is required to preschedule and if you also want to set-up afundraiser page. You are not required to have an account to simply donate on March 20-21st.
8. Proceed to check-out and you will receive a confirmation that your donation has been scheduled to run on March 20th, 2014 as part of the 24-hour Amplify Austin giving.

Amplify Austin: 24 Hours to Increase Awareness & Funds

I Live Here I Give Here has approved Water to Thrive to participate in Amplify Austin this year.  Amplify Austin is an exciting 24 hour “festival of giving” for Central Texas nonprofits to increase awareness, while also increasing funds! 
Last year, over $2,789,382 was raised in 24 hours—providing funds to over 320 participating nonprofits.  This year, Amplify Austin hopes to raise over $4,000,000 for over 400 nonprofits!  Water to Thrive is amped up and blessed to be a part of this event.  But we need your support…
How can you participate in Amplify Austin and give back to Water to Thrive?
-Mark your calendar right away. March 20th, 2014 @6pm…you can begin participating in Amplify Austin.
-Take some time to learn more about the water crisis and Water to Thrive on our Amplify Austin profile
-Donate to our fund and help us raise more for water than ever…in 24 hours!
-Spread the message, FAST, and have others learn and donate too.
-Questions? Contact   

Save the Date: Chef's Table Austin

Chef’s Table Austin is a one of a kind fundraiser to support the continued work and mission of Water to Thrive. We hope that you will join us on April 29th for our third annual Chef’s Table event celebrating 6 years of bring clean, safe water to East Africa.



Mark your calendars for Water to Thrive’s third annual Chefs Table Austin and your opportunity to mix and mingle with Austin’s most distinguished culinary masters.  Chefs Table Austin 2014 is a foodie’s paradise! Get your paddle ready to be a part of exciting live auctions for personalized dinners with Austin’s most  accomplished chefs.

Each chef will prepare a customized menu, reflecting his or her style and culinary specialty for the auction block.  Dining experiences could include upwards of 16 courses courses for 10 people, live music, a dining experience with the chef himself or a one-on-one opportunity to craft the menu, shop and cook with the chef.  The possibilities are endless!

**To learn more about Chef's Table Austin, visit our website for frequent updates.  You can also get on our invite list by contacting us today.



Face to Face with Water Women: by Board Member Jim Sorensen

                  In Ethiopia, rural women must carry water on their backs. This water is usually up to two miles away from their homes, and is usually contaminated. Though about 80% of the land in Ethiopia has water underground, these women are generally unaware of its existence. Water To Thrive produces wells, making this underground water available. Getting to know these water women, and their challenge of acquiring clean water for their families, can change an American’s life forever!
                  Nancy Teply, Beth Senne-Dufff, and Bobbie Bateman accompanied me on a trip to Ethiopia last June 2013, and they are now working to see that more and more clean water is available in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania. The picture was taken in front of the building where I had started a clinic and hospital in 1963, while serving the American Lutheran Church as a missionary. Sadly, the building is standing empty. It was built by the Italians when they attempted to occupy Ethiopia during WWI. The building, with several other buildings on the same plot of land was given to the ALC for development in 1961. The building housed a clinic, a hospital, a chapel, and four apartments for missionary families. When the missionaries were forced out by the Marxist government in the 70’s, the building was bombed and left unattended for some time. At the end of that regime, the Tigre Development Association (Tigre is one of the provinces in Ethiopia) tried to rehab the building, and did use it for teaching bee-keeping, and some other occupations. The June trip group visited the site and some wells that are near the area.
                  What we all learned from actually being at well sites is that looking in the faces of these women and girls, who have carried water all their lives, was that their spirits are not dismayed by the drudgery of this task. These women and girls looked at us with love and happiness that surpassed the drudgery. Their generosity with what food they had and the spirit with which they shared it with us was overwhelming. After being that close to one of these women leaves the visitor very close to God. We came home ready to work toward further development of the water ministry done by Water To Thrive.
                  All are invited to also have the opportunity to experience the closeness of water women. W2T is sponsoring three trips to Ethiopia in May and June of 2014. Access the details of the trips by going to:  I will be leading the trip In June and would love to have several persons on that trip with me.

Jim Sorensen 



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