Waves For Awassa // Project Ethiopia

Project Overview

OUR MISSION: We believe safe drinking water is a basic human right – that children around the world shouldn’t have to play Russian Roulette every time they take a sip of water from the local stream, pond, lake or river. And we have the brilliant technology that allows pond, stream, lake and river water to be 100% safe to drink. We invite you to join us in our ongoing attempt to connect talent and resources in America with the grateful, receiving hearts of the Ethiopians we have come to know and love.

OUR GOAL: to pool together our talents and resources to bring safe drinking water to as many people in Ethiopia as we can during 2013. Beginning in March, funds raised will go directly to the ‘Waves For Awassa | Project Ethiopia' which will:

  1. Continue to assist children orphaned or affected by HIV/AIDS: The children are given the necessary nutrition, clothing, housing, education, and counseling required for a healthy upbringing.

  2. Bring safe drinking water to Awassa, Ethiopia and surrounding areas. Portable water filter systems will be brought to the area by Waves for Water. When filters are installed in an ordinary plastic buckets, dirty water to instantly changed into clean and drinkable water - and thousands of people are immediately protected from the deadly consequences of water borne diseases.

  3. Share our experience and show you how our combined efforts will impact the people of Ethiopia. Through the photography of Anthony Fiorin, and the additional documentation that will be provided by our team, you will see the joy that the people of Ethiopia will experience with their first sips of clean water.

Jan 22 - 2013The Brightest Light

Letter from Laura Farruggio about the Ethiopian birth mother of her adopted son, Max:

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In 2004 an Ethiopian teenage girl named Etenesh Ermias traveled from her neighborhood in Kalsho to Addis Ababa to find work. While there she became pregnant and returned home. In September 2005 a baby boy was born. His given name translates to mean "the brightest light at the break of day." Unable to care for and feed her child, he was plagued by malnourishment and was always sick. Desperate to save him, and hoping he would have a chance, she and her family placed him with a local orphanage for adoption.

In January 2006, an American woman desperate to be a mother, received a phone call telling her that she had a son. He came home in May 2006. Just eight months old, he was weak and malnourished, but now safe in the arms of America. Seen by the best pediatricians, and provided with vitamins and nutrients . . . he grew strong.

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While his parents in America raised him and loved him, we never forgot his birth mother - so imagine the heartbreak when we were told by a friend that my son's birth mother had died three months earlier from malnutrition and Amoebiasis, a condition caused by living in unsanitary conditions and drinking contaminated water. Ironically, this news was like cold water being thrown over me.

I had to sit down and share with my child that his first mother died from something that, not only is preventable, but should never happen in the 21st Century - To die from drinking contaminated water.

Our son is a 7 year old boy who eats half of what is on his plate and tosses the rest when I'm not looking. He pours a glass of water into an large glass and takes a sip before leaving it to grow warm. It is ultimately fed to the kitchen drain. He is American. His birth mother did not have a minimum of what we routinely waste and she is now dead. She is Ethiopian.

Ethiopia demands a face to this crisis and I want the face be Etenesh Ermias of Wolaita Sodo, birth mother to my only son and also to a 5 year old boy named Teddy who is still living in these horrific conditions, and is chronically malnourished as a result.

We cannot let this stand as the norm another day. We cannot watch a benefit concert, read the news and shake our head with an exclamation of "How sad...." We must do something. And we can.

This is not a personal goal. This is a global mission and it must start here for me. I will provide a clean water filtration system to the place where Etenesh Ermias died. I will see to it that not another person there dies from contaminated drinking water. She will not die in vain.

And that is just the start because we will not rest until everyone has safe drinking water. Because for as long as I draw breath I will never again pour a glass of water into a cup and not think of a world of people without. Please help.

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Dec 21 - 2012Returning to Heartland

Heartland Girls Rural Life Training Center: Sister Donna Frances has an orphanage and school on the shore of Lake Awassa in Ethiopia.

In this remote area, every time kids take a drink from the local stream or lake, they are playing biological Russian Roulette.

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In response to such dire conditions Waves For Water was asked to intervene. Jack Rose and Jamie Grumet designed a solution, and after successful fundraising efforts, Jack flew from California to Ethiopia with 80 water filters - enough to bring safe drinking water to over 8,000 people. alt text

Everyone agrees safe drinking water is a basic human right – that children around the world shouldn’t have to suffer when they quench their thirst from the local stream, pond, lake or river. Enter brilliant technology, in the form of a point-of-use, hollow-fiber water filter, which allows these common water sources to be 100% safe to drink. Village by village, in every far corner of the world, we advance towards our goal of water for everyone by bringing water to some, everyday.

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The timely collaboration of Jamie, Jack and Sister Donna, along with the participation of friends and colleagues, has effectively removed the risk of illness and death caused by daily exposure to water-borne disease.

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Thousands of kids, and local villagers, no longer have to suffer from drinking contaminated water.

Nov 28 - 2012Letter From Sister Donna – Lake Awassa, Ethiopia

Hi Jamie,

Water filters are a great help to us. We use 180- 200 liters or quarts of water a day for drinking, cooking, kitchen washing of fresh foods, and dish washing. There is more when we add body washing and a great deal more if we add clothes washing. The ground water is what we are using now from a shallow dug well of about 2 meters deep. We are at lake side so the ground water is high. It has a little salt in it, and lots of fluoride that is 8 times the human level needed, both of which would be filtered out if we had filters.

We have had typhoid repeatedly during the last 2 1/2 months, Masame and I, and the kids at Heartland, also repeated malaria caught in our livers. Filters are a hope James started in our lives, but we haven't been able to get them implemented yet. We could use 5 at Heartland to meet the use for kitchen and drinking, with 30 kids coming, it would be good!!

The villagers are in a terrible need as we are the people who live on the lake shore. The town where we go to get pipe water, treated by the government, is 2 km away, and we go when it is running to get drinking water. This source was turned off for 2 months last year when the government demanded taxes for the water. The town refused, and the water was stopped, and the people told to drink the lake! We were sending donkey carts round trip over 50 km to get good water for drinking, and at 10 times the price!

If you could implement 50 filters, it would be a good start with the villagers.

Last year and this one, there were 54 men at one time who were working for us, that means 54 families. All of them were local men, and neighbors. I would select them first as I know them, all poor farmers absolutely, but we can educate them on the use and need of a filter in some orienteering provided at Heartland.

They know and trust me and the staff and what we are doing. If we add the filters to their lives, it is a great help to them right where they are. These people are on "Safety Net", a relief program to keep famine away from local families. They can't invest even for their own good in filters, so it would have to be provided for them with no cost. Maybe they would be willing to provide some labor if needed in trade for a filter. How are you organizing this filter project? Let me know, I'm very interested!

God bless all of you with His Great Love!, Sr Donna

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Statistics & Progress

Destination Ethiopia - Africa

Funds Raised
$20,115 of $20,000

Potential Lives Affected 20,000+


Chris Blake
Donated: $100

Francesca Desimone
Donated: $5

Kara J Fiedler
Donated: $5

Nathan Mcmurray
Donated: $5

Patricia Roy
Donated: $25

Donated $25

Laura E Gagnon
Donated: $25

Megan Kucik
Donated: $137

Donated $25