Field Note #176: Why I Volunteer with Wine To Water

The highlight of my trip was getting to work with Radhames and working at the factory. I love hearing Radhames tell his story, seeing the passion he has for this work, and seeing how there’s a part of him that’s never satisfied.  He’s always dreaming of ways to make improvements.  It’s just so inspiring.  And I loved getting to make so many filters and feel like I actually got the hang of it after a while.  It feels so good to get your hands dirty, be sweaty, and be sore the next day while working to provide clean water to people.

I learned more about how the filters are made and distributed and about future plans for the filters.  I was reminded on this trip how beautiful and diverse our W|W community is.

And I loved doing follow-up the visits with past recipients of the filters.  This is where it always comes together for me-getting out into the community and hearing the stories. This is where everything gets put into perspective.  This is why I volunteer for W|W. 

This trip reminded me how hard W|W works to do service work “the right way”, and I love that.  Building relationships and seeing the ripple effect of what we’re doing is what service work is all about for me.  It also made me realize that the things we did in the DR 3 years ago were the seeds for what’s happening today there.  Sometimes it’s hard to think about your long-term impact in the moment when serving, but having that 3 year gap helped me to see that it’s there.  

I am so impressed by the progress of this ground team and the factory!  So much has changed since I was there just three years ago- from the staff and the facilities to the production of the filters and the organization of our filter program.  It’s exciting to see everyone working together to constantly improve everything in our DR program.  Everyone is so welcoming and works so hard to make sure the volunteers have a wonderful experience.  Coming back to the factory felt like I was coming home to family even though I haven’t been there in years.  And the passion of this ground team is absolutely contagious.  Thanks for a great trip!

-Jessica Barrett, DR volunteer