The riders are gathering for a mass start at the fifth annual Tour de H2O (TDH). It’s a beautiful summer day in Columbus, Ohio, and the excitement is building! I can feel the positive energy in the air, which is coming from the many cyclists and volunteers gathered together for the purpose of raising funds for the construction of water supply projects in dry, rural areas of Western Kenya. Tires are inflated, water bottles topped off, helmets on, sun-screen applied… we are ready to ride! One of my favorite things to do on TDH event day is to say a few words to the TDH participants before the participants depart, but how can I quickly and clearly communicate to them the importance of this effort? The passion I have for helping bring clean water to those who have none? The dire situation so many people around the world suffer with daily due to the lack of clean water? The tangible difference I know we can all make with a relatively small amount of money? The love and compassion I feel for the extreme poor that I’ve met while traveling in Africa?
Do I tell them about the e-mail we received in 2011 from a rural African water committee where TDH funded water well had been installed with the help of the great folks from Global Partners for Development (www.GPFD.org)? There had been an outbreak of cholera in the area near this particular village and they were not affected as they no longer were forced to obtain their drinking water from the nearby polluted stream.
Or maybe I mention the women of the very rural Village of Bam Got in Western Kenya… incredibly hard working and industrious ladies whose lives were changed overnight when water stared flowing from the new well constructed from funds donated during the first TDH. No more 2-3 hour walks each day hauling heavy buckets of water… no more illness caused by contaminated water… more free time to produce goods to sell so that they can have the money to send their children to school… the valuable experience gained in community development and project management… So many inspiring stories to tell and so little time.
In the end, I had so many different thoughts in my head that I was only able to give a rider safety talk, thank our generous sponsors and thank everyone for supporting the TDH. Thankfully, my lovely wife Keely was by my side and quickly gave a brief but beautiful speech about the dire situation many of these Africans are in and the very real difference we all are making. Then it was my turn to say, “LET”S RIDE!”
Please Visit www.TourdeH2O.org for More Information on Participation Opportunities