Yesterday I spent the day walking around with two extremely heavy water containers called “Jerry” cans. These cans are similar to what many people around the world use each day to provide water for their families. Many of us don’t realize that we have a global water crisis today. Over 1 billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water, which leads to a litany of health problems, all avoidable if they just had access to clean drinkable water. Additionally the burden of acquiring water is borne by women and children, who walk up to three hours a day to accomplish this task. This impacts their ability go to school, work a job, and care for the family’s well being.
(click pic to go to charitywater.org)
Think about that for a minute… You didn’t miss your flight, your didn’t spill you starbucks, you didn’t lose your wallet at the restaurant, and you didn’t roll your eyes at your kid who won’t get off their iPhone; instead your problem is you don’t have a clean source of drinking water for your family, and you may lose one of your kids to preventable illness. Also imagine for a minute you had to squeeze another three hours into your schedule in order to address your basic human need for water. #WaterIsLife For me this concept leaves me profoundly empty, and I feel I have a personal responsibility to apply a fraction of my skills to reduce senseless suffering.
Those that know me, know that I rarely pursue something half-heartedly. When I had the opportunity to be an involved leader in our EMC Gives Back program I jumped in and immediately became inspired by Scott Harrison’s program charity:water. I was reminded of a quote from Jerry Garcia. I don’t normally get my advice from “Dead Head” guitarists, but the authenticity of his statement continues to move me, and the cans are called “Jerry”.
“If we had any nerve at all, if we had any real balls as a society, or whatever you need, whatever quality you need, real character, we would make an effort to really address the wrongs in this society, righteously.” – Jerry Garcia
Dead On Jerry! Why are we here if not to evolve? I won’t get into philosophies, but seeing EMC as a multi-national corporation put the power of the company behind transforming lives, and transcending stereotypes for corporate objectives, I said I have to be a big part of this initiative.
So I have been helping the program in many small ways and a few big ones. Next week EMC will be highlighting #EMC Gives Back and #charitywater at #SAPPHIRENOW (SAP’s big user convention). On top of having charity:water represented in the booth, including full Jerry cans, we’ll be using social to unlock enough funds to pay for one well! Twitter don’t fail me now! We’ll be engaging this very socially inclined audience at SAPPHIRENOW in the dialog of clean water and solving this problem for one community in the process.
To raise awareness before the event. We dreamed up the idea that I should carry around Jerry cans all day and put my experience out of the social-sphere. I gladly adopted this plan which I fully executed yesterday (ok I did go the restroom once with out them, but otherwise I was true to my cause).
Here’s some of the journey captured in pictures below:
Once I got the Jerry cans in the mail, I took them outside and filled them. This was easy for me because I have running water at multiple places. I did have awkwardly reach around bush to cut it on…
Each of the full Jerry cans weighed 51 lbs. I understand that a gallon of water weighs 8 lbs so either I put more in, or my scales weigh heavy (wouldn’t that be nice). All in, my new friends, the “Jerrys”, added 102 lbs to my load.
Ever seen the show “The Middle”? Well my son is smart and accomplished, but at home he often acts like the teenage son “Axel” on the show. I believe he owns a shirt but it disappears the moment he walks in the door. All said he’s a dedicated wrestler and spends 25-40 hrs a week exercising. Even he struggled a little bit picking these things up and carrying them around the house. This is no joke, they are heavy. I don’t think you can appreciate it through pictures. I really can’t imagine hauling these for a mile anywhere.
So yesterday I put the strap on my briefcase, donned my hip new charity:water T-Shirt and I headed out the front door to work.
How appropriate for my fake safari is my Jeep for the ride to work. Definitely taking the jeep…
Did a little tie down work. In reality I felt the weight of these cans shifting all the way to work. When I got to work I realized that each of the lids had to be tighted, not just the front ones… A small inconvenience, but there is required skills to transport water.
Next stop was the dry cleaners. Other than a very confused counter clerk, It was uneventful.
As I approached Starbucks I thought, if I go in with two yellow cans into a busy Starbucks during commuter time, everyone is going to think I’m hauling gasoline with bad intentions. I rerouted myself to the other starbucks that had a drive thru. I know this was cheating, but I had to get on the phone with Germany at 8:00a and I couldn’t afford a conversation with the local authorities. Even though I was driving, the cans added 10-15 mins to my commute. Inconvenient!
I got to the office and I had 1 briefcase, 1 venti bold, and 2 Jerry cans… I decided to make the trip twice so I could adequately carry my coffee. Yes, I did carry the coffee on both trips!
There were many in the office who lined up to get there swing at bat. This guy in front, Tim Sherman, used to be the quarterback at UVA. I think I he wavered slightly when he picked up the cans, but he’ll never admit it, nor would I ever tell anyone…
“AD HOC WATER WALK POSSE PHOTO!”
Erin Fitzgerald was a good sport and she’d complained a lot less than Tim, but I could tell it was an effort for her to pick up the Jerrys.
So I got to admit, about half way through the day…I was thinking about what I wasn’t going to do, because I didn’t want to haul those cans. I cheated and went to the coffee pot without them, but I could see them just over there…
Mid afternoon workout. I wish I had these at the office all the time (maybe half full) to do a little work out activity. All day long I kept underestimating the weight of these cans. Each time I had to kick in a little extra to hoist these lead bellies.
Well I made it to the end of the day. I left a little earlier than normal, cause I needed to make sure someone could take my picture leaving. From here I took them home, and they sit on my porch at the moment. I’m not carrying them still, but the experience is still deep in my mind. Big tough guy, with brilliant luxuries and opportunities, was just a little humbled yesterday by to short guys named Jerry.
So, If you are inspired by this story PASS IT ALONG!!! Then go to charity:water site and get educated. Maybe you’ll be inspired to take up your own journey to change the world (one day at a time).
If you are at SAPPHIRE or Social PLEASE HELP US UNLOCK a well for charity:water June 3-5 2014 by Tweeting these hashtags #charitywater #EMC #SAPPHIRENOW. Each tweet unlocks $10.00 towards the well! (we need 1,000 tweets)