Last week I came home from the most amazing experience of my life. It all started with a commitment to fund a water well in Africa. After deciding to go there with three of my children for the dedication, I got more out of the investment than I ever expected. It’s one thing to buy a pair of TOMS shoes and to know a child in need was also given a pair. It’s a whole other experience to see the child put the shoes on.
Last week I was given the opportunity to take a trip that redefined customer experience. As a customer of Missions.Me, I was given the opportunity to fund a well. But, it didn’t end there. Unlike other humanitarian aid foundations, Missions.Me sent me to the village to meet the people who would be impacted. I saw first hand what a well can do to change a community for decades, but it was me that was changed forever. My son, Daniel Jr. shot some video while we were there. It’s exciting to review the footage, but it was impossible to capture the feeling that I experienced.
What the video doesn’t explain is that each well we dedicated was funded by a member of our team. Some of the team members included youth groups, who funded their own well as a team. The youth group from Texas in the video actually funded two wells. There was even one teenager from Colorado who funded her own well. Her mom was originally against the $3,000 cost because Makenzie still needed to save for college. I’ve never seen a more proud mom in my life than I saw the day she dedicated her well with her mother.
Each team member was given a special gift at our well site. As we entered each village, we had the opportunity to see how scarce water can be on the other side of the World. People would walk for miles each day with water on their head, just to get enough to drink. No wonder there wasn’t enough water to grow a crop. No wonder there wasn’t enough water to get washed or flush a toilet. It’s easy to see why starvation and infection are so pervasive in these regions. We have no idea of what we take for granted.
Each village would seat the honored guests at the head table and entertain us with tribal dances, drums and speeches from local dignitaries. At each location, they would say, “nsu teaseni bra” or “water is life.” We will never understand the importance of the water we delivered, or of the impact we made by actually showing up to dedicate the wells. I remember when one of the chiefs of a village came up to me to thank me. He said that he had never seen such love in his whole life. He would use this well to teach selfless love to his tribe, so that his people would love each other as much as they had been shown love that day.
I blog about “Better brands for a better human condition,” but I never saw this coming. Brands like Missions.Me not only provide solutions for humanity, but bring the customer (donor) to the event that celebrates their contribution. From Missions.Me I learned that the ultimate in customer experience is to help a customer experience their own generosity. When we get the opportunity to see the best in ourselves, it doesn’t get better than that.