Trump’s border wall is more than a physical barrier, or a safety precaution. It is a symbolic structure intended to send a message to brown people below the southern border and elsewhere that the unconscionable struggles leading them north are insignificant, and that their presence is unwanted. Trump has pursued this ill-informed national security initiative with such fervor, that within 2 months, private citizens had banded together to raise 20 million dollars towards its construction (Click Here if you don’t believe). For me, seeing such an outpour of financial support for such a controversial structure made me reflect on my own self-doubt in seeking change.
With Destination Impact we travel to some of the poorest areas in the world serving people of color as best we can. Admittedly, we have been taking on some of the smaller challenges because it’s easier - donating school supplies, shoes, and clothes, funding scholarships, and building a library. For a while now, I had been aware that the village in Zagora that Destination Impact serves was in need of clean water. I was told it would take upwards of fifteen thousand dollars to set up the right infrastructure to fix it. Because that seemed like too big of a problem to fix, I turned a blind eye to the families of 15-20 persons who live off 10.5 gallons of water per week. Meanwhile the average adult in America uses 80-100 gallons per day. At our partner school, children can be seen sprinting from the classroom door into the desert to use the restroom. Little girls ducking behind a tree for a bit of privacy, because the bathroom that had been installed, has been rendered useless without adequate water. For obvious reasons, many girls stop attending once they hit puberty. But recently, I thought to myself, if Trump can wield a passion so contagious that it inspires people to come together to raise millions towards a wall, otherwise known as hate masked as nationalism, then surely, I can set my sights higher, for projects that promote prosperity.
On my most recent trip to Morocco, I drove around the village with a member of the village’s association to better understand the situation. He showed me to a place where people go, miles away from the nearest home to access small amounts of water if they run out before the next weekly shipment. It was one of those old school wells, with water deep below the surface. A rope dangles in front to pull water up to the top, one 2-liter bucket at a time. We rounded off our day in the desert with a trip to a hammam. The first time I went to Morocco, I got to experience a spa version of this – a private room with ornate walls, steam, rose petals, a skilled woman scrubbing and massaging my entire body. But, this was no spa, it was a community hammam where everyone from the village came to get clean. I’d imagine they would rather bathe here in public than use their small weekly water allowance. In true Destination Impact #livelikealocal fashion, I stripped down to my birthday suit and headed in to see what the experience was like. Woman of all ages, along with young children all found a corner in one of the steamy rooms, grabbed a bucket of hot water, sat on the floor and started scrubbing. Female workers circulated the room splashing water on the floor to send body dirt down the nearest drain. Hammams are a staple of Moroccan culture, so I don’t intend to make it appear barbaric or suggest that my American ways are better. However, people being obligated to bathe here in order to get clean, only being able to afford going once or twice a week, or not having access to the most sanitary version of these facilities is where I would like to shine a light.
So I’ve decided to create my own GoFundMe to provide literal lifetime relief to a community struggling one of the most basic necessities. I am asking anyone reading this to join me in this movement to pursue seemingly unachievable change. I refuse to believe that there is a larger desire to exclude one another than to lend support. There are many problems to fix across the globe, but let us start with clean water in Zagora, today -