Tag Archives: water

Support the Mudula Mamas

Mudula MamasThree moms of children born in Mudula, Ethiopia (also in Southern Ethiopia where Milo was born), are competing in a triathlon in Dallas on Sunday, Oct. 2 to raise money for Mudula Water, a clean water project. They’re also part of the Janus Charity Challenge where the top fundraisers earn extra cash for their charity (up to $8,000!).

You can read more about it and donate here.

These inspiring moms are racing for water and racing for life (one of the moms was profiled here). This area of Ethiopia is experiencing a drought and feeling the impacts of the current famine. It’s hard to ignore and this is an easy way to help.

That’s the basics of what’s happening, but there are also several efforts going to help these Mudula Mamas raise more money and score that extra $8,000 for clean water.

I’m getting personally involved as well. I helped edit the copy on the donate page, I’m advising on the social media aspects of the campaign, we’re pitching in (a tiny bit) on the matching fund below and I’m donating my book profits. Will you join me? Here are three simple ways you can help:

1. All You Have to Do is Click
The first effort is the easy one. All you have to do is click. A number of people have offered to donate $1 to the Mudula Mamas efforts for every ‘like’ on various Facebook pages:

All you have to do is visit the pages above and click ‘like’ at the top. Simple.

These are all small, grassroots groups that care about Ethiopia and fighting poverty. I’m sure there’s a practical limit to how much each challenge is willing to donate (I know for one of them it’s over $1,000!), but let’s make them sweat. ;-)

2. Meskel Match
Sept. 27 is the celebration of Meskel in Ethiopia, so we’re celebrating with the Meskel Match. If we can get $1,500 in donations on Tuesday, we’ll match it. Donate on Tuesday, Sept. 27 and help us bring in an extra $1,500 for clean water in Mudula.

Update: We raised well over $1,500 on Tuesday and scored the matching grant. Thank you! That’s a huge shot in the arm towards getting the extra $8,000 from Janus.

3. Buy My Book
Addition by Adoption: Kids, Causes & 140 CharactersMany of you have heard me talk about clean water before. It’s an important issue and it was the center of my book, Addition by Adoption. For the rest of this week I’ll donate all the profits from my book to the Mudula Mamas. I make $3.84 per copy sold on Amazon and usually donate $2 of that to charity: water, but for this week we’ll send it all to Mudula Water (I think Scott Harrison will understand). There are two ways to buy:

The Regular Approach:
Buy it from Amazon – Cost: $9.99 – $3.84 goes to Mudula.

The Save More, Give More Approach:
Buy it from CreateSpace – Cost: $8.99 (with coupon code “TARZGB88” for $1 off) – $4.84 goes to Mudula.
(CreateSpace is run by Amazon, so it’s legit, you just don’t get the benefit of using your Amazon gift card, shipping deals, etc.)

Note: My book came out more than a year ago and sales have really fallen off. So don’t think this is some super generous effort on my part. I expect we’ll sell maybe one or two copies. Go ahead and prove me wrong.

Help the Mudula Mamas
Will you join me in helping these inspiring moms bring clean water to Mudula, Ethiopia? Donate now.

Clean Water for Elirose

Clean Water for EliroseI’ve talked about clean water a lot, so it should be no surprise that I’m loving Clean Water for Elirose. It’s a children’s book explaining to kids what it’s like to not have clean water that comes out of the tap. It’s written by a fellow Twin Citizen, Ariah Fine, and the book itself supports clean water.

Right now a Kickstarter campaign is wrapping up that has so far raised nearly $4,000 of a $3,500 goal to enable cheaper publishing of the book so it can help more folks. Ariah is not only raising money himself for clean water, but he’s enabling other people to raise money. If you want to support the project, $3 gets you a copy of the book. If that’s not a good enough deal, you can donate $100 and get 50 copies. Perfect for your own water-generating fundraiser.

It’s a great little project and you can even read the book online. Check it out and support it. They’ve already hit the goal, but more help is even better.

Blog Action Day: Clean Water

Today is Blog Action Day and thousands of blogs will be talking about clean water. I wrote a post over at HalogenTV about why I care about clean water. Last month we met the goal of raising $5,000 for charity: water through my book, Addition by Adoption, raising enough to build a well in Ethiopia (and then some). So I already know many of you care about clean water. And rather than telling you more about what you already know, I just wanted to say thank you.

Thank you.

As you see lots of talk about clean water today you can give a hardy thumbs up. You’re already on board and that’s pretty cool. Thank you.

Haircut for Charity: Make a Donation, Pick My Hairstyle

Make a Donation, Pick Kevin's Hairstyle
I need a haircut.

So here’s the situation:

  1. I need a haircut.
  2. My wife is going out of town.
  3. I need to raise $3,186 more to build a well in Ethiopia.

So here’s the plan:

  1. Pick a hairstyle. (Feel free to use this handy PDF or JPG to draw your own.)
  2. Make a donation to my charity: water campaign.
  3. Biggest donation wins. I’ll rock your selected hairstyle until my wife returns.

