For my first diary, rather than something political I thought I would write about something that inspires me. Something that demonstrates that the "one person can make a difference" line that we hear all the time can in some circumstances be more than a platitude, and crystal clear in its accuracy.
Katie Spotz is a 22-year old woman from around my hometown. As I write this, Katie is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, more than halfway between Dakar, Senegal and Georgetown, Guyana.
Katie is by herself, in a rowboat.
She's been rowing for more than 60 days, eating dehydrated foods and sleeping in a small watertight space in her specially designed rowboat. Every once in a while she checks for sharks and, seeing none, jumps in the water to clean the bottom of her boat (to cut down on resistance to the smooth flow of water). She's really by herself - there's no support team or other boats nearby.
She spends most of her time rowing, but periodically posts updates and pictures to her blog via satellite. In a recent blog entry, she sadly noted that "Edd," a large fish that had been following her boat and whom she considered sort of a friend, had been eaten by a dolphin.
Katie is doing two things. First, she's trying to become the youngest person to complete a solo row across the Atlantic. Second, she's rowing to support Blue Planet Run, a foundation dedicated to bringing safe drinking water to people that don't have it. This journey is only the latest in several endurance challenges that she's met.
Katie's goal in supporting this foundation is stated simply in her blog: to raise enough money to provide clean drinking water for life to 1,000 people. She's very close to raising her target amount; I've donated.
Our local press has done several stories about Katie's journey, but there has not been much press nationally. I think that will change once she reaches the other side.
One person can make a difference. I don't know Katie personally, but I'll think of her the next time I'm grousing about getting up early to staff a poll, or thinking I don't have enough time to volunteer at my local health clinic.
If you want to read further about Katie's amazing journey, click here.