Roseanne Curtin - AOL

Wells for Zoe, chosen for award, by AOL

Meet the Winners of the Employee Cause Contest AOL

This year, we held our third annual Global Employee Cause Contest to recognize and further support our employees who are passionate about giving back – employees who have gone above and beyond to support the charity they are personally involved with.

During the first week of December, we invited employees from across the globe to submit their favorite non-profit for a chance to win a $5,000 grant in their name, to be donated to that organization. Not only did this give us an opportunity to further support our employees’ passions, but it was truly incredible to learn more about how AOLers are supporting their local communities throughout the year.

We saw a 44% increase in submissions this year, so the judging process was not an easy one! Our dedicated team of panelists judged the submissions based on the employee’s personal connection and level of commitment, expected future commitment and overall impact the $5,000 grant will have on the submitted organization.

We’re excited to announce the winners of this year’s contest – take a few minutes to read about your fellow employees and the incredible causes they care about:

Roseanne Curtin, Dublin, Wells for Zoe

W4Z is a small Irish charity that has a major impact in Malawi in Africa, providing clean and safe water. In the
past year they have installed 1,000 pumps that will provide clean water to over a quarter of a million people for 
life! Roseanne is very passionate about Wells for Zoe because she feels that each dollar truly goes a long
way. W4Z has a proven track record in delivering impressive results despite the fact that they are a small charity 
that receives no government funding and relies completely on small private donations. The $5,000 grant will
provide up to 10,000 people with clean water for life or send 50 girls to secondary school – this makes a
phenomenal difference in their lives, the lives of their children and in their communities. Roseanne has been 
involved with the organization for several years, helping spread the word about the charity and increase overall
awareness around the organization. Last year, Roseanne joined the W4Z board, has proactively lead donation
drives and is researching an app to help fundraise through online book sales! Roseanne also hopes to coordinate an engagement opportunity around World Water Day in 2014.

The two other  winners were:

Rob Lazorchak, Dulles
Johns Hopkins Pediatric Cardiology unit for Hayden’s Heart Heroes

Kurt Freytag, San Francisco
Peralta Parents & Teachers Association

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An Answer

For the past eight years, we’ve been working to build a different kind of organisation. One without big money, buildings and bureaucracy, One run on the energy of the volunteering spirit and one with faith in the ability of the poorest to have a solution to their own problems. It’s wonderful, now, to be able say that IT WORKS.

When we first went to Malawi at Easter 2005, we got a glimpse of what the water crisis really meant. We looked with great sadness, amazement and dismay, at broken pumps, pumps not fit for purpose, expensive pumps, beautiful pumps and then women and girls carrying filthy water, long distances on their heads. I suppose we scratched our heads and wondered where all the millions of aid was going, when this most crucial of steps in the development process seemed to have no solution.

We figured that solving this problem must be so difficult, since no one appeared to have cracked it. We had two options, go home, forget about and pray that some expert would solve it, or do something about it. Being stubborn and obstinate the second option looked like the way to go!!

I emailed hundreds of organizations (and there are thousands) who said give us your money, we do pumps, but since I had seen their puny, short lived solutions, I figured that back to the drawing board may be the way to go.

We knew that access to clean water changes things, but we had no idea just how much. The rewards now, after our eight year of struggles, are immeasurable. All we have done is voluntary, were we, M+J, pay all the organizations running expenses and are full time Malawi! We decided, from the start, to follow a path less travelled, the scenic, volunteering route, where people regularly advised us to leave it to the experts with the support of small donors and even a few bigger ones. We are so grateful to those people who have invested their money in a system less tried and tested, living with the poorest, listening to their stories, dreams and plans and always there to support with advice and training. Their country, their lives, their future, our inspiration, has been most rewarding: a wonderful period of common discovery, among equals.

 

So what have we learned…?

