Friday, May 18, 2012

Sometimes You Just Need to Pick Up a Shovel

I would venture to say that most of us have a big dream.  Most of those dreams probably have to do with serving a greater good.  Doing something bigger with your life.  Helping a person you know.  Meeting a need.  Filling a void.  Many of you are simply wondering how to make your dream a reality.  Where will you get the resources?  Who will help make that dream come true?

What most of us don't realize is that all you have to do is take the first step.  In the case of The Green Living Planet we just needed to pick up a shovel.  Terrat Primary School presented us with a need - or more accurately, many needs.  When Ben first started working with them, his support came by just planting a few trees.  Letting these kids, who had next to nothing, know that someone cared about them.  He did what he could, but we knew they needed more.  These kids need a reliable food source.  They need lunch during the day.  And they need clean water.  So, we put together a proposal and a plan to reach out to friends, family and the community to see who wanted to help.  As you know, our first priority was to build the 8 keyhole gardens to grow food for the students.  If (and that was a big IF) we had any money left over we would put it aside and start drawing up plans and proposals in partnership with local leadership and the community to see how we could bring clean water to Terrat.

Well, let me tell you what you all have done:  You have far exceeded our expectations!  Our gardens are fully funded and we are "well" on our way (no pun intended) to bringing water to the community of Terrat and its 14,000+ inhabitants!!

Less than four weeks ago, we sent out our first proposal and email, asking for help.  We had a dream.  A dream to feed these kids and eventually bring them clean water.  I'd be lying if I told you I thought we would even raise enough money to build the 8 gardens.  But take a look at that thermometer to the right...INCREDIBLE!!!

As you know we've had many students in the U.S. involved in the fundraising for this project.  Well, we have another amazing story to share with you:

We emailed Trisha Rhodes, a teacher at Foxview Intermediate School in De Pere, WI, to see if her class wanted to get involved.  Not only did they want to get involved, but these kids put together a PowerPoint presentation and posters to put up around school.  They decided to start a Penny War and got every class in the school involved, including challenging the teachers and staff!  The Penny War was last week, May 7 - 11.  This next part is big, so it deserves its own line:

These kids raised $1354.71 for the students at Terrat Primary School in Arusha, TZ!!!  That's One Thousand Three Hundred Fifty Four Dollars and Seventy-One Cents!!!!!

Miracles come from surprising places.  Who knew that one email to one teacher would lead to students the same age in two countries on opposite sides of the world working together to bring change?  The Foxview kids have raised the support and the Terrat kids are, once again, ready to get to work.

So many individuals are still supporting us and to you, we want to say thank you again!  The first half of our project is funded and, as we promised in our proposal, the rest of your donations are being saved until we have enough money to complete the water project.  We still have schools and classes fundraising, as well, and we can't wait to see what happens next.  (To be honest, every day here seems a little bit like Christmas lately!)  Maybe we will be surprised again and bringing water to Terrat will be more than just a dream!

You have all inspired us to keep pushing forward.  We are not only going to find a way to raise the rest of the money to bring clean water to Terrat.  We're going to keep doing projects in the Arusha community, knowing that all we need is a little faith.  All we have to do is pick up our shovels.  We hope in some small way, we've helped inspire you to do the same.

We're headed back to build gardens 4 & 5 tomorrow.  We have also had meetings with the local chairmen regarding the water project.  More details to come...

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