It’s pretty simple. A haircut for clean water, and you get to pick the style (or lack thereof). Have fun, be stupid and give generously. Remember you can always support the well simply by buying a copy of my book. I’m only doing this because my wife will be out of town and I can get away with it. Plus I need a haircut and I’d rather see some good come out of that, like clean water. All in good, clean fun.

Bald Kevin: A blank canvas for you to work with.
Draw your own hairstyle!

To Enter:

  • Make a donation to my charity: water campaign by 1 p.m. CT on Friday, July 23.
  • Note in the comments of the donation what hairstyle you’d like me to rock.
  • Send me your proposed hairstyle and I’ll post them here (post the image somewhere and send me a link or e-mail the image to me).


Make a Donation, Pick Kevin's Hairstyle
Plenty to work with.
  • Facial hair is in play. Eyebrows are not. No razor blades (i.e., I’ll cut it clippers short, but I’m not shaving it with a razor short—wife vetoed that).
  • Donations must be made between Monday, July 19 and Friday, July 23 at 1 p.m. Central Time.
  • I’ll get the haircut on Friday afternoon/evening and it will last until Monday, July 26.
  • It has to be a haircut a barber shop can actually do simply by cutting my hair (no extensions, no dye jobs, nothing the fine people at Great Clips can’t manage).
  • I promise to conduct business as usual with the winning haircut (i.e., no hiding out at home). I’m thinking about hitting up the Middle Eastern Festival (camel rides!) on Friday, the Red Bull Flugtag on Saturday and I will attend church on Sunday (I’d pitch sporting the winning ‘do at work, but the whole work-at-home thing makes that kind of boring).
  • Nothing inappropriate can be shaved into my head.
  • I reserve the right to donate myself and trump lame-o entries (i.e., if the winning donation turns out to be a paltry $20 for a mullet, I’ll donate $25 myself and pick something better). In a nutshell, if I’m going to look like an idiot in public for three days, it has to be worth it. So if you want me to look  like an idiot, better donate more than I likely would.

Let’s build that well in Ethiopia! Thanks.

Let’s Build a Well in Ethiopia

A year ago today we were in the midst of the Bald Birthday Benefit. We’d already shattered the $600 goal and my baldness was imminent. You pushed on and raised $2,605 for charity: water, giving clean water to 130 people for my 30th birthday. I’m still in awe and incredibly grateful for that.

This year I’ve released my book, Addition by Adoption, and a portion of the proceeds go to charity: water to build a well in Ethiopia. That’s a goal of $5,000. It’s a big goal. So far almost $1,000 has come in, most of it from donations.

I thought about doing the Bald Birthday Benefit again this year, but I’m not sure shaving my head is such a big draw anymore. But I still love celebrating my birthday by giving back.

So here’s the deal: My birthday is in 10 days. Father’s Day is in 15 days. All I really want is a well in Ethiopia. Help me get there.

There a number of ways you can donate, from straight cash to buying a copy of my book. We’ve set up a few special options with the book where more money can go to charity: water, from an Awesome Edition to a 10-copy package. I’m also willing to give you a free digital copy of the book for making a donation. And yes, if somebody wants to see me shave my head again, I’m willing to do it (for a price).

More than buying a book or giving some cash, you’re giving life. 70-80% of Ethiopians don’t have access to clean water. It ends up killing 300,000 Ethiopian children every year. It’s the number one cause of infant mortality.

So help me celebrate my birthday, let’s celebrate Father’s Day—heck, we can celebrate Flag Day too!—by building a well in Ethiopia. Give water. Give life. Thank you.

Water in Ethiopia

Women in Kenya walking to collect waterThe April issue of National Geographic has an in-depth story on water in Southern Ethiopia. This hits home for a number of reasons—including our continuing commitment to clean water (we’re trying to build a well, remember?) and the fact that Southern Ethiopia is Milo’s birthplace.

I’ll pull out some especially poignant moments, but I’d suggest you read the whole article (read the printer version to avoid pagination)

  • The article follows Aylito Binayo, a 25-year-old woman who lives in the village of Foro, in the Konso district of southwestern Ethiopia. Her life story can be told around watershe dropped out of school at 8, in part to help her mother haul water. Today she spends 8 hours a day hauling water for her family. And the water she brings home is dirty and unsafe.
  • Hauling water is women’s work. The only time a man hauls water is in the few weeks after a child is born.
  • Here’s an incredible picture (second picture in the flash slideshow—silly National Geographic, not giving direct links to pictures). Villagers digging a trench for pipes to bring water to their village. They sing while they work: “We can do anything!”
  • The author carries a jerry can of water (weighing 50 pounds) with Binayo, but can’t make it up the hill. The author switches with a child, who has half a can of water, but the child can’t make it up the steep part of the hill: “Binayo takes the heavy jerry can from the girl and puts it on her own back, on top of the one she is carrying. She shoots us both a look of disgust and continues up the mountain, now with nearly 12 gallons of water—a hundred pounds—on her back.” I carried 40 pounds of water last year—it sucked.
  • The average American uses 100 gallons of water a day in the home. Binayo uses two and a half.
  • She washes her hands with water “maybe once a day,” but not with soap, since her family can’t afford it. She bathes “only occasionally.” They don’t elaborate on what ‘occasionally’ means.
  • She washes clothes once a year: “We don’t even have enough water for drinking—how can we wash our clothes?”
  • Another incredible picture. A group of women in Northern Kenya walking across a desert to get water—they’re carrying the same yellow jerry can I did last year. Let me tell you—it sucks.

