How two members dug deep to bring sanitation to developing nations – by Susannah Maxcy of Renaissance Winter 2012 magazine.
On the impact Water Ambassadors has had on volunteers: “We’ve had big, macho Canadian men tear up. When some village person shakes your hand and says, ‘thank you’ for saving the lives of our children, it’s pretty humbling. It becomes a marker in people’s lives and that will change them forever. I think people realize the blessing that Canada has. You will never drink a glass of water out of the tap and think about it the same way again,” Barry expresses.
Access to water and proper sanitation are easy to take for granted when you live in a country with the world’s largest fresh water supply. We will neither know what it is like to walk for kilometres to a well nor will we ever know what it is like not to have access to a clean toilet. Enter Barry Hart, District 18, Haliburton and John P. Smith, District 13, Hamilton-Wentworth, Haldimand whose twists of fate inspired them to change the world one well and one latrine at a time.
… Barry Hart, founder of Water Ambassadors Canada, discusses the pressing need to bring clean water to third world countries … The interview is conducted by Lorna Dueck, host of Listen Up TV, a weekly television program exploring news and current affairs from a Christian worldview ~uploaded to YouTube on Nov 19, 2009
Barry Hart and his wife, Heather Alloway, first heard about the global water crisis 10 years ago at a conference they attended. “It went from our heads to our hearts. Within a year we were in Guatemala building a well in a remote location, a little scary at first, but totally blew us away … we remember sitting in the Houston airport coming home. By memory we were calling people using a phone card back in Canada to try to tell them what we had seen, heard and experienced. It was absolutely life-changing.”
Upon returning home, Barry and Heather formed the Water Ambassadors of Canada, a faith-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving and providing access to clean water to impoverished communities throughout the world. Since its inception, Water Ambassadors has sent approximately 300 Canadians to Central America, the Caribbean and Africa to help build wells, install water filtration systems and teach hygiene. Empowering the communities they help with the tools and knowledge to maintain these systems, Water Ambassadors provides water security in a time of increasing water instability.
… “Access is a big deal, because many of these places, people walk miles to get water from wells. We repaired on well in November that had been broken for 14 years, which forced the people to walk by that well to get to the next town to get their drinking water … when you fix wells you’re giving them access to clean water close by, or in some cases access to water period, rather than drinking out of the local mud hole. People totally appreciate it; they know what’s going on. It’s a matter of their time and their health that you’re giving them … kids can go to school with healthier tummies and a lot of little girls are not spending hours getting water each day,” says Barry.
Get involved. Are you interested in becoming a water ambassador? Water Ambassadors offers travel volunteer opportunities in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. Learn more about Water Ambassadors of Canada at http://www.waterambassadorscanada.org.