Bricktown to Capitol Walk to Highlight World Clean Water Crisis
Friday, September 4, 2009
Posted by: Katy Roybal
For much of his life, 12 year-old Eden spent eight hours every day toting heavy water jugs several miles from a muddy, parasite-infested pond to his small village in rural Rwanda. This burdensome chore prevented Eden from attending school and from just being a child. Eden's quality of life, and those of his fellow villagers, was dramatically changed, however, when a well was drilled in the village, ending the long treks for unclean water.
Wishing Well, a non-profit, student-led organization, was the driving force behind this and 65 other clean water projects world-wide. Oklahoma Christian University student Ryan Groves, executive director of the OC Wishing Well chapter and a co-founder of the organization, said more than 1 billion people do not have clean drinking water. An estimated 5 million people, mostly children, die each year from water-borne diseases.
The plight of people without access to clean water will be dramatized on Labor Day, September 7, when students and other Oklahomans concerned about the water crisis will fill gallon jugs at the south parking lot of the Bass Pro Shop, 200 Bass Pro Drive in Bricktown, at 9:00 a.m. and carry them to the steps of the State Capitol. Wishing Well, which raises money through art shows, prayer nights and concerts, also hopes to raise $10,000 to drill additional wells by asking businesses and individuals to contribute $1 for every gallon carried on September 7. Based on the average number of people served by a single well, a $1 donation to Wishing Well can provide clean drinking water to one person for 10 years. All funds raised by the organization go directly to clean water projects.
The OC chapter of Wishing Well, with approximately 20 student volunteers, has already raised funds to drill 14 wells in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Haiti, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, and the Philippines. Oklahoma Christian has a strong connection to Rwanda as 50 students from Rwanda currently attend the university. Rwandan president Paul Kagame will deliver the commencement address at Oklahoma Christian next spring for the first graduating class of Rwandan Presidential Scholars.
“Our objective for the walk is to raise the awareness of the serious crisis caused by contaminated drinking water and the lack of access to clean water,” Groves said. “We invite everyone who shares our concern for these people, especially the children, to join our walk and contribute to the drilling of more wells.”
Wishing Well is being featured in “The National Day of Encouragement” and the television documentary, “7 Days Across America” hosted by Jeff Foxworthy. Crews from the show will be in Oklahoma City to film the Wishing Well walk. “7 Days Across America” is a seven-day journey aimed at showcasing the good deeds of today's youth. The “7 Days” trip will begin on September 5 in San Francisco and conclude September 12, the National Day of Encouragement, in a celebratory event in New York City. This event will also include the premiere of “One Drop,” a moving documentary created by Wishing Well about the international water crisis.
On September 10, 50 Oklahoma Christian students and staff will board buses and ride to New York City for the premier of “One Drop,” which was recently filmed in Rwanda and will provide a striking first-hand view of the water crisis and those who face it daily. Wishing Well volunteers hope to “provide a window into the world and culture of the Rwandan people, giving viewers an opportunity to meet and see the people affected and share in the joy of their solution.”
Dr. Mike O'Neal, president of OC, said it is uplifting to see students on their own initiative making a difference in the world. “I'm always impressed by the hearts of our students who give so much of their spare time whether it is bringing clean water to African villages, nursing the poor in Honduras or helping the homeless in Oklahoma City,” he said.
If you would like to help with this effort, as a walk sponsor or just as a contributor, please contact Wishing Well at 405-425-1065 or send your check to Wishing Well, c/o Oklahoma Christian University, PO Box 11000, Oklahoma City, OK 73136-1100.
For more information on the Wishing Well program, log on to www.wishingwellafrica.com.