What do you picture when you think of a third world country? Do you see starving, thirsty people living in a mud-hut with no running water, no electricity, a government so corrupt that they don’t provide pure, filtered water for it’s citizens, parents not being able to work a normal schedule from being sick, and children not being able to go to school every day due to being sick with a disease caused by the very thing we need most to survive? Me either. I had no idea that places were in such a severe state. So severe that people have such small access to water, they don’t know how or why to filter the water, and so they get sick, and sometimes die from such a valuable source to live. Even when people are able to get water, they aren’t able to go to school or work because it becomes such a long trek back and forth, they then have no time for education or providing for their family. But that’s what most of the people in the Tanzanian villages have to go through every day of their lives – and they don’t know of any other way to live because there is little change in society and that’s just what their ancestors have done for centuries.
So why did I travel 20,000 miles there and back, along with countless hours driving on bumpy, dirt roads? Good question. Serving others with my talent plays a huge part in why I traveled so far, which led me to document the needs of people around the world. Without the rest of the world knowing how people live in these third world countries, we can’t help them. Even though just 10 days doesn’t give you a huge story, you can still see a glimpse of what life is like. Through pictures, which tell stories, we are able to share a snapshot of how the Tanzanian people live, so that the world can better serve them.
Having seen these living conditions first hand, talking with the people who are sick so much of their life from the bacteria-infected water really changed my views on life. We have it SO easy in America. We can turn on the faucet and not think for a second that getting a drink of that water would harm us or cause us not to go to work the next day. We can go to school, work, and really anywhere we want to without thinking about the water we drink and how pure it is here.
Through Thirst Relief International and SON International, Allison Davis, another wonderful photographer, Jeff Coombes, a crazy-good filmmaker, and myself were able to document many projects and stories about the great work they’re doing and the good news they’re sharing through Christ there in Tanzania, Africa. It was amazing to see how these organizations have changed so many lives in Tanzania – they’ve not only provided over 600 filters to the Tanzanian people, but they have provided jobs for the local Tanzanians, and Todd & Ann Ziems have been there throughout the process, sharing the word. Through the filters providing pure water, they’ve been able to share how Christ can purify the soul. These beautiful people have a heart so big for the Tanzanian people and a gift from God that is remarkable.
“Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25