Posted by: stephengerard123 | September 26, 2013

Clean Water Is More Than A Mission

Water for Waslala is pleased to welcome Steve Gerard to our blog! Steve is a generous donor and volunteer who recently traveled to Nicaragua. While the main purpose of his trip was surfing, he asked us if he could share his experiences as they relate to water in general, and our mission. Thank you Steve!

If you’re passionate enough about something, you will make sure that every day of your life somehow reflects that passion. From a young age I was fortunate enough to travel the world and see places far beyond my wildest imaginations. I met people that changed my perspective on life, but more importantly saw sides of the world that I never knew existed. Removing yourself from the fast-paced environment that we so steadily thrive in is essential.  Our culture associates happiness with material possessions when in reality none of these things will ever play into the individual footprint we leave on the world. Whether it’s jumping on a plane, hoping a train, or taking a bike ride to the less developed side of town; it is crucial to see parts of the world that open your eyes to the reality of life for others.

Upon booking my second trip to Nicaragua, I had plenty of memories of my previous trip. These visions consisted of perfect waves, desolate beaches, vibrantly green jungles, smiling faces, and a culture that appreciated the little things in life, because these little things were about all they had.

As we booked our tickets, checked the wave forecast, and set our sights on the Northern part of Nicaragua, my wanderlust veins were pumping.  I was eager to see a new part of the world but more so eager to immerse myself within a culture that was substantially different than my own. No street corner, neighborhood, or city block was comparable to the sights I would see; most of them beautiful, leaking colors of paradise. But others, dark, dim, and dangerous exposing sides of this country that many thought didn’t exist.

One thing to note about most Central American countries and Nicaragua in particular is that the heat is almost paralyzing.  The moment you step off of the airplane you are awoken with a hot sweat, something similar to entering a desert.  The people of Nicaragua pride themselves off the land and the sea, and these two places are what provide a basis of the employment for this country. The heat will overpower you within minutes, forcing you to seek two things: shade and water. What many travelers neglect to realize is that the first remedy is far easier to receive than the second.

We jumped in the taxi and set our sights on Hotel Chancletas, about an hour east of Leon. My eyes surveyed every single smile, frown, and situation through those dusty, humid windows. I was eager to understand life here and took in every fleeting moment that passed me by.

Bamboo structures disguised as huts lined the smoggy streets as street vendors hollered and families commenced.  The urban clutter went on for miles, finally creating a passageway to the lush fields of the countryside. Life was different here, and to begin comparing it to city streets or suburban neighborhoods would have you realize that you are far removed from the norm.

No clean water, no air conditioning, no cell phone, no internet, no paved highways, no glorified anything; and as you pan across that list, you realize that just one of those items is really a necessity, something we as humans all need. Clean water is hard to come by in Nicaragua, and by surveying the country on our ride to the hotel, it is clear that this is only one of the many issues this country is battling with.

As you drive the roads of Nicaragua, dodging potholes, stray dogs, and oversized cattle you realize the necessity for clean water, and even more so when you understand how uncomfortable the living situation is for many families.  As a tourist and traveling American it can take a bit to realize that your leisurely vacation is everyday life for most, and that the struggle for clean water and sustainable living conditions is what keeps these locals working day in and day out. Their smiling faces tell stories, stories of struggle but also stories of triumph. The people of Nicaragua have a deeper appreciation for the land, the ocean, and the little things in life.  Their dreams and visions are far removed from any fancy car, shiny necklace, or house on the hills, but more so incorporate everyday necessities that we so easily overlook.

Clean water plays the most vital role in the way we live our everyday lives. It took one person to realize this struggle and that one person has taken that struggle and turned it into a mission that has created a plan.

The plan has now grown into an organization of people dedicated to making a substantial difference in a very small part of the world. Though it starts in Waslala, there is a far bigger mission in mind; a mission to change the world, one village, one household, and one family at a time.  Next time you go to brush your teeth, boil water, quench your thirst, or take a shower, take a minute to think just how important this resource actually is and how many people around the world are without what is so easily attained by you.  To gain a deeper appreciation for the little things is to realize just how lucky you are in every instance of life. I believe it takes traveling and removing yourself from your normal situations to realize that you can make a difference and that people out there need your knowledge, your support, and your helping hand. You have the capacity to instill hope within a child, a family, a village and a country, and nobody is waiting for you but yourself.

 

Beautiful stretches of Nicaraguan coastline

Beautiful stretches of Nicaraguan coastline

 

Clean water, a precious amenity in Waslala

Clean water, a precious amenity in Waslala

 

Team work among locals and volunteers

Team work among locals and volunteers

 

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