The Bucket List of a Four-Year-Old Kenyan Boy

Although I’m not a fan of the term bucket list, I have always liked jotting down my dreams for what I might experience in this life. The usual daredevil feats like skydiving and bungee-jumping have never graced my lists; instead, my slots are reserved for travel and reading and learning and seeing. My list would probably be boring to most, but from time to time when I stumble across it anew, my heart skips a beat, and I am reminded that I need to get busy living (as Morgan Freeman’s Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding once said).

I was reminded of my list of life dreams after reading about a new campaign by WATERisLIFE and agency DDB New York that is raising money and awareness about unclean drinking water in Kenya. Part of the campaign is a moving video highlighted by Jennifer Miller at CoCreate. She explains:

“Kenya Bucket List, a beautiful short film featuring Nkaitole (pronounced Guytolie), a 4-year-old Maasai boy, who experiences a lifetime of experiences in just a few weeks. The point, of course, is that due to the water situation, Nkaitole might not live until his fifth birthday.”

The video is heart-stirring, for sure. (Watch it here.) Nkaitole is adorable, the scenes are breathtaking, and the adventures made me smile. And it did its job of tilling the soil of the heart in order to plant the seeds of hard truth: That 1 in 5 kids in Kenya die before age 5 due to unsafe drinking water—a preventable tragedy.

If the campaign has its intended impact, people will be moved to give so that Nkaitole and other kids like him might have clean water and a chance to live long enough to have bucket lists and even pursue a few of those adventures. The campaign is full of light and life and hope even as it addresses a wretched reality for kids in Kenya. It paints the beautiful hope that we can make a reality through our gifts and support of clean water campaigns.

It would be easy, in analyzing this campaign, to go for guilt by comparing the typical American’s life that allows for bucket list dreams with that of the typical Kenyan child whose greatest need is merely to live past age 5. Instead, I found this video to reveal what is similar between what Nkaitole put on his list and what I find on mine. He wanted to see the ocean, fly like a bird, play, run, sail upon the water, float in the air, drive fast, and dig in the dirt. My dreams aren’t much different, but I have access to clean water and other health care that make my bucket list pursuits more likely.

The campaign reminded me of this truth: Life is worth living. And I want to use my days, my resources, and my skills to multiply life to those who are at risk of having theirs needlessly cut short.

About Erin Straza

Erin Straza (Associate Editor) is a freelance writer, editor, and marketing communications consultant, helping organizations tell their stories in authentic and compelling ways. After a stint in corporate marketing while earning her MBA, Erin taught marketing communications at Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State. She is crafting her first book, writing from the Illinois flatlands where she lives with her husband, Mike. Find more from Erin at her blog Filling My Patch of Sky and on Twitter @ErinStraza.
E-mail: erin [at] FillingMyPatchOfSky [dot] com
Blog: Filling My Patch of Sky
Twitter: @ErinStraza


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