Trip changes perspective on life
By Darren LumFrom the bone-chilling temps of Haliburton to the oppressive heat of Nicargua, Dan Geffros found warmth and freedom in giving the gift of clean drinking water to those who needed it the most thousands of miles away.
It not only gave him fulfillment, but a new found perspective of his life here in Canada.
Geffros was part of a nine-member Water Ambassadors Canada team that helped install four water wells for close to 1,500 people in outlying villages of Matagalpa, Nicaragua during a one-week trip, from Jan. 12 to 19.
Now when Geffros sees his two vehicles and ATV he thinks of how little villagers of Nicaragua have.
“We don’t know how lucky we are,” he said.
It amazed him that the villagers lived with so little, describing their home as concrete-walled shacks with tin roofs and dirt floors. He still cannot believe how much the trip affected him.
“It’s a real eye-opener. They have an existence not a living,” he said.
For their subsistence living, he said, all of them showed great courage, expressing surprising optimism and happiness unlike anything he has seen.
“I almost felt privileged to help the people,” he said.
Geffros said he is far more cognizant of people in need in this community because of the trip.
Water Ambassadors it is a non-profit Christian charity that brings clean drinking water to communities by drilling and repairing wells, setting up water purification systems, distributing water filters and teaching health and hygiene.
On the last day of his stay, the Water Ambassadors facilitated a tour of the area for him and the volunteers. Geffros wished he could have used the time to do more. The Ambassadors usually facilitates this tour for its volunteers as a show of appreciation for the work.
The Pump Shop employee helped with the installation of new equipment for four wells, characterizing them as a simple “farm cistern well.”
He said he’s known Water Ambassador president and founder Barry Hart for a few years. He always wanted to go on a trip like this. This was his first time.
“Kudos to Barry Hart. The work he does is unbelievable,” he said.
According to the Ambassadors’ website, Hart and Heather Alloway founded LWI Canada in 2002, which later evolved into Water Ambassadors. They are retired teachers who became motivated after hearing a presentation on the world’s need for clean water.
There have been more than 120 teams from across Canada bringing clean water solutions to Central America, the Caribbean, Uganda, The Democratic Republic of Congo and India.
The father of three adult children is anxious to go back.
Maybe this time, he said, he’ll go with his wife, who encouraged him to go alone for his first experience.
Geffros encourages everyone to help.
“There’s always a need for another volunteer,” he said.
See www.waterambassadorscanada.org for more information.
February 18, 2014