By John Hall - December 11, 2018
Pynwheel has partnered with Clean Drink Adventures to provide clean water to a village in Nepal! For every touchscreen order placed until the end of the year, we will donate a clean water system.
Pynwheel's COO, Alex Cyphers, was a participant on a Clean Drink Adventuress trip to Nepal in October. We asked him to tell us all about the organization, and his trip.
How did you hear about Clean Drink Adventures (CDA)?
Christophe Noel, the founder of CDA, was a college friend who I hadn’t seen for 24 years. We had reconnected on Facebook a while back, and I read about his idea.
What is that idea?
It's pretty simple: CDA is a non-profit that provides clean water systems to remote villages in Nepal.
What made you decide to get involved?
I had been searching to do more impactful things with my life, especially given current conditions in the world. My kids are a little older and don’t require as much of my time.
When I learned about CDA, Chris had asked friends to join him in Nepal on motorcycles to help reach remote areas. I don’t ride one, so I mentioned that if there was ever a 4x4 option available, I would love to join. If I’m being honest, I probably didn’t think it all the way through! He called me the next day to tell me they were adding a 4x4, so I no longer had an excuse not to go. Still, I was really nervous to make such a big commitment.
Describe your daily accommodations.
We stayed in a hotel in Katmandu. Otherwise, we mostly camped. A team of Sherpas set up our tents and did the cooking, so, for camping, it was quite luxurious. It was little hard for me to accept at first, since I am used to doing things on my own, but once I got to know the crew and how much loved their jobs, it became a great thing. The income the Sherpas made from our trip amounts to a few months wages for them, so it was a win-win situation.
I can’t say it enough: the Nepalese people are among the most kind and genuine I have ever met in my life.
Besides your family, what did you miss the most?
A big cup of coffee!! I loved the tea they served, and we did have small amounts of espresso occasionally. But I really did miss my regular mug of light roast coffee.
Katmandu, the Terai region, Muktunath, and many small villages.
What surprised you most about Nepal?
I was really fascinated by the religious tolerance and love. When you see a Hindu shrine, you likely to see a Buddhist Temple close by. There is a mutual respect for all religions that I had not experienced before.
Also, life in Nepal can be a daily struggle, but the people I met seemed seemed to be much happier than we are.
What do you think you will remember the most?
First and foremost, the KIDS! They were so funny and so cute. I am 6’5”, and many of them had never seen anyone like me. They were often a little scared, but would then end up touching me and climbing all over me. It was not unusual to have a little kid walk by and touch me, and then run away.
Second, the roads. The road to Muktinath was absolutely nuts. Nothing like what we are used to here.
Third, hearing the roar of a Bengal tiger while out walking. A crazy and slightly terrifying experience!
How many systems did you install, and how many will that impact?
Our group installed five. We left our partner in Nepal with seven more, which he is already working on implementing. Each system can provide water for up to 500 people, so if all twelve are used successfully, that’s over 5,000! We already have three more trips planned, so you can imagine the impact that will have.
Do you feel like the trip changed you?
It did. The main thing I came away with was realizing how much we take for granted on a daily basis. Everytime I drink water out of a tap, or go grocery shopping, I am grateful. It also reaffirmed that happiness is not purchased. If people who have next nothing can be kind, generous, and grateful, I certainly should be able to live that way.
What is the most valuable thing you took away from your trip?
I made friendships that I expect to have for the rest of my life.
This was a massive adventure. Did you get your fill for now, or did it make you want to do more?
I certainly have my fill for now Luckily, I am on the Board of Directors for CDA, so I can stay involved and have an impact without traveling all the way to Nepal. CDA will continue to deliver clean drinking water, while offering other people the opportunity to have experiences like the one I had. It’s off to a great start and I think will have an impact for years to come.
Right now I am really enjoying being with my family, but I am pretty sure that I will get the itch to go back. It’s an amazing place.