Co-owner of Lentzcaping, Inc., Warrington, Pennsylvania
I have had the privilege to attend four Aquascape Foundation missions to provide local schools with clean water. I participated four consecutive years starting in Ghana, Africa, then on to Barranquilla, Colombia, returning to Africa for the Uganda trip, and my final experience was in the Dominican Republic.
My job with the Aquascape Foundation team involved basically anything that required a shovel and I also assisted in the assembling of the rain water harvesting equipment. I just followed Ed Beaulieu’s instructions and did what was needed to help complete each project. I relished in the labor on every job. We volunteers just wanted to help one another build the rain water harvesting system so that the foundation could give its amazing gift: clean drinking water to the local school children.
Each time with the foundation, I thought it was neat to get to see the practices I use as a builder of ponds and water features, validated and tested in another country. The principles of rainwater harvesting are utilized at these schools and you get to see tangible results when the Aquascape Foundation reports back that the residents now have something that they didn’t have before; clean drinking water.
The biggest thing that affected me was the realization that 90% of each country’s wealth is owned by 10% of the population. The large majority of the people in these countries are starving and the only people helping them are from other countries, not their own.
From my experience working with the Aquascape Foundation, my family and I appreciate more the things that we used to take for granted. Something as simple as water is a precious commodity that not everyone can access. I have used photos and my experiences and made PowerPoint Presentations to show at my children’s schools, and used the opportunity to talk to the younger generations and give them a better perspective on what we have access to as Americans, as opposed to what we don’t have. My hope is the students will understand that the clean, drinkable water from their taps is not an automatic right of the people in other nations.
The Aquascape Foundation’s works effect the quality of life of the people in the communities that they help. Once the team returns home and the job is complete, I am comforted to receive reports from the Aquascape Foundation that the system we had a hand in installing is changing lives. After a few weeks of drinking the clean water, the children’s belly pains are gone! The parasites that were in the water they used to drink are no longer there to cause them constant discomfort and they are now able to get a good night’s sleep and are better able to go to school and get the most out of the education provided to them. This is rewarding news to hear after the long journey home. The knowledge that the work the team achieved has clearly and concretely helped others is a very good feeling.
Through the foundation we accomplished something amazing. Writing about my time brings back incredible memories of being surrounded by remarkable people in our field. The journey that you go on with the other volunteers is what makes the experience even better; the people make it fun and there are lots of laughs, other than that there is not a lot to laugh about. You come home a different person.
The communities that are helped are very grateful of what the Aquascape Foundation is providing for them. They want to learn what the team is doing and they want to help with the build. The other teammates and the people we help make the whole experience very worthwhile and life changing.