Amy is a hydrogeologist with the North Carolina Division of Water Quality. She has a BA in Botany from Duke University and an MS in Geology from NC State University. Amy has a history of community development work in the small town in rural Maine where she lived for 11 years. She is interested in using her skills as a hydrogeologist to help provide clean water to people in Africa.
Several distinct threads in Amy’s life have come together in the Give Back Africa project: community development work, her interest in hydrogeology – the study of groundwater, and her love of travel, seeing new places and meeting new people.
Amy experienced first-hand the power of community when she co-founded a food pantry in response to a friend’s desperate need to feed her children and keep them warm through a bitter winter. Several community development projects followed including a summer camp for school children and an effort to build a public pool in a community of non-swimming fishermen and their families.
Amy discovered hydrogeology when trying to be a geologist. Before she knew there was such a discipline, she once watched her family’s water source dry up through her own ignorance. The source, a spring emanating from a small gravel pocket, went dry when the land was deforested and the gravel of the recharge zone removed for commercial use.
A life-long traveler, Amy discovered 3 things on a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to Africa with her daughter Anne:
- a lot of people in this world can’t just turn on a tap to obtain safe drinking water
- those same people are really good problem solvers but they lack the skills to solve that particular problem
- She could learn a lot from those problem solvers about working with limited resources
Amy has learned that development work is a matter not of giving what the giver wants to give, but of helping people to help themselves, by listening, by helping them to define the problem and to determine a solution, and to help find the resources and skills to achieve that solution.