The article ends on a heart-breaking note:

“She has never dared think that someday life could change for the better.”

That’s a brutal reality we’ve left our fellow brothers and sisters in. That’s why a portion of the proceeds from my book are going to build a well in Ethiopia. I hope you’ll buy a copy. Or forget the book—make a donation directly to charity: water.

Why My Book Supports Water, Not Adoption

We’re in the midst of pre-order week for my book Addition by Adoption: Kids Causes & 140 Characters (in case you somehow missed it). A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to build a well in Ethiopia with charity: water. It’s kind of a big, crazy goal—we need to raise $5,000 to build a well. Roughly $2 of each book sold with go to charity: water, so that’s a lot of books (though $4 of every pre-order copy will go to charity: water, so you know, pre-order now!).

Water is a huge deal. I’ve talked about the numbers before and they’re pretty staggering. But for me the personal connection is more important. People all over Ethiopia lack clean water—and it kills them. The jerry cans people use to gather water could be seen everywhere in Ethiopia, from the urban capital city to the rural countryside.

So my book about adoption supports water. A little weird, right?

Adoption is not a best case scenario. Ideally, adoption wouldn’t be necessary. There are many reasons that children need to be adopted, from poverty to abuse to social stigmas. Some of those can be prevented.

It’d be better if Ethiopia’s children didn’t become orphans and didn’t need to be adopted. I talk about this in the first chapter of the book. It’s part of why Ethiopia is near and dear to our hearts. We want the children of Ethiopia—Milo’s brothers and sisters—to be able to stay with their moms and dads. Providing clean water is one way to help make that happen. Another is development and education projects, like the ones our agency runs and supports in Ethiopia.

Adoption is one solution to a problem. And while I think it’s an incredible solution, it’s not the only one and it’s not necessarily the best one longterm. So my book focuses on another way to tackle that problem, addressing the underlying poverty and trying to improve the lives of all Ethiopians.

It’s not an easy or a quick solution, but hopefully it will make a difference.

And if you’d like to help beyond just buying a book, you can make an additional donation to charity: water to help us a build a well.

The World is Too Complicated

Some days I’m convinced the world is too complicated. The past week is a good example:

  • People mourning the undisputed King of Pop, who for the last 15 years or so traded in that crown for the King of Weird. Musical brilliance and creepiness combined. That’s complicated.
  • The ongoing crisis in Iran. Bottom line: freedom and democracy good, bloodshed bad. Beyond that, I’m lost trying to understand the political ins and outs.
  • Then there’s Honduras. Did you hear they had a military coup this weekend? The funny part is listening to people argue why one side is legal and the other illegal. I swear if you switch the names it’s the same argument.
  • And let’s not talk about the time I tried to explain Twitter to a friend at a party.

For all the complication and confusion and head-scratching, I’m glad that some things are simple:

  • Like water.
  • Like the importance of having a place to live.
  • Like adoption. OK, there’s not much that’s simple about adoption, but kids should have families. Who can argue with that?

For all the complication in the world, sometimes we need a little simplicity.

Bald Birthday Benefit Thank You

After 30 days the 2009 Bald Birthday Benefit came to an end yesterday with the shaving of my head. You helped me celebrate my 30th birthday by giving clean water to 130 people. Wow. That’s 4.5 times the original goal. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you hardly begins to cover it. To the 57 people who donated, to everyone who spread the word, to those who helped with the videos and publicity, and to those who will continue to act, pray and give to those who lack clean water, thank you.

The joyous pictures below represent the changed and saved lives that you’ve made possible. 130 times over. Words are hardly fit to express the gratitude, but thank you.

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My donation widget is gone, but if you’d still like to donate you can give directly to charity: water. (All pictures are from charity: water and their amazing photographers. You can check out their photo of the day on Twitter for more great images of lives changed through clean water.)

Walk for Water Video

On Sunday I carried five gallons of Mississippi River water (weighing 40 pounds) two miles from the river to my house. All to bring awareness and support to the one billion people throughout the world who don’t have access to clean water.

Here’s the video:

Do Something
Water=life. If you’d like to do something, you can:

  • Donate. ($20 provides clean water to one person for 20 years, but donate whatever you like. Every bit helps. Donate now.
  • Pray. If that’s your thing you can say a prayer for the one billion people who don’t have access to clean water. Pray that the 4,500 children who will die today because they lack clean water wouldn’t have to.
  • Act. You don’t have to carry water or shave your head, but you can do something. Tell your friends about this issue. Support the Water for the World Act. Cut back on your own water usage (no, it won’t directly help those without water, but it’s an act of solidarity).

More information: charity: water | Pioneer Press article | Day after thoughts | Why I did it | Photos

Big thanks to Jake Nyberg at Three Volts for the editing, as well as the other folks who helped out and the many who have donated. Thank you.