 

We were very happy arriving in Malawi with a most amazing and unique pumps. We installed them with and for the people. They dug wells, made bricks and did all the work, while we brought the pumps. BUT we soon found that they wanted to work with us on other issues. The accepted clean water as the beginning of a whole new life, but now that they knew us, they knew that we could work together and do more. They had, in fact, got dreams and plans, mainly short-term. Their plans included preschools, farming adult education, business. In locations, where they had not become disenfranchised by Aid and bureaucrats they were prepared to think, plan and dream dreams. Very soon it looked like pumps were forgotten and life could begin in earnest, and now, since the women can maintain their pumps with ease, the lives of village women and girls will never be the same. If you want to measure the cost of changing a life, just imagine that it costs just €1 to give a person clean water, in Northern Malawi, where we work.

 

Of course it’s a team effort, but our team is very small yet. We need more advocates, ambassadors and vocal volunteers, not principally for money but to change the way people look at development. Our message is simple, at a human scale and inexpensive. We don’ worry too much about numbers and statistics, we consider each individual as the most valuable We work with, and believe in Malawian people, mainly women, moving them to empower themselves. We don’t look at poverty or depravation; we look at situations and solutions. We look at connectivity, which is now so easy nowadays. We need to be neighbours and good friends, and then the tiniest of help can work wonders, but it has to be a bottom-up approach. Micro solutions really work.

 

We realize that partnership is important. Away from Malawi we are in awe of all the people in schools, churches, offices and homes who show they care and work tirelessly for the cause. We’re humbled by it all.

 

We never planned for growth and expansion, but it has come through the efforts of others, particularly in Malawi, where we have installed, repaired and replaced over 2000 pumps, thus bringing clean, safe drinking water to over a quarter of a million of the poorest  

We hadn’t planned farming, training, research, seed and seedling production, but its all there to be seen and run by bright, intelligent and hard working Malawians, many of whom have little formal education but who are so eager to learn.

We never thought of preschools, yet we have 22, run by the most willing Malawian rural women, who care for the little ones under trees, in cowsheds, schools and deserted buildings. We work on training and they get on with it. Buildings will come later.

We never dreamed of Adult Education but our women have dreams. Dreams of beginning at Standard One and learning to read with their children, technicolour dreams of going to Secondary schools and even more do-able plans to be able to feed, educate and support their families. If I could write, there a hundreds of individual stories of bravery and courage persistence and prayers.

And we had no idea how fast anything would happen. In reality a few hundred people with clean water was what we wished for back in 2005. So if someone mentioned an education project impacting 16 schools and over 25,000 primary school students, I might have inquired about their state of mind, and a birthing centre in the bush, and a pump factory and Malawian employees who run the show on their own, and sending girls to Secondary school, and building and supporting primary schools and libraries. And I’m breathless

But this is where Wells for Zoë, You and us and them, the Universe has certainly colluded!

 

Today…

We have maybe 100 regular donors

Most donate less than €100

Our biggest supporter(s) is a Our Lady’s School, Terenure, Dublin 16, where everyone appears to be involved, and where the feeling of goodwill is electric.

Our investment in buildings in Malawi will soon pay all our wages

We work with 5 Government Ministries at local level, where all are committed to progress without hand-outs

Our water project is expanding in 3 countries, working with partner organizations who share a similar philosophy

We have no paid staff, except our Malawian employees.

Our future will hopefully see more Malawian staff employed and retained if they can fit-in:

More training and up-skilling for our current staff; more involvement in the project by all employees; more setting up and handing over of commercial co-operative women’s farms like the one in Doroba, enabling people to empower themselves.

But who knows?

We have learned a lot in 8 years. Our employees, volunteers, villagers and partners have made seismic and sustainable strides, with our approach of inspiration, education and challenge and they are not for turning back now.

 

On Sunday night two DIT students: Tommy Flavin and Claire Cunningham who volunteered with us at Easter 2012 and are finalizing a documentary, interviewed us for about two hours on video. Their final question was:

Why would anyone want to leave the comfort of Lucan and travel 8000 miles to poverty, hardship and hard work; we thought it over guys and our final answer is: We can’t imagine anything more exciting?

