Today I went with Lucy, the boss of all bosses for WWF Paraguay, (she’s amazing!) to this Coca-Cola event we were invited to in Arroyos y Esteros (Streams and Estuaries). It’s a little country town about 2 hours outside of Asuncion. I had actually just been about a week and a half ago for a weekend trip with some of my new friends and was eaten alive by little Polvorinos – which are insects that bite a little piece of your skin off and inject little bits of poison into the cut which leaves a pointy bump in it’s place, unless you do what I did and squeeze the poison out before it has a chance to settle…in which case you just have scars and itchy legs for a week or so. I digress…
Anyway, I packed up my camera bag: money – check, phone – check, small portable canon camera – not this time. Lucy picked me up at about 7:15 this morning and we met up with a big group of Coca-Cola peeps, other NGO leaders and representatives, and a large number of press in the parking lot of Shopping del Sol to get on the bus that will drive us all to the town. After the 2 hour drive, the latter half hour consisting of uneven, bumpy dirt roads, we pulled into the “parking lot” of a little school in the town for the initial press briefing about the project and a quick viewing of a documentary (that left me wanting to see so much more!)
The project, we learned, was to build a well large enough to supply the town’s 97 families with clean water directly to. their. homes. I can’t tell you how huge it was for them! The adults in each family had to haul water from a stream that was a very long distance from their homes, and there was always a struggle to maintain enough clean water for drinking and bathing and any number of other regular uses of water. It was quite amazing to be there for the grand opening of their new well and to see the tears in the eyes of the mothers who were so grateful to have water near their homes.
I have to say for all that Coca-Cola is, and all that I may think of it on a personal level, at least in Paraguay they have truly been putting in every effort to help the social situations and environmental problems that people in this country face. They have so much money and it’s great to see them actually putting it to good use and truly affecting lives of people who need it.
I also think I should mention here that I had my first fumble as a ‘professional’ photographer today. When we arrived at the school I asked Lucy and a few members of Coca-Cola to pose for a photo, and tried to snap the shot, only to realize my battery was dead. And, if you can remember from earlier in my post, I had decided – inexplicably – to leave my little Canon home since I didn’t think I’d be using it. I can’t believe that probably for the first time in 5 years I decided to leave my little camera behind also happened to be the FIRST day I have ever had a dead battery in my beautiful Canon Rebel. Lessons learned – charge battery, carry charger, ALWAYS bring back up camera! For this, I am sorry you have no photos of today’s event – but I’ll see what goods my iPhone delivered 🙂