Posted by: waterforwaslala | November 18, 2010

Solidarity Makes Us Happy

By Chris Lamar, WfW’s resident videographer (and Chief Happiness Officer?)

“It has been known for a long time that social solidarity makes difficult conditions more bearable.”

This statement comes from The Science of Happiness, written by Stefan Klein, Ph.D. He goes on to observe that we even live longer and healthier lives when we feel a sense of interconnectedness and social cohesion.

I can certainly say that I felt a sense of wellbeing from such cohesion when I was in Waslala, Nicaragua, a little over a year ago. I traveled with a group of friends to Nicaragua with the mission of capturing the stories of Water for Waslala’s beneficiaries. Armed with a large (read: intimidating) video camera, powerful (read: intrusive) audio equipment, and a few helpers, I ventured into people’s homes and farms to listen to their success stories and struggles alike.

Eric Ian and Chris Lamar

Eric Ian and Chris Lamar (on right), riding through the Waslalan jungle

Having previously worked with rural communities, I honestly expected to find timid, nervous interviewees.  Life in el campo tends to be meek, humble, and peaceful; not fitting for mini film sets. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when beneficiaries were more than eager to share their stories. At times it was tough to listen to their plight, as I’m sure it was tough for them to share. But, as studies show, a load shared is a load lightened.

It might be hard to believe, but if you check out one of the videos I filmed, you are participating in alleviating suffering. When we told WfW beneficiaries that we were going to share their stories with as many people as possible, they expressed profound gratitude. One beneficiary said, “While we need drinking water, we also need to tell our story. At the end of the day, we need to share ourselves to establish common ground, to build bridges and community. Sustainable development relies on that, not just money and resources.”

Watching a video may not feel like building a bridge, but awareness and knowledge are being developed.  That changes the world, albeit only slightly, but a change does occur.

I invite you to be a part of this change by checking out some of our videos at this link: http://www.waterforwaslala.org/media/video.php

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