Teacher mentoring

Malawi: Progress on a Shoe String, November 25, 2012

Anything is possible if you have clean, safe drinking water

Anything is possible if you have clean, safe drinking water

A new variety apple budded on to a local rootstock

A new variety apple budded on to a local rootstock

Duncan going on his bike to fit a new pump

Duncan going on his bike to fit a new pump

A happy woman

Mary: Creating an interest in books, everywhere she goes

Picture2

Carrying water

IMG_0418

Pumping is so easy with the Canzee pump. Ask any 4 year old!

Ecaiweni Conference on Micro Credit

Language barrier: What’s that.
Mary working with a women’s Self Help group, in their village on their plans

 

I had two contrasting contacts that made an impact on me last week. The first was an email wondering whether we had finished with Malawi, or were we still in business and the other was a contact regarding our gathering for volunteers from the past seven years in Malawi.

I suppose it’s not surprising that someone may think of our early demise, because many small organisations like us do what they can, and leave. We now spend a little less than half our lives in Mzuzu, we make no great fuss about what we do when we are at home, and our fundraising is low key and almost underground.

Early this year we revamped our board with a more formal structure and now we have Dr Ann Burnell, Professor Emeritus in Biology NUIM, as Chair, Pierce Maher, Dr Maria Corrigan, Ciarán O’Leary, acting head of the School of Computing, DIT, Kevin St, Liam Stuart, Caitriona Coyne, John Waters, Irish Times, Elaine Bolger, Roseanne Curtin, Mary and myself. Since we are a 100% voluntary organisation we have found that this arrangement lightens the load on us a bit. Voluntary, in W4Z always means no remuneration; everyone pays for travel, accommodation and all the costs of their involvement. There are no expenses of any kind or allowances paid by the charity, to anyone except the wages of our Malawi employees. We, as the founders, also pay all other expenses so that 100% of all public donations get all the way to our projects in Malawi and Zambia.

You could say that the gathering last Friday night last was our seventh Birthday, since it is seven years since we headed into the unknown, to a dot in the hills of Northern Malawi to meet a unique and amazing man: Br Aidan Clohessy, Head of St John of God Services in Mzuzu, to stay with him for two weeks and now 25 visits later we have the hospitality, wisdom, experience, advice and sound solid good sense of a Tipperary man who started from scratch, about 19 years ago, and has built up a first World Service, including a Health Science University. In typical fashion, he attributes it all to the Grace of God. In his interview with John Waters, on the night, he related; that success in Malawi began by his piggybacking on the Diocese of Mzuzu and St John’s Hospital and that W4Z have succeeded as a result of doing the same with SJOG. “It’s a good way to ensure success” he said. When asked to elaborate, he said that you must have determination and heart and W4Z is built on those virtues.

We are so happy that he came, with Provincial Br Lawrence, to cut the birthday cake (Donated by our local Superquinn). Of course he got a great welcome from all our volunteers who know him and all he has achieved in Malawi.

The various displays showed some of what we are now doing in Malawi and generated much surprise and delight, particularly for those who came to volunteer in the earlier years.

News for 2012 to date:

 

WATER: Our factory has manufactured over 450 pumps, this year and between Malawi and Zambia, we estimate that well over 100,000 villagers will have clean, safe drinking water, by year’s end. We also have a more formal training programme, in pump maintenance, for village women, who are burdened with the task of locating and hauling water on their heads, often from long distances. We are also doing trials on a new pump, a modifies version of our current one, for pumping up-hill and for filling tanks

 

PRIMARY EDUCATION: In our fourth year of teacher mentoring. Our programme now impacts over 25,000 students in two zones in the Northern region, working with the District Education Manager (DEM) and the inspectorate. It is designed and implemented by excellent practitioners from Ireland using the Malawi Curriculum and is set for rapid expansion as some top Malawian teachers have been trained to be trainers. They’ve got a little lift and they are ON-IT. For the future, the DEM and some excellent school heads are of retirement age and coming to work for us.

