Wine to Water is the uplifting and heart-breaking personal journey of a young man finding his calling in life. Dickson “Doc” Hendley is the son of a preacher who spent many years trying to discover his true passion in life. He knew he loved Harley motorcycles, playing his guitar, and being a bartender in North Carolina. But it wasn’t until he met a woman who told him about her husband’s work at an aid organization called Samaritan’s Purse that Doc felt his interest truly perked. Doing research on his own, he discovered that there is a vast worldwide water crisis. Disturbed by this knowledge, Doc put together a “wine to water” event at a local bar to raise awareness of the crisis and raise money.
After trying to donate the money to Samaritan’s Purse, Doc was roped in by the organization to see for himself the crisis first hand. Asked to be sent to the worse place in the world, Doc was sent to Darfur in 2004. Once there, Doc went to the UN “no-go” hot spots to help the people that other aid organizations didn’t assist. First hand he discovered the atrocities of a government sponsored genocide. Although he found himself mostly against the Janjaweed terrorists, he also helped them out to have clean drinking water. He also realized that while he sided with the SLA rebels, they were not saints.
On the ground in Darfur, Doc learned that he was good working with people and solving problems. Instead of putting in expensive new wells, he and his crew soon became experts at fixing the wells as a much cheaper alternative. He also learned that to truly achieve clean water, he had to educate the people on how to maintain and fix their own wells.
Doc faced many death defying experiences and also came face to face with pure evil. From it, he was able to find himself, his faith, and a future where he could continue to help those most at need. As Doc stated in the book, he realized that he didn’t have to be a perfect do-gooder, to do good in this world.
I found Doc to be a truly admirable person. His story was like himself, straightforward with no embellishments. His story was very interesting and also at times action packed. It starts with him and his convoy getting shot at and fleeing for their lives. To put your own life on the line to help those most in need is commendable, but Doc is never seeking the commendation. His story really gives the details of what was going on in Darfur, which I admit; I only had the slightest knowledge. Certain aspects of the story, such as when he meets young boy soldiers that show him where their teachers and fellow students were executed, brought me to tears.
The world water crisis is something that I am very interested in as a water resources engineer. I don’t think most people in America realize how lucky we are. You turn on the faucet and get clean drinking water, and when you flush the toilet it disappears. No one thinks about the process it took to get the water to your house or to treat your waste. Clean water in America in the twentieth century is credited as being the number one health benefit for saving lives, not vaccines. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is as lucky as we are. I vastly admire those that help people across the world find clean drinking water. I had several friends that joined the Peace Corp with such intent in mind, and others that are in Engineers without Borders to also help. I have a dream to also help with Engineers without Borders in about ten years when my kids are bigger. This book really makes me want to follow this dream.
Overall, Wine to Water puts a face to the worldwide water crisis while also telling a darn good story. It is a very fast book to read. In fact my only complaint about the book is that I wanted to know more details about the last five years of Doc’s life, it was glossed over. Book 2 – Wine to Water in Haiti?
I reviewed Wine to Water as part of the TLC Book Tour. For a complete schedule, please check out this link. For more information about the great organization Wine to Water, check out this these links:
I am the Environmental Engineering Technology Instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and a mom with three wonderful children; two sons and one daughter. I have loved to read and watch movies since I was a child. I knew my husband was for me when I found him looking through my books in my apartment during our first date and offering his opinion!