The more I travel, the more travel strikes me as a huge privilege. For the vast majority of people on this planet, travel is but a far-out fantasy. Instead of planning the next trip it’s about surviving one day to the next, struggling to get what to us are basic resources.
To be able to traipse around the world, like I’ve been doing, is a gift most of my fellow earth inhabitants can only dream of.
So when time came for this year’s Passports with Purpose fundraiser, I jumped on the opportunity to participate. This year, the beneficiary is Water.org and the money raised will fund wells in two communities in rural Haiti, providing much needed clean water.
Let me share a few thoughts on water. I grew up as an urban kid in Croatia, with access to plentiful water in a well-heated apartment (good old socialism!). But just an hour’s drive from Zagreb, my home city, lived my grandmother and her three sisters in a rambling country house without running water, well into their old age. I remember my frequent visits, which often involved helping my great-aunts pull rainwater out of the two wells we had by the house.
Washing was a serious ritual: we had to first heat the water we collected, pour it into big buckets and then find a way to cleanse ourselves without turning the kitchen (which doubled as the bathroom) into a swimming pool. But we did it every time, with a great bother first and sense of achievement next.
My granny and her sisters got running water when I was 14, and that was the end of an era. For me.
But this compares not to what many people in the world still have to deal with in order to get water. We had access to clean wells back at the house in Croatia. Many people don’t.
My husband, born and raised in Angola, often talks of having to walk miles to get drinking water as a boy. Many still do, like those in rural Haiti, whose homes have been devastated by the recent earthquake and hurricanes, water turned into a precious resource.
With those people in mind, I contacted one of my favorite small hotel chains, Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, who hosted me in a handful of their properties in Costa Rica and Nicaragua exactly two years ago. Of those, Jicaro Island Ecolodge still stands out in my mind as a dreamy place I’d like all my dear people to experience one day. While that won’t happen for all my dear friends, I’m glad to say that one of you (plus their guest) will.
The only thing you have to do is make a small donation for Passports with Purpose and you’re in the running for this amazing prize: a three-night stay at Jicaro Island Ecolodge, with lodging, non-alcoholic beverages and three daily meals, for two people.** All this can be yours for just $10, together with knowledge that you’ve contributed to giving much-needed water to impoverished communities in rural Haiti.
I hope the pairing of the two acts as inspiration enough to make a donation. Just imagine the smiles you’ll secretly elicit when the children in Haiti finally get what they’re so desperate for and what we, the lucky ones, have in abundance: water.
** Note that tours, activities and liquor are additional, and the stay is valid in the low season (so, between May through October).