 

PRESCHOOLS We now support 21 rural schools, mainly by training caregivers, and showing them how to make and use locally-made teaching aids. In terms of building schools, the community must make and build bricks and do all the labour, and when the reach roof level, W4Z supply only the roofing material and 3 bags of cement for the floor. This arrangement ensures community ownership.

 

FARMING

We now have four farms.

Farm 1: Here we do research and demonstration with about 100 plants, using OP seeds, No artificial fertilizer or chemical pesticides. We save seeds and have greenhouses to produce over 10,000 fruit tree seedlings each year, and a multitude of other trees.

Farm 2: This we use to produce seeds of four tree types, all nitrogen fixing, one for nutrient extraction (Musango), one used for pest control (Tephrosia), and two fast growing for forage (Sespania and Glicidia).

This will enable us to supply these seeds to about 250 local farmers and also to a Seed Company in Lilongwe

Farm 3: This is a 3 hectare, citrus grove but it is also used for herb growing and researching forgotten African plants.

Farm 4: This is a depleted wilderness for research. A 20 year old man, Kondwani, with his wife and child will live here, improve the soil with agro-forestry, green manure, pigs, a cow, long crop rotation and conservation tillage in a planned eight year ad(venture) to see what can be achieved without  Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and the rest. We hope that this will be a model for the future

OTHER

We also have a rural birthing centre, which doubles as a health centre and a location for many and varied meetings

We support clubs for grandparents rearing grandchildren and home based care for HIV/AIDS sufferers, in the areas where we work

We have a fund for hospital medicines and baby clothes for maternity wards, in Mzuzu Central Hospital and Mzuzu Clinic. We also supply transport for the medics for their monthly clinics.

We work with secondary schools and the two third level institutions.

We have a project enabling girls to go to Secondary Schools, a few school libraries and even one on the farm.

We have Adult education programmes and one for school gardens.

We work with women’s Self Help clusters and also have a 23 acre

co-operative, commercial, model farm for women, where we work with the Ministry for Agriculture, Agroforestry and the Traditional Authorities. Here Wells for Zoë bought the land and will resell it to the women over a four year period. We bought it in April, 2012 and already 25% has been repaid ahead of schedule. This is a very new concept (shares and women’s ownership) to rural Malawi and has created much interest from many sectors.

We have a bee keeping project with almost 100 hives and a market for honey

We supported a young nursing student, who will graduate in December and come to work with us.

We have a charity shop in Smithfield run by volunteers

All this happens without taxpayers’ money or any assistance from Irish Aid, but with great help from family, friends, supporters and volunteers, always with passion and a second hand shoestring budget.

Who said that Malawians need AID?

Getting the best return

Mary often asks me who I’m writing for, but I never really know, who reads or who cares, but being just off the plane after 32 hours travel, maybe it’s therapeutic!!.

Six weeks in Malawi was again exciting, enlightening and generally crazy. We had the sudden death of the President, his body sent to South Africa to allow time for an attempted coup, the grand tour in the golden trailer RIP 1, the millions of dollars, allegedly, found in bags in his bedroom and in his gold plated mausoleum, the vice president sworn-in, a palpable sense of relief and hope among our village friends, and the certain possibility of a better future. We’re told,  by our Malawian friends, that Ireland, almost alone, supported him to the bitter end, something they always question.

In Malawi, this was the hungry season when most villagers are down to one meal a day, still in the cold, rainy season. The maize has grown if you have fertilizer and the wet, red soil sticks to everything.

We had hardly drawn a breath of the rarefied air, before we were reminded of our commitment to a 200 strong women’s cluster in Doroba. Four of their representatives had trudged 30 km, in the downpour, to our pump factory, in the city to say thanks for the fifty pumps, but what about our preschools? In only one year of self help success, these shy, helpless and hopeless women had become eloquent, forceful and focused. Yippee!! They knew their community needs and our requirements and had a list of five areas where preschools had already begun operations, with carers, the use of a building, a school committee and the chiefs on board. Mary decided that we should meet each community separately and make sure that they all understood that they needed WORKING committees and school gardens for a feeding programme. By the end of six weeks we now have 11 new preschools (17 in all), where all the carers have had one day’s hands-on training, with Mary and her crew, just to get them started. I have’nt mentioned the cratered tracks, the desperate journeys, the nightmares for the bony-assed!, the magical scenery and the dire poverty. All that matters now is that these communities have a common mission, to get their little ones to school and keep them there. In these remote rural areas education is prized.

