TEENS RAISE $15,000 FOR WATER Story and photos by Julie Z. Lee
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16 | THE VOLUNTEER SPRING 2019
s with most neighborhoods in the United States, the Del Mar Mesa community, in San Diego, California, has running water. Simply turn a faucet and clean water is readily available. Given this fact, the sight of nearly 20 girls, in an affluent neighborhood, carrying buckets of water up a ravine was out of the ordinary, to say the least. But the walk was for a good cause: clean water. “What we’re trying to do is represent what African women do on a day to day basis… the fact that they have to travel several miles—several hours—to just get water,” says Emma Reeves, an 18-year old senior in high school from Del Mar Mesa. “And it’s not even clean water, so we try to replicate that by taking our own buckets and getting a bunch of ladies in our community—from elementary school to high school—and kind of show what they have to go through every day and to see the importance that clean water would have.” Reeves heard about the plight of African women from her neighbor Elizabeth Rabbitt. Rabbitt has been on two mission trips to Kenya with Maranatha Volunteers International. She’s also attended the annual Maranatha convention, where she learned about the water crisis in sub‑Saharan Africa. The situation motivated her to start raising money for Maranatha’s water program. Last fall, Rabbitt raised more than $18,000 on #GivingTuesday, the international day of giving in November. Rabbitt also began talking to her friends and neighbors about what she had seen in Africa. Among the listeners were Reeves and her best friend Mia Goldman. Both teenagers have known “Miss Elizabeth” since they were toddlers. “Well, the girls in this neighborhood, they’ve been coming to my ranch here since they were, you know, 4 or 5 years old. They were tiny, and they hang out here, and we were painting, and they were talking about going to college. And they knew I’d been to Africa, and they were asking me questions about what I learned and what it was like, and I was sharing with them,” says Rabbitt. The story of young girls spending long hours to collect water struck a chord with the teens. When Rabbitt suggested a fundraiser, Reeves and Goldman jumped on board. The three started organizing the details of the event, calling it “Walk for Water.” Participants would be asked to find sponsors, and on the day of www.maranatha.org
The Volunteer is the official publication of Maranatha Volunteers International.