Joy & Gratitude

High school student gives 10,000 people clean water through homecoming project

I Am Second

August 21, 2017 | 2 minute read

Blake Mankin raises money to build wells.

He started Hope for Africa at his school. The club raised more than $6,000 by selling buttons during homecoming. The money paid for two wells in Southern Sudan that now provide more than 10,000 people with daily access to clean water.

Homecoming comes once a year and there’s this competition where whoever has the biggest mum gets announced at the pep rally.  It just turned into this big status thing where people are trying to out-buy each other and I thought what if my high school could do something with this excessive tradition to give people in Sudan clean water.   

I was born to two incredible parents who have loved me very well.  I have a father who makes a decent amount of money. So, I guess I have had the childhood growing up like the world has probably said is a perfect childhood, the perfect way to grow up.

I step off a plane coming from a city where most of the Moms drive Lexus’ and most of the kids get new cars on their sixteenth birthday. And I step out of the plane and I see that most people are walking. We drive through the village and I see a girl bathing in the middle of the street because she doesn’t have anywhere else to take a bath. And it smells bad and there’s houses that are built out of trash.

I looked at that and said, "How can God allow such pain and such hurt and such anguish on these people." Then I started to look at my life and the life of my community. I was asking the question: how could God allow us to be so distracted? What if we changed the question to: how could God let us to be so affluent?

Yes. It’s horrible that we see this poverty but we realize that Jesus was using the poor to have to rely completely and totally and whole-heartedly on Jesus. Jesus is contentment and everything that I have is only temporary happiness.

Ever since I was born, I mean right out of the womb, my Mom and my Dad have been reading me Bible stories and they have been praying with me and they have been so great that as I’ve grown up they’ve backed up and said, “You know you have to make this faith your own”.  

I’m sitting with a friend at lunch and we were looking around at just the mums and the garters.  We could totally use this tradition for something WAY, WAY cool.  And we were like what if we had somebody just donate the money they would have used to buy like a mum or garter and they bought like a button that just said, “I sent my mum to Africa” or something.  What if our white, middle-class high school could do something with this excessive tradition to give people in Sudan clean water?

I don’t think it matters whether you have a lot of money or not a lot of money, every human being somewhere deep in their soul is looking for something more than what they see. What Jesus is to me is that ultimate thirst quencher, I mean, there is no other way to put it except that Jesus is the ultimate contentment for me.  And that was what I was trying to be portrayed through this project.  

My name is Blake Mankin and I am Second.

I Am Second

I Am Second

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