Rick Smith is a longtime WISE supporter and member of the WISE Advisory Board. He shares his thoughts about WISE and his experiences in Zambia:
My first experience with rural Zambian life, as is the case with many of us in the early days of WISE, was with Habitat For Humanity. And although that was a very fulfilling experience, as we walked to and from our build site each day, we witnessed the daily struggles of the villagers and wished we could do more. We passed the useless town water tower that was leaking so badly that one enterprising young man was using it as a car wash. We saw the steady stream of small children hauling 5-gallon pails of water from the river so that their families could do their daily chores. We wondered why the children were not in school, only to find out that you had to pay to go to “public” school, and most of the families couldn’t even afford the uniform. These are but a few of the seeds that were planted in all our minds, but especially in the minds of the courageous woman who brought WISE to life.
Not everyone can do great things, but if everyone does a little, great things can be accomplished. Because of the availability of a simple water tap, a child has the time to go to school. Because of many small monetary donations, that child can graduate from college as a teacher or doctor, return to Kaoma and pay it forward. I’m very proud of the role WISE has played in the improvement of the infrastructure, access to education and community involvement in Kaoma, Zambia. It has truly made a difference. Come join us and see first-hand.