Doc Hendley never set out to be a hero. In 2004, Hendley-a small- town bartender- launched a series of wine-tasting events to raise funds for clean-water projects and to bring awareness to the world's freshwater crisis. He planned to donate the proceeds through traditional channels, but instead found himself traveling to one of the world's most dangerous hot spots: Darfur, Sudan.
There, Doc witnessed a government-sponsored genocide where the number-one weapon wasn't bullets-it was water. The Janjaweed terrorists had figured out that shooting up a bladder containing 10,000 liters of water, or dumping rotting corpses into a primary water source is remarkably efficient for the purposes of mass extermination. With limited funds, Doc realized that he couldn't build new wells costing $10,000 a pop, but he could hire local workers to restore a damaged well for a mere $50 each. He'd found his mission. Today, Doc and Wine to Water continue to help stricken peoples repair and maintain water- containment systems in places like Darfur, Cambodia, Uganda, and Haiti.
First Line: I'd driven this same road through the low desert plains of South Darfur dozens of times before.
Random Quote: During my assessment, I was also informed that the Janjaweed destroyed one of the major dams in the area over a year earlier. It had been one of the main sources for drinking water and much-needed irrigation. With that, I started thinking about what I could do to help rebuild the dam. I didn't know the first thing about cholera or fixing dams, but I figured it was just like back when I first started bartending in Raleigh: It's not so much about how good and fast you are at making a Fuzzy Navel; it's about developing a good relationship with the people sitting in front of you at the bar. Get that down first and then you can learn how to mix the complicated drinks - or fix a dam.
Review: Water is a paradoxical thing. It covers most of our planet. We are 99% water and we all need to survive - not just for drinking, but for irrigation and the maintenance of agriculture whether you're in an African village and gardening or running a major corporate farm. Water is something human beings have fought over throughout our history and the fight continues today. It has been a developer's tool (see also the history of Los Angeles) and a tool for organized genocide (see almost any war). And think of this, the rule of thumb for survival is 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food.
|Doc repairing a well in Sudan|
In the Third World the problem of getting potable water to people is an ongoing one. Here are some things to think about while you drink your Evian:
- The water crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
- At any given time, half the world's hospital beds are taken up by people suffering through water-related diseases
- In Africa alone women and children spend 40 billion hours walking for water - time that could be used for education, agriculture - all the things needed to pull families out of poverty
- In Darfur, the terrorizing violence between the black Africans and the Arab tribesmen, a genocide that killed over 100,000 civilians in one year was never a battle about religion - it was a struggle over land and water
- In Cambodia, 74 percent of the country's deaths are directly related to the lack of clean water.
|Doc in Uganda|
Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
This young man found himself and his calling. He also found that an individual can make a difference. To quote Mother Teresa, I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Doc Hendley has amply demonstrated that he too can create many ripples - as can we all.
A story of horror, hope, and empowerment, Water to Wine embodies the best of the journey to discovery - the part where you narrow down how you can use your unique gifts to better the lives of all. The gift may be ambitioius and dangerous or as simple as smiling at people - even when you don't know them. Not a perfect read, but an inspiring one.
Format: Printed matter
Publishing Information: Avery Publishing - January 12, 2012
FTC Disclosure: Advance copy from the publisher for the author's TLC Book Tour
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆
Reading Challenges: Mount TBR Challenge, What's in a Name Challenge
I am pleased to be a part of Doc Hendley's virtual book tour through the blogosphere sponsored by TLC Book Tours.
proves how ordinary people can improve the world.
Doc lives in Boone, NC with his wife and two children. Balancing family life and the demands of building Wine To Water, Doc Hendley continues to travel to underdeveloped, war-ridden nations, working in the field bringing clean water to those in need and also traveling and speaking around the country to raise awareness and advocacy for the worlds water crisis.
Connect with Doc on the Wine to Water website, winetowater.org, the Wine to Water Facebook page, and on Twitter @DocHendley or @winetowater.