I’ve been starting my day with ice water and lemon. It is a far cry from my normal coffee, sweetened with creamer and sugar. But I can hardly complain. I’ve been doing it for a good reason.
Since I was a little girl, this time of year – Lent in the Catholic Church – the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday is traditionally a time for the faithful to pray and observe a level of penance and sacrifice as they prepare for Holy Week – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Though I have almost always ‘given something up’ for Lent during my 40 years of being a practicing Catholic, it was often as a result of the years of tradition – and occasionally out of obligation.
This year has been different. This year, I committed to 40 Days of Water. It has been as beautiful for my soul as it has for my faith.
40 Days of Water is a committment to sacrifice the drinks I normally reach for during the day in lieu of water. Each time I ‘give up’ a drink I would normally have, I donate the amount I would have spent on that drink to Blood Water Mission, an organization dedicated to fighting both the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. Each time I have wanted to ‘give in’ instead of ‘give up’, I think instead about the myriad reasons I have chosen to do this. Certainly faith plays a role, but knowing that I can help by doing something that is ultimately a small sacrifice… in order to provide what I believe should be a GIVEN for everyone seems like a simple gesture. In only the first month, I have given up 62 drinks in total.
My 62 are a small fraction of the more than 8-thousand that have been sacrificed by the many, many people who are participating. It is extraordinary what can happen when a community of people come together. One drink at a time – one glass of wine, one cup of coffee, one ice tea, one lemonade… it can all make a difference.
It is estimated that $1 is the amount needed to provide clean drinking water for a child in Africa for one year. ONE DOLLAR = ONE YEAR. It still astonishes me. It makes me feel both hopeful and guilty all at one time.
The 40 Days Project will fund wells in Uganda. At this time, only 33% of the people in that country have access to clean water. That is absurd. Two-thirds of the people in that country don’t have what shouldn’t be a luxury, but rather a basic necessity - one that affords them, not just simple cleanliness, but health.
Consider participating for the final few weeks of the program. Will you? Or support Blood Water Mission in one of the many other ways they are working to make the lives of the people in Africa better.
Disclosure: When I first mentioned I was participating in 40Days, I also shared about a trip I was taking at the beginning of March – one to Napa, California. That trip – specifically to include visits to wineries and wine tasting – had been planned for quite a long time and was not something that could not be changed (nor did I want it to be). I knew I would have wine on that trip in the midst of this 40 days, so I committed to donating double to Blood Water Mission on those days and I have done so. I will also be attending Blissdom, and may very well enjoy a glass of wine among friends. During this time, I will also donate double.
Additionally, I am proud to be working with Blood: Water Mission to help spread the word about this amazing charitable push.