Travel bloggers have been known – on occasion – to complain about how busy they are. Between the demands of writing and editing photos and publishing and sharing – to say nothing of actually traveling – it certainly can and does take a lot of time to run a successful travel blog.
But this week every time I start to tally up the items on my to-do list or feel like I need a 30-hour day to get everything accomplished, I ask myself a question: What if I had to spend most of my waking time each day collecting and carrying water to drink, cook, and clean with? Because that’s just what many people – mostly women and children – must do. In fact, every day around the world 200 million work hours are spent collecting water, much of it contaminated.
One of the most water-poor nations in the Western hemisphere is Haiti. The situation there, already bad after the 2010 earthquake, has deteriorated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy earlier this fall. According to Water.org, 4 million people there do not have access to safe water (that’s half the population) and 1 in 5 people don’t have sanitation.
But there is hope. Organizations like Water.org are working to help the people of Haiti rebuild and get permanent access to safe drinking water. Which is where we come in. In 2012 the travel bloggers’ fundraiser Passports with Purpose is raising $100,000 to build five wells in Haiti. These wells will help about 1600 people in two communities to stay safe and healthy. It will also offer them precious time, time that they can use to work and care for their homes and families.
Learn more about the water crisis in Haiti and what Water.org is doing to help.
Now it’s time for the fun part: My Passports with Purpose prize. This year I’m so happy to partner with Kimpton Hotels to donate a three-night stay at any of their over 100 hotels across the United States, along with a gift certificate for two at any Kimpton restaurant.
If you’ve never stayed in a Kimpton Hotel, you’re in for a treat. They offer a fabulous combination of luxury and fun. Last December we were fortunate to visit the Hotel Monaco in Baltimore and loved everything about it from the kid-sized leopard-print robes to the free wine offered every afternoon in the glamorous lobby. And Kimpton Hotels are known not just for their stylish interiors, fun touches like pet goldfish, and attentive service; they also love to feed their guests well. We have had wonderful meals at two Kimpton restaurants: The B&O Brasserie in Baltimore and Firefly in Washington, DC (which is one of my all-time favorite kid-friendly restaurants anywhere).
And if you’re not in the market for a hotel stay, don’t worry. In fact, from gear to getaways there are lots of chances to win great prizes. Every $10 that you donate gets you one chance toward the prize of your choice. And it’s up to you – you can donate $30 and split your chances among three different prizes or put all your money toward one prize of your choice. You can even make the donations in honor of someone special (they make great holiday gifts!).
I’ve participated in Passports With Purpose since it started in 2008 and every year the founders – Michelle Duffy of WanderMom, Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby, Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View, and Beth Whitman of Wanderlust and Lipstick – have chosen a charity project I believe in, whether we were helping to build a village in India or libraries in Zambia.
To browse the other prizes and donate for chances to win, please visit the Passports With Purpose donation page between today and December 11, 2012. And if you feel like helping even more, you might use one of those buttons up at the top of this post to share it through your social media channels.
So as you rush around trying to get it all done before the holidays, take a moment to remember the people in Haiti who have to work so hard just to try and meet their children’s basic needs. What could be a better gift than giving them both safe water and time to focus on something other than getting it?
A big thank you is due not only to the Passports With Purpose founders, but to the 2012 sponsors who have helped make this fundraiser happen: Expedia, TripIt, TBEX, TravellersPoint, HostelBookers, GoWithOh, and HomeAway. And thank you also to Water.org for the photos from Haiti.
Fine print: Gift certificate for two nights stay at any Kimpton Hotel in the United States and dinner for two at any Kimpton restaurant is valid until December 31, 2013 and is subject to availability. Must enter to win between November 28 and December 11, 2012, 11:59 p.m (PST) at the Passports With Purpose website. Prize is donated to the fundraiser by Kimpton Hotels.