Tell us about the ecological and humanitarian work you’ve been doing for many years including your Water.org and H20 Africa Foundation? I was raised to be actively interested and engaged in the world and be a responsible human being. Children are dying all over the world, particularly in Africa, from a lack of access to clean water and sanitation. The technology exists to provide everyone with clean, safe drinking water and I wanted to be part of the effort to stop children from dying so unnecessarily because of this problem. I’m the father of four children, and I couldn’t live with myself if I did nothing to help other children in this way. At least I can make use of my name and whatever recognition I have to do some good for kids who deserve our care.
You travel to places which are affected, and you speak to the locals and hear them speak. What kind of stories are they talking to you about? I have met people in various countries around the world who have been affected by the water crisis and there are some pretty incredible moments. Around about the beginning of this decade I was in Haiti and we had helped bring water to this particular village which had none. I was talking to a 13-year-old girl who said that this meant she was no longer going to have to scavenge for water and go on these organized water collections.
She was putting in three to four hours a day on these hunts for water and I asked her what she was going to do with all this extra time, I mean, she was going to have extra time to do her homework. She looked at me with some disdain and said: “I don’t need extra time to do homework… I am the smartest kid in my class!” [Laughs].
So, taken aback a little by that reply, I said to her: “Okay, hotshot. What are you going to do with all of this extra time?” She looked at me and she said: “I am going to play.” That just shook me to my base, because these kids shouldn’t be burdened with these things and this extreme poverty is this tremendous burden.