When I received the request to help build a water pump in the Lesotho village where a young woman I’ve mentored, a woman who is now my friend, is working, I didn’t hesitate. Her name is Jennifer Jiggetts, and she is a journalist. But first, she is a great human being. And she is spending some time as a member of the Peace Corps, teaching and building in Africa.
I didn’t hesitate. It was Jennifer, and it was needed.
I didn’t ask why I should spend money on a water project in Africa when there are people without water in Detroit.
I didn’t ask how spending the money would fit into my budget.
I didn’t think: If I respond to every young person I’ve mentored, I’ll be responding to hundreds of requests.
I decided instantly to help a friend who is helping make lives better for some children. I decided instantly, that no matter how bad things are in some places here, they are always worse where she is.
It contained a beautiful handmade necklace and matching earrings. It also was filled drawings and a handmade thank you card card decorated with crayoned red stars and blue hearts and green leaves. The card read:
Thank you so much for contributing to our water pump project.
We are forever grateful for your support. Enjoy your goodies!
Tsoaing Primary School
The card was touching, but it was the individual messages from the children that took my breath away. Some were in English, some in Sesotho, their mother tongue. Some were simple, some meticulous, all drawn in the global colors of life. Each child drew him or herself, what they see in their minds when they think of themselves. Some stood near the pump; others pumped water. Some told me their names. Others made sure I knew their gender.
Each reminded me that when the right thing to do comes along, you don’t hesitate. You don’t question. You just do it. You try to change a life, or change a school or change a village. And when you do, hands might just reach across the world to touch you and to change your life.
Some of the drawings I received this month from children at Tsoaing Primary School.
ROCHELLE RILEY is an award-winning writer and blogger whose posts here are about her personal adventures. You can read her columns at www.freep.com/rochelleriley and follow her on Twitter @rochelleriley.