Meanwhile we opened our second adult education class in another deprived area of Mzuzu. Both will be models in a new push for adult literacy. While working closely with the District Education Manager we will continue to move the process forward in the villages with preschools.

Continuing with education, our volunteers from DIT, continued work on an English language project, for secondary school begun last year, while Mary gave the keynote address, and a workshop, at an In-service day on School Management. Plans are well under way, with the Education Ministry, for a two week training programme, by experienced, Irish teachers, to enable Malawian teachers to deliver training to their peers.

Despite the fuel, forex and sugar shortages, we managed to deliver 160 pumps to our partners in Zambia which will enable them to bring clean drinking to over 70,000 remote villagers. Considering the population of Roscommon is 63,896, I figure this is a bit of an achievement!

Oh, Our beehives are going great and we bought 2 piglets for breeding on the farm.

Land ownership in Malawi is very low especially for women, but in the last ten days we managed to buy 23 acres of land, in trust, for a group of 21 women and three men to enable them to set up a model, commercial, co-operative farm

It has the backing of all nine chiefs in the area, as well as support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro forestry, all of whom attended the hand-over meeting, at one day’s notice, under their own steam and without allowances. (maybe a first)

All this was achieved by a unique farmer, Dupu Mshanga, who will facilitate the project.

The Wells for Zoë  funding will be repaid by the end of four years and then passed on to a similar project elsewhere.

They have plans for cows and pigs, (with the help of the Ministry) paprika (for which we have a market) and pidgeon pea, Bananas and bees (we have a market for the honey), sunn hemp and velvet bean, no organic fertilizer or chemical pesticides.

These self help women will achieve all this because they are women, and because they are inspired. They will empower themselves, because they are the only ones who can do that. The final remark by Dupu was that they were never the recipients of Aid, they can do it by themselves and while they appreciate our help, he agreed that, in five years, W4Z would have convinced them that they had done it all by themselves.

John (and Mary Coyne): http://www.wellsforzoe.org

Ian Sutton

Hydrogeogogist Ian Sutton volunteers with Wells for Zoe in Malawi

We grabbed this from  info@recruitireland.com, about out man Ian Sutton

We’ve been lucky enough to feature a wide variety of careers and different sectors in the Career Paths series and this time we have something very different for you. In this installment, we’re delighted to feature Ian Sutton, a Project Hydrogeologist who works in Water and Sanitation services and who’s work takes him all over the world.

Hello! Ian and girlfriend Tara head for Malawi tomorrow May 29, 2012, to volunteer with us on water and education related projects in Mzuzu.

Ian worked with us in 2007 while doing his thesis and  now he’s turning to check up on us to see if we’re doing things correctly!!

Harisen and Charity will meet them at the airport and renew the friendships.
This is Ian.
Name: Ian Sutton
Age: 29
Birthplace: London
Marital Status: Single
Children: None
Highest Education: MSc
Institutions attended: Trinity College Dublin, Cranfield University, UK.
Academic achievements: BSc hons, MSc

About You

1) What is your current role?
I’m a project hydrogeologist in the water sector of a multinational company mostly working on consultancy jobs. The work is varied with new interesting projects coming in all the time. We do a lot of work on operational, environmental and water resource solutions for mining companies, government ministries/agencies and water utilities. Work gives me the opportunity to see a lot of interesting places throughout the UK, West Africa and South America.

2) How did you get into your current role/ industry?
I applied for my current job after having spent about 2 years studying for and working in the water and sanitation overseas development sector. I had been a mineral exploration geologist before that. Language skills were a big help in getting my current job, as well as having experience working overseas. I am currently getting technical hydro-experience in the private industry something that I hope to be able to apply to certain aspects of the overseas development sector in years to come.

