Since 2008, I have been passionate about serving in undeveloped villages full-time, but jumping in right after my first trip to Guatemala would have been premature. I have always loved helping people and have been involved with community service in the States, but it was in Guatemala that I became aware of the many people living without basic necessities, such as safe water and proper sanitation.
Over the past 5 years, I have taken leaves from work (thanks to my awesome boss and director) to pursue many projects and attend training in various technologies that are appropriate for third world countries. I’ve had the joy of sharing Christ’s love for others by training and equipping them to get safe water and proper sanitation. I am thankful for the projects, people and experiences God has provided.
In August of this year, I started seriously planning for a 2014 departure from my job. I’ve been researching various non-profits, drafting a budget, visiting organizations I volunteered with in the past and getting advice from friends and family who know me well. The one thing that made choosing an actual “end date” at my current job difficult was feeling loyal to my boss and the projects I was working on. I did not want to step away from those projects while ongoing, but I felt ready to pursue water development projects full-time.
In the beginning of November, I traveled to the Carolinas to meet with a couple of key people in different organizations to help me decide my potential future involvement in non-profit work and to sketch out a rough plan for serving abroad. Less than a week after I returned, upper management from Charlotte held a staff meeting at my office. Management let us know that there would be a company restructuring and our particular office would be closing in March 2014. Although I didn’t know then nor do I know now if I would actually be laid off next year, I saw this as a chance to leave without letting my boss and director down.
So, here I go! The plans that are in place for 2014!
January 12th – March 1st, 2014: Spanish Immersion program in Costa Rica where I will be taking 6-hours of language classes per day and living with a host family. Viva!
January 16th – 19th, 2014: Four days after starting my Spanish immersion classes, I’ll be flying to El Salvador to meet with Hydromissions teammates for a short scouting trip to determine if a water pipe construction project would be practical to pursue during the summer. (Two of my teammates are fluent in Spanish so they will help me with my homework!)
March 15th – 23rd, 2014: Taking a team of Rowan Engineering students to Central America (Country TBD) to test out a percussion drill bit.
March 24th – April 7th, 2014: Tentatively returning to Marbial, Haiti (the village we drilled in back in February with no success) to drill again and construct better latrines for the school.
April 16th – 26th, 2014: Community installation of water purification system for MedWater in Ecuador.
A few more prospective projects in Central & South America are coming together for the summer; they will include Nicaragua and El Salvador.
In order to make all this happen, I am going to be on staff with Hydromissions. I have volunteered with them for 4 years and plan to work for them here in the States as well as abroad. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that I don’t write about in this blog – lots of project research, correspondences with applicants and logistics. Sometimes we spend months researching a potential project to determine if it is feasible for our equipment and processes.
I have started raising support for my projects and myself. Those tax-deductible donations will go towards my living expenses, flights, materials and other project costs. I will be spending a good amount of my time overseas, but when I am in the States, I will be staying with family.
Thank you and I look forward to keeping you all updated on my projects!
If you would like more information on making a donation, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 609-805-1549.