I often describe Waves For Water, ultimately, as an empowerment project… obviously the people who receive the help are empowered when they have access to clean water, in some cases, for the first time in their life. But the other side to this is what happens to the person administering the help – through our model that we like to call “do it yourself” (DIY) humanitarianism or “guerrilla” humanitarianism, the person who has chosen to take it upon themselves and provide aid to communities in need is ABSOLUTELY empowered as well. It’s like the whole ‘pay it forward’ philosophy, but supercharged. To put it simply, when a young eager surf adventurer sets out on his/her path to find epic waves – but decides to throw some of our clean water filters in their bag to offload along the way, they have just made a dynamic choice that will completely alter their experience – and all of those around them. Think of the filter as the missing link… a bridge of sorts that connects and engages people on a level that wouldn’t happen otherwise. There are the obvious and primary benefits this program provides from a health standpoint. But the real magic happens when a random traveler finds the local beneficiary that they’ve chosen to help and starts to engage with them in a way that could never be accessed as just another surfer passing through. There is a REAL interaction that takes place when the traveler starts to educate and train their beneficiaries with this solution… In the end, the recipient has a new found knowledge of the water problems they face, but also in a solution to help them combat it every step of the way. And the traveler, has a completely new understanding of this community/culture, and a genuine personal relationship with the people in it.
Empowerment all around - The communities finally now have the tools to help them start building towards the progress they all long for. - The traveler, most importantly, followed their heart and went surfing (or whatever else it was that drove them out on the road) and did their part along the way. They actually did the most natural thing we can do as human beings – help one another. It’s these types of simple actions that help to restore the natural balance of humanity.
So that said, it really becomes a very clear equation for anyone to participate in…
It REALLY is this simple folks…
On that note, we were recently asked by Lance and Kristin Moss of Surfari Charters in Nicaragua to partner with them in launching our program for the villages around their camp. This type of mission obviously speaks directly to the core of what our organization was originally founded on – adventure surf travel. We accepted their offer and looked at it as the perfect case study to prove a model I’ve had in my head for a long time – one where surf/adventure tourism is infused (not bombarded) with a little more purpose.