3) How many years have you been in your current role/ industry?
3 years.

4) What other roles did you do before finding your current role?
From the most recent to the oldest:
• Managed a water supply project in northern Haiti, it involved rehabilitating an old water supply network about 18km long piping water from mountain springs to several villages, a collective of farmers and a large coastal town. In total about 10,000 beneficiaries. It was a real eye opener to overseas development work, although the work required a fair bit of technical problem solving, working and communicating with local communities was by far the most important aspect.
• Gold and coal exploration and drilling supervising geologist based in Mongolia for two years. It was great fun mapping in the wilderness, logging core, and interpreting geophysics among other things. It is a great place.
• Volunteered on the Suas programme providing teaching ideas to NGO schools in Calcutta. Wonderful experience and a great way to get into development type work. Being part of the programme definitely set the tone for wanting to continue along the lines of overseas development.

5) What was the worst job you ever had?
Night shift core logging at a drill rig in minus 20 degrees with no heater and a dodgy stomach. Only lasted two nights thankfully.

6) Did you always want to work in your role/ industry or did you get into it late?
I don’t think it is ever too late to get into a certain role or industry. I have changed industry three times; from mineral exploration, to overseas development, to technical hydro-consulting. It’s good to mix thing up and not to get stuck in one position.
It can be tough to change industries and can often mean taking a pay cut, but at the end of the day the more experience you have over a wide range of environments the more useful you will be either to your own company or someone else’s. Many skills can be applied over a range of industries.

7) What advice would you give to other people looking to get a career in your industry?
For hydrogeological consulting and hydrological consulting, and probably engineering in general, get a good technical base so that you are confident in your work. It’s good to start off working in a team where you can learn from your peers.
For overseas work a good way of getting experience is through volunteering initially. People you meet along the way can also lead to work further down the line. Hold onto contact numbers and email addresses.

8) What do you like most about your job?
The variety, meeting new people all over the world and having a balance between travelling to new places and having a base to come back to.

9) Anything you don’t like?
Work can take over your life sometimes, its really important to keep a balance and to relax, when you have a lot of client deadlines it can be hard to do this sometimes.

10) What time do you get up for work?
It varies a lot, when I’m working in the field anywhere from 5am to 7am. For an office day I’d usually get up at 8:00am.

11) Where would you like to retire to?
Ireland with sunshine, a reggae bar in Jamaica, or a Spanish villa! Anywhere with good food, good company and good weather!

12) Favourite website(s)?
Don’t have a favourite, probably BBC if I had to choose

13) What would be your dream job?
Successful musician

14) What are your goals or plans for the future?
Practise more guitar!
To continue to find work that I enjoy and that motivates me.

15) And finally, the three luxury items you want if you were trapped on a desert island?

Guitar
Surf board
Good company
(and maybe a luxury yacht)…. (or a trip to Malawi)

Thinking about Mission

 The woman at the well.

 

 

Yesterday, April 13, 2012, I was privileged to be at a well and pump installation ceremony at a Malawian village, a million miles from nowhere, in world terms, where we were part of a ceremony to celebrate the life of Judy Moore fromIreland. For me it was, what we call, a Sacramental moment in my life

Maybe Judy had little in common with the women in Phwokabandera village in life, but for an hour yesterday we were all one. Like the villagers, I never knew Judy, but I feel maybe she took a little peek at what was going on and was somehow with us.

The story of the Samaritan woman at the well is special to me. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”  The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman ofSamaria?” knowing that Jews had as little in common with Samaritans, maybe as little as Judy had in common with the Malawian women who gathered for clean drinking water. that her death inspired.

The story speaks of living water.  We understand that Jesus was speaking in a symbolic way, referring to the spiritual nourishment, but being human as well, I feel that He fully recognised the physical value of clean water. So, in a very real sense, caring for both the spiritual and the physical health of the people of the world is the duty of every Christian.

