We all have to do our part to help the world, here is one way. Today, I am burning coconut shells on the backyard barbecue to make charcoal. Why? For my science fair project I’m attempting to create a water filter out of all local materials from the Amazon Rainforest. I was inspired by a life-changing journey I went on in September 2014 to Ecuador. This adventure was with Me to We and Free the Children who work to provide better lives for children in developing countries. Although it was a volunteer service trip with hard work, it was nothing other than rewarding. Even when I was carrying bricks under the blistering mid day sun with almost 100 percent humidity, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because I knew I was helping to give these children an education and more opportunities in life. And even when I was dripping in sweat and completely exhausted, I would still give the little kids wheelbarrow rides because they made me realize how a simple gesture can change the world, and that laughing is a universal language. In these Amazonian villages they don’t have clean water, which causes illness and parasites in the children. That is why I’m making a water filter that they can easily source and build for themselves at almost no cost. That is why I’m burning coconuts on a Sunday afternoon.
— by M.F.D.