Field Note #160: A Letter of Encouragement from the DR


I have been coming to the DR for nearly four years so I have seen it change and grow in dramatic, sometimes challenging, but always significant ways. Without question, though, every time I visit our team and factory in the DR I see improvement and this week was no different. All this to say, the progress I am speaking about actually has nothing to do with the filter.  The filter has always been world class and I would easily compare it to any device out there as a best of breed. Rather, and bluntly, in the past four years I have seen a young organization come to what I have witnessed this week as a team with a purpose and a commitment to a vision. This is not to say that we still don’t have a lot of work to do, but it would be completely unfair and irresponsible of me not to recognize the achievement of what has been done.   
This change in the spirit of how things are going, as many of you know, did not happen overnight.  Many of you know all too well, that it has taken a lot of perseverance and grind to get here. Additionally, it has taken straight up sweat equity from every single person involved. This includes the efforts of our international fellows (starting with Tina’s family and others up to currently launching Drea), all the volunteers and the volunteer program, the DR staff most notably led by Radha and now complemented by Joel, our Admin and Operations teams getting us organized (and so much more), Development team raising funds and awareness in a huge way to keep things moving, and International Program team for providing clear vision and diligently working every day toward it. And every other person who has ever been involved in this community. Without question, the improvement and growth in the DR, like so many of our other programs is straight up a result of every one of you in some way. Simply, what you have done is AMAZING. So in some small way, let me congratulate you on the achievement of what has been done. But more importantly, the beautiful process by which you push forward, striving to improve, every single day. I am super proud of you all.   
And what does it all matter? What is the point? Well, the point is our DR team has incredible pride in their work. They have dignity about what they are doing, they have goals that include bettering themselves as people, and they have a spirit to make things better for their country, starting with themselves (all of this is still in process). In addition, as I did community follow-ups, I heard story after story of people who would no longer live without a filter because of the change it has brought to their lives. They are proud of their filters and depend on them daily, some for years.  In one instance, Miss Carmen, whom some of you know, has had her filter for nearly a decade and still depends on it to this day. Carmen is a diabetic and lost both her legs. The filter is not only good for her health; it is literally critical for her life.   
All this to say, what you do every single day matters in a big way. Never forget that your work matters and that there are lives out there that NEED us to do the best jobs we can possibly do.  Not to be too philosophical, but our stories and lives are totally intertwined with those we serve.  We need each other. Please keep pushing forward in the process. There is much to be celebrated there.
Thanks for all you are doing. Keep going.   
Much love to you all,