“1 in 10”

Hello, Nathan Atteberry here.  I hope all is well.  

Suzanne and I are planning on volunteering for a couple of months in what we see as two of the most dire locations on earth.  We were wondering if you wanted to help too?

This fact always blows my mind. 1 in 10 people in the world is a refugee.  

There’s two desperate locations that Suzanne and I always talk and think about…and we genuinely hate to do this, but feel it’s worth brining it up to people like you.  

They are the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar now in Bangladesh, and the many Middle Eastern and Northern Africans that are trying to get to safety in Europe.  

This coming July, Suzanne and I will be working alongside Bengalis in the Rohingya refugee camps in South Eastern Bangladesh.  The Rohingya are simply the World’s largest group of stateless people, with over a million of them living in Myanmar/Burma for centuries.  The Myanmar “government” has always denied them citizenship. When I was working in Myanmar a couple of years back, in efforts to get rid of them, the Myanmar authorities would put them on rafts and push them out to sea.  Some would land on foreign shores, some would not.  

A couple of months ago, this conflict escalated as the Myanmar government started destroying the Rohingya’s villages, burning houses, killing the men, and rapeing the young women.  The UN called it a classic example of ethnic clinsing. The Rohingya had no choice but to flee to their neighbors of Bangladesh, one of the most rapid exoduses in modern history.   

This will be my fourth time working in Bangladesh, and I know some of the difficulties that this country has to deal with on a day to day level. One obvious challenge is being the worlds most crowded nation. (Imagine half of the U.S.’s population living in Louisiana, that’s about the same density of Bangladesh!!)  Another challenge they face is living with tropical diseases, such as Malaria and Dengue. One can only imagine what an extra million of “unwanted” Rohingya can do to the already desperate state of Bangladesh.  

These Rohingya are now in cramped refugee camps near a city called Cox Bazar. They live in shacks and tents, drinking disgusting water and using full latrines. The girls are often forced into prostitution. This coming July brings the annual monsoons, where the flash floods are expected to wash away many of the “settlements” set up on hillsides, and make the already full latrines an even bigger problem.  Also this July and August, the Rohingya will see a dramatic spike in new borns, as it will be about 9 months after many of their young women and girls were raped. 

Dr. Suzanne and I want to help them.

(After this time in Bangladesh, Suzanne and I will be teaching for a week in Central India) 

And on to the Middle East and Europe.  

The crises in the Middle East is more widely known.  Even after years of conflict, refugees keep chancing death and try and make the journey to Europe. The most obvious are the Syrians, but working there before, there’s many other nationalities trying to escape tragedy, if that be from their own government, the Taliban, Al-Shabaab, ISIS,…  

A couple of years ago, Suzanne and I worked on the Greek island of Lesvos. This tiny island is one of the closest European soils to the Middle East, which means “safety” for these displaced peoples.   We helped hundreds of Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, Kurds, Pakistani, South Sudanese, Somalians, Yemenis,…as they made their way over from Turkey on overcrowded dinghies or rafts that were floating around the Mediterranean sea.  If they didn’t drown and arrived on Lesvos, they would be put into a cramped and frustrating refugee camp called Moria. (Last night, “only” 9 people drowned, including 6 children) Thousands of refugees from different countries, that are at times at war with each other, crammed into a depleted olive grove without many necessities.  At night, this refugee camp would really show its teeth.  

As I write this, there’s almost 10,000 refugees stuck here as our Western countries can’t or wont do anything to help. In the past month, the cries of help from organizations that are there and the people of Lesvos have been overwhelming. 

Half a world away in the USA, there’s a huge and cool figure of a woman called The Statue of Liberty.  She’s there to welcome all into the New York area.  It’s America’s icon.  On this statue it reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”    Beautiful.    When Suzanne and I worked on Lesvos back in 2016, the U.S. government resettled 15,479 Syrian refugees. This year, under the current administration,11. We find this unacceptable and want to help.   

As always, Suzanne and I will be funding our own expenses. We are not asking anything for our selves.   

There has been many times working around the world that we’ve seen problems that we could fix if we only had some extra cash. 

A school that has no water but has plenty of rain?  A simple rain catchment gutter to a holding tank and a water filter would change this. Or Suzanne noticing that the clinic she’s working in is missing one or two expensive instruments that would make a huge difference for the patience and staff.  There’s always needs such as those that we can’t foresee, and even though we know they’ll be there, it’s not right for us to ask for assistance with the unknown.   

But one thing that will absolutely be a needed is good water.  

Im sure we all can appreciate how important good, healthy, and free  drinking water can be for the worlds largest refugee camp.  

Would you like to help us with this? 

Here at our house in Ecuador, we use a Sawyer water filter.(0.10 Microns Absolute Hollow Fiber Filter)  They’re easy to use, small, durable, and provide great water for years. We would like to buy at least 50 of these filters for the refugee camps.(and 50 buckets that are needed to use this filter)  This will give us the chance to provide 60,000 liters of good clean water per day, EVERYDAY.  These filters can be installed where people congregate in the camps, if that be a school, a mosque, a “community center”,… wherever they’ll be used most.  And that’s what I intend to do. 

Again, if we do receive any kind donations, 100% will be used to help those less fortunate than you and I. 

One filter is $50, and one bucket is about $10. 

Helping even one desperate refugee child not to acquire Cholera, E. coli, Typhoid, Botulism, Dysentery,…priceless. 

9 out of 10 of us on earth are blessed to be where we are.  Yes, we can give some refuge to a refugee.  A bucket for a boy.  Some wholesome water for a woman.  Or a filter for a family.  

Thank you for your consideration.



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