Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Freedom for Me Depends on Freedom for You

Happy Independence Day to the United States of America!  Some 238 years ago a small group of colonists decided to throw off the chains of a non-democratic system of government by the moneyed interests of England in favor of "a more perfect union."  That system has been under attack from forces outside and within our borders ever since, and it has been up to individual Americans to defend our original mission statement that all are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."  I pray that we live up to the challenge Uncle Ben Franklin gave to Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia as he emerged from the Constitutional Convention in 1787.  After being asked what type of government the delegates had decided the country would have, Franklin responded "A republic, ma'am, if you can keep it."

Freedom isn't just a yearly celebration, however, and we cannot be reduced to the view that the United States is the delivery room where liberty is born.  Freedom from oppression, hunger, and disease are universal human aspirations which all people want and deserve.  In the picture above there are some 35 community agents who had the audacity to join a community development workshop in Jutiapa, Honduras led by a Colombian teacher named Byron Morales.  They have joined the 3-year long quarterly workshop to learn how to develop their capacity for freedom from malnutrition, waterborne illness, and abuse in their own households.  

The Río de Agua Viva team partnered with these AHMEN-SIFAT community agents and an organization called Water With Blessings to teach clean water.  Through donations from churches and individuals each female community agent trained on and got to take home their own Sawyer water filter.  Nonetheless, independence cannot be a gift to be owned individually.  Liberty is to be shared so that others demand it for themselves.  Not only will each individual family with a filter be able to claim clean water as their next step toward independence, but they will also share this life source with two other families.  

Liberty also means accountability.  Samford University's Ida V Moffett School of Nursing professor Elaine Marshall and graduate Lane Turbeville have set up a method for each filter holder to "check in" each month and report problems and successes with their filter.  With any luck, each family will see their rate of stomach illness decrease.  With any luck, they will save money from not having to buy clean water.  With any luck, over a hundred more families will not know the pain of losing a child to waterborne illness.  As a community of humans, when we lose one baby to preventable illness, our shared freedom diminishes.

If successful, these families' freedom from dirty water will not have been a result of our donating water filters.  It will have been from their decision to demand more from themselves by joining ASI-Jutiapa!

To sponsor a water project, begin donating to the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative, or join the Río de Agua Viva team, contact me today.

Together, we are the difference.

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