Jeanie Mollett was watching television one morning when a segment came on the CBS Morning News about the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. It revealed that 40 percent of the families living there are without running water, miles away from even a well from which to draw. Jeanie felt deeply touched, and she leapt into action, already raising $20,000 to dig two wells on the reservation.
“That is our people,” Jeanie expressed. “We’re all Native.”
The news story focused on one Navajo woman, Darlene Arviso, whom the community calls “The Water Lady.” She brings water to families in a water tanker truck, donated years ago by the local Catholic Church. Darlene can only visit each family about once a month, though, forcing families to ration their water frugally.
The Navajo Water Project is raising funds to dig wells across the community so families can have constant access to water. The land where the reservation sits is contaminated from mining, so these wells must be dug deep underground, below the contamination.
Jeanie visited the reservation herself this spring, and she travelled with Darlene as she transported water to families. With her came 48 boxes of warm clothing that she collected from other Pokagon citizens, sent by Four Winds Casino.
Jeanie collected information on what the Navajo nation needs and the costs, and she sent out requests to the 12 tribes of Michigan to donate $10,000 each. Thus far, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi has responded with a $10,000 donation. Unexpectedly, a friend of Jeanie’s encouraged their local employer to donate, and the business gave $10,000, as well.
These two wells will be dug and gifted to one elder each. These elders will bring their families nearby so they can share the supply.
“If you get one well, the kids move in around it,” Jeanie explained.
Learn more about the Navajo Water Project on their website.