My mother's father died the year before I was born, so I never met him. My Mom has whacky stories about him, like he always called every girl Susie. My Mom's Uncle Raymond, who was my grandfather's brother-in-law, told me he was the kind of person who would give you the shirt off his back. I doubt anyone will ever say that about me. They will, however, say it about my friend Pam.
Synchronistically, Pam was in the Peace Corps in Nepal the same year I was there for the first time (1985). Pam is a water engineer and lives in Seattle now. We didn't meet until 1988 after she had come back from Nepal to the Pacific Northwest.
Pam has such a big heart and strong desire to make change on a global level that she began a non-profit to do water development projects in Nepal in some of the poorest villages. This non-profit is called Living Earth Institute (LEI). LEI focuses on water supply and sanitation through self sustaining development projects.
LEI works to improve water quality with better wells, new wells, and new composting toilets.
Many of these villages have never had a toilet before. Pam is passionate about water sanitation. Lots of education goes into every project about water, health, and self-sustainability.
Pam and LEI have also tied all this in to the education of women and girls through women's development projects. By adding education, training, and micro-lending the entire village has an opportunity for a better quality of life at every level.
LEI also helps the lowest caste children with uniforms and supplies so they can attend school.
What Pam has done and joined with others to do is amazing. And Pam does this as a volunteer. She pours all donations into the water projects and never pays herself. It's hard to believe, but true.
If you want to learn more about LEI, there are great pictures and more information at Pam's website http://living-earth.org/
We all make a difference in the world. Sometimes its easier to see with other people than with ourselves. Pam has sure been an inspiration to me, although my way is different from hers. When I think about making things, making art, it is with the desire to say thank you, to show gratitude and appreciation for everything in life that surrounds me, feeds me, shows me what love is. I feel totally inadequate at expressing it through art and other efforts, but I keep trying.
Pam with her daughter in the middle, and two young women she has sponsored to attend college in the US, one from Burma and one from Nepal.
You've heard the expression, I am sure: "Living well is the best revenge." I think living well is the best way to show love, appreciation, and gratitude for being alive. Forget revenge. Acts of love and generosity (to yourself as well) are what its all about. A kind of re-gifting, if you think about it.
Namaste and thank you, Pam!