We honoured Judy and also thought of the enormous water crisis that faces our world and threatens the lives of millions. It feels a little strange to say that our work yesterday was not just about a hole in the ground and pipes and valves, it was really about people, real people, every single one of them looking on, working and taking part. It was also about the impact that this water will have on their lives. It’s a miracle, a burden relieved. Much illness banished and opportunities to be taken. Imagine the thought of being cured of illness, being able, as little girls, to go to school every day, as a mother to look at your precious little ones without fearing the real killer, diarrhea. Imagine even saving one precious life. Illness and death of children are a constant reality here in Malawi, due primarily to waterborne disease, which is the number one cause of death for children under 5 years of age!

We thank Maria Corrigan, Judy’s close friend for giving us the opportunity to turn the unbearable heartache of her death into something as life giving as a pump and well in Phwokabandera

We pray that all the children who prayed, sang and celebrated with us will reach their full potential unaffected by totally avoidable illness due to waterborne disease. This is a real scandal in our world of technological advance and supposed enlightenment.

I have spoken of Christian values, because of the Easter season and the integral part water plays in our ceremonies, but this of course is a human problem and affects all people of the world, with or without religious beliefs. Our mission in Malawi is to people of all faiths and none. I pray here for all those who offer a cup of clean water to those who need it.

Just a few years ago, hundreds of people lost their lives as the tsunami washed over vast areas, devastating all in its path and leaving contaminated water in its wake. The scale of death was frightening and the response remarkable mainly because the deaths were sudden, visible and all over the news. Since then, millions of people have died from easily preventable water-related diseases in developing countries around the world.  But the world hardly noted their deaths, because they have died slowly, silently, far away, insignificant to the bigger World and unworthy of any media coverage.

Jesus asked the Samaritan woman to give to Him a drink of very real water to satisfy his very real physical thirst.  Somewhere else we read “Lord, when did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink?”  Jesus is living today – living among the poor in remote areas of Malawi and Zambia where we work…and through their voices, Jesus says to us, “Give me a drink.”  A week after Good Friday we remember that His last words on the cross were that, he was thirsty.

We believe that the Spirit of all our God’s is working to solve the world water crisis.  Working through agencies bringing clean water in many places, working in a practical way, using skin and bone people, working toward a world where all God’s children will be healthy, educated and lead more fruitful lives.

I am not one for labels and our family in Ireland will have a giggle at me doing the holy bit, but, I suppose, like it or not, we have become part of this mission now. We didn’t plan it but it has happened, and we hope, like the woman from Samaria that He may wash away a few of our sins as well.

We thank God for Judy’s life and we pray for her family who mourn her.

We thank Maria for her thoughtfulness and we thank all those, women at the well who will think of her every day, as they carry her clean, safe drinking water of life.

Yesterday was a GOOD NEWS DAY; thank God, Allah and all those who guide our paths.

An amazing Irishman in Malawi

As we head in to our sixth year in Malawi, we are constantly enthused and amazed by our very dear friend, Professor John Ryan, from Tipperary. He has spent over 30 years and is head of the Mathematics Department in the University of Mzuzu.
The fact that he is a priest from the Kilteegan order and might take one on a six hour round trip out into the bush to say Mass for a tiny community makes him even more endearing.
Besides heading up the maths department and managing priestly duties, he makes time for an enormous volume of community work, where we co operate on various bits when needed.
Today he sent the following:

Dear All

Thought of sharing the following: Have just chosen you guys as I feel you are the ones who will understand the following!

I am just about to go into our usual Tuesday evening Mass at the university on this the feast of the Conversion of St Paul.

It is becomming clearer and clearer to me every day that we all need a conversion like St Paul if this planet of ours is to flourish. We need to make that shift from thinking that the human person is at the center of everything to realising that we are just part of something much bigger and it does not make sense to separate ourselves from the bigger picture. There is no such thing as sacred and profane —its all sacred.

I now look forward to celebrating all of this with our students. in song and dance.

Cheers

John

And then he will later drift into his Mathematical Coding. (his specialised field of maths)
What an inspiration

In the middle of nowhere where the roundtrip was almost a day!