THE SEED HAS BEEN PLANTED.
THE SEED HAS BEEN PLANTED.
by special guest Jon Rose. Founder of Waves for Water and Professional Surfer.
Greetings from India!
I arrived here two days ago after what seemed to be a bottomless pit of traveling. My flight was late getting into Frankfurt (from LA) which resulted in missing the connector to my final destination in India, Chennai. Since there is only one of these flights a day I had to wait until the following morning to get back on track to Chennai. Frankfurt was a feeble 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) about as dismal conditions could get. I opted for an overpriced room at the transit hotel in the airport since my bags (with all my clothes) were checked through and thought of going out into the elements in my SoCal attire halted any adventurous spirit I had left. After a few pints of fine German Lager and some AMAZING people watching – I swear, Germans (or maybe just the people who travel there) have some of the most interesting looks I’ve ever seen. Michael Bolton mullets…to Hare Krishna hipsters…to weathered flight attendants…Frankfurt proved to be an unexpected, yet worthy detour.
I was invited here to India by two young Australian film makers named Jonno Durrant and Stefan Hunt. They are currently filming a six episode documentary TV series called Surfing 28 States (www.surfing28states.com). It is a sequel of sorts to their first film, Surfing 50 States, in which they attempted some form of surfing in all 50 states of America…with hopes of learning about our culture in the process.
The concept for me joining this leg of their journey was to do some Waves For Water work in the much needed areas surrounding Chennai and hopefully get a few waves in-between.
So, practicing what I preach with the W4W – Clean Water Courier Program, I filled my duffle bag with as many filters as possible and set the course for India. The beauty of this work is, and has always been, its simplicity. That said, there are some intricacies in setting up sustainable local networks once on the ground, but the fact that I can so easily put 20 filters in my bag – resulting in roughly 2000 people getting clean drinking water, is still astonishing to me. The impact made for the amount of effort given is unparalleled to anything else I’ve ever done.
Yesterday was our first full day and using the same model I practice everywhere I work, we started sniffing around for local community centers (orphanages, schools, churches, etc…) that could serve as an inroad for distributing some of the filters. We were soon pointed to an orphanage a few kilometers away and were happy to have our first lead. We hit the JACKPOT!! The orphanage was run by a local fellow named Isaac, along with his parents. They’ve operated this orphanage for the last 20+ yrs. Isaac was very accommodating and within minutes of explaining our program I could see the light bulb go off in his head that he could really help his people with this. He is a shining example of exactly what I look for in a local network. He gets it…and genuinely cares. He is also established in the community and thoroughly understands the needs of his people. Empowering individuals like this is the basis of our work. He represents the seed planted that, over time, will hopefully result in this entire area getting clean water.
We gave Isaac a demo and got a couple systems up and running for his orphanage and then he said he’d take us to a primary school nearby so we could help them out too. We were introduced to the head master and were then asked to do a live demo/lecture for the entire school on the importance of clean water. All the little children sat very orderly in front of the outdoor stage from which we spoke on. It was a organic moment that really represented this work in its purest form. Before we left I gave a big portion of the filters I brought to Isaac for which he planned on distributing to other schools and orphanages in the surrounding areas. He is fully on board and is now our first W4W representative for India. Now anytime we know someone traveling to India we can get them some filters to carry over… Isaac will receive them and then reinforce the networks he’s built. It’s a simple model but over time will have great impact.
Really rainy today but hoping the storm will produce some fun waves to ride…
*Jon will be joining the 28 States adventure for the following week as we search for waves but more importantly begin the work of Waves for Water in a part of the world that needs it so much. So stoked to have him along and see his passion for this amazing work. Stay tuned.