Philanthropist Dave Lott's life-changing journey with Water Underground
David Lott's story is proof that one person really can make a difference.
Now that is not to say that he did it alone, not by a long shot! He just made the decision to help change the world, took action and then by nature others followed. Belmont Brewing Co owner, Dave Lott, decided he wanted more purpose and meaning in his life after running his own successful business for over twenty years and sending his kids off to good colleges.
After learning about Water Underground and the horrifying reality that women and girls in rural sub-Saharan Africa from as young as 5 years old walk 6-8 hours every day to collect filthy water from stagnant ponds and rivers 3-5 miles away, Dave felt compelled to use his resources to do something. He and his wife teamed up with another couple, the Keller's, and decided to hold a 'Cocktails and Conversation' evening in May of 2017 and invited their rolodex of successful and influential friends to learn about Water Underground. Water Underground founder, Justin Arana, attended the event and presented films and images of the impact of the organization's work in Massinga District, Mozambique since it's launch in 2015. Before we knew it, in a single evening Dave had raised almost $10,000 USD in one evening.
It did not stop there. Donations continued to roll in after the event including multiple guests deciding to support monthly to keep Water Underground projects going. As of July 2017 Dave had raised $22,000 USD. The money raised funded an entire clean water project in the community of Macangane, Mozambique. Dave also went a step further and put up his own personal funds because he believed so strongly in the cause.
We invited Dave to Mozambique to experience the journey of changing an entire community's life through water. He says it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of his life.
"My trip to Mozambique was like no other.
I've never done anything more impactful
and meaningful for so many."
Dave touched down in Mozambique on the 12th of October 2017 which would begin a two-week journey he would never forget. With a masters degree in Public Health and volunteering for organizations such as The Peace Corps, Dave was excited to see how his knowledge and life experience could come into play during his visit.
On Day 1, Dave visited the classrooms of the students (grades one through five) in the community where he was funding the Water Underground project. He was immediately confronted by how little the children had - no desks, no chairs, old plastic bags for school bags and tattered (if any) books. What could have been heartbreaking, was a gift of perspective. He noticed how happy and positive the attitudes of these children were, and the simple joys they got from the simplest things - very different to some children in the developed world who might have an iPhone from seven years old. Dave gained the most reward from playing with the children and began to be known as 'the balloon man'. Each day he would fill his pockets with balloons, blowing them up and releasing them into the air to a screaming group of 300+ children who were laughing and cheering uncontrollably. By Day 3, Dave had started to learn local language including 'kanimambo' which means 'thank you' and truly began to immerse himself in the experience.
Each day encompassed a lifetime of memories and precious moments. Community after community, Dave participated more and more with the Water Underground team and helped educate the local committees about disease prevention how to take pride and ownership in their new water well, sanitation center and garden. During his time he also participated in traditional ceremonies, the drilling process, planting crops in the school gardens and connecting with community members on a personal level.