Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's Our Turn

Last night my son, Tariku wrapped his arms around me as we lay cuddled up together in his bed.   He whispered prayers as he does every night for the people he remembers back in Ethiopia.  He asked that his friends back in the orphanage would “get a great family just like he has” and that they would have food to eat and clean water to drink.  Every night he prays this prayer.  I mean every night…without fail.

He says amen and we talk about how it’s his 7th birthday the next day.  I ask him what he wants for his birthday and he says “besides getting the kids in Africa clean water?”  I smile and he tells me he just wants a pocket knife and some Ethiopian food for dinner. Check. Consider it done, buddy.  Then he starts to ask me how many people I think he’ll be able to get clean water for.  “More people than I helped for my 5th birthday?”  I tell him anything’s possible.  Then he starts asking why clean water has to cost money.  “Couldn’t everyone have clean water if it was free?” Yes, son, I suppose they could.  “Mom, when I grow up, I’m going to make sure I have lots and lots of money so that all the kids in Africa can have clean water and go to the doctor and have nice schools and houses.  And I’ll build the biggest house in the world so that all the kids who don’t have families can live with me.  How much money do you think that will take, mom?”

I’m half smiling, half fighting back the tears.  My seven year old is contemplating ending poverty AND the orphan crisis in Africa and apparently he’s going to do it single-handedly. I'm so proud of his compassionate heart.  But there's this part of me that cringes on the inside at the thought of what it will do to him when he starts to realize he can’t do it.  Immediately, I feel ashamed of myself.  Aren't there enough dream squashers out there already?  Maybe what the world needs is more people like my son – people who can recognize a need and just decide to do what they can about it.  Who says he can’t help give clean water to the kids in Africa?  Who says he can’t build a big old house where orphans can have a home? Who says he can’t?
For his 5th birthday, he raised $5,000 in one week so that 87 people in Nguerenguer Village in Central African Republic could have clean water.  You can read that story HERE if you missed it to find out exactly why our family is so passionate about clean water. 

This was where the people of Nguerenguer Village used to go for water. 

Then Tariku started his campaign and with the money raised, this is now their new water source:

Amazing, right?!  A five year old boy helped change the lives of 87 people.  87 people like you and me, with families and worries and hopes and dreams.   

I guess the bottom line is that I'm learning not to discount my son's dreams and desires. In fact, isn't it our children who sometimes lead us?  He made a difference for those 87 people in Central African Republic and now he wants to do it again for his 7th birthday in Rwanda.  We were watching the Charity:Water video below about this year's September campaign and I had to keep pausing it because his questions were coming fast and furious. “Mom, how far do those kids have to walk to get that dirty water?”  “Mom, maybe we can make them a path that isn't so long so they don’t have to walk as far.”  "Mom, do those kids really miss school because they have to get water?"  “Mom, that guy said it’s our turn to get to work.  It’s not his turn- it’s MINE.”  

And that about sums it up.  It's Tariku's turn.

Would you consider helping him reach his goal of raising $5,000 for his 7th birthday to help provide the people of Rwanda with clean water?  I just wish I could bottle up his enthusiasm and excitement and send it straight over to you.  If ever I've wanted my son to succeed at something, it is now.  His whole heart is in this and he understands the importance of this issue because he has lived it himself in Ethiopia.  He has suffered the diarrhea that comes from drinking contaminated water.  At a young age, he has followed his step-mother down to the pond to collect drinking water.  He has experienced the loss of his little brother, who succumbed to the effects of their contaminated water.  This is issue is very real for him, as it is for so many in the world today. 

And now it's his turn to do something about it.  We encourage you to join him as he uses his story to help change the lives of people in Rwanda.  

Watch the video below to see where your dollars will go and how they will help.  Then go HERE to make your tax deductible donation to Tariku's campaign.  I can't thank you enough for helping Tariku see that he really can change the world. It's your turn. 

September Campaign 2012 Trailer: Rwanda from charity: water on Vimeo.


  1. Your son definitely has a heart for the needy and poor; he has not forgotten where he once was and where he is now. The difference now, is that your little 7yr old can create a change in an entire village, culture & society. You both are training him well and I know God is well-pleased! I pray that your little man had a wonderful birthday and this goal is met! (I'm still all in for this project!) Love you all!

  2. this is amazing. Your son should be very proud of himself!