Davies Allen, PC Interviews Kate Brotherson of Going Beyond Borders
D+A: Kate, your mission statement is “Dedicated to educating, feeding, and assisting those who suffer and would otherwise die needlessly of preventable conditions.” Can you tell us a little bit more about your mission and where your idea came from?
Kate: I’m a believer that education and learning is everything. It’s that model of not just giving a man a fish, but teaching them how to fish and giving people resources and tools to become self-sufficient and self-reliable. I don’t think anyone feels edified with getting a handout. To be able to learn a new skill or to be able to have resources that aren’t otherwise there seems like a very small thing for me and those I work with to be able to give, and the impact is huge.
D+A: How long has your organization been running?
Kate: This is our tenth year, so it’s a big one.
D+A: Your most recent trip was to install water wells. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Kate: We went to a little town in Belize called Chunox 7 years ago. We had gone after a hurricane to help build these dome houses, and while we were there we just fell in love with the people in the village. They wanted us to come back. We knew that they wanted to build a school, so we went back to help build the school and another home, then we started getting into resources and talking about how we can get to the next place. They had started a garden and they wanted to be able to provide water and also crops and nutrition to all those that attended the school and have the kids come so that they could take the water home. That’s really big in a lot of countries. Kids drop out of school really early on because they’re needed at home. There are chores and things that need to be done at home for survival, literally. So we bought a drill, and we’re looking for an expert wet and mud driller. We didn’t have one, but we still felt very strongly about going down there and starting the project. So we went down there and started. We are still looking for and hoping to find a professional, someone who has skills in wet and mud drilling. The reason that’s important is because we purchase the drill from a company that does a lot of work in Africa, which is where we’ve also done work. The aquifer is very different wherever you go. One of the biggest things about the water in Belize is that it’s salt water. What they’re looking for is called “sweet water”, and the sweet water is drinking water. So we are currently doing that. We also found that when we were in Belize, there were lots of people waiting in line who want a well. We have 10 jobs waiting, and we’re going to create a Beyond Borders drilling company down there so that it creates jobs and sustainability. Six employees will man the drill and travel all over and dig more wells.
D+A: How can others get involved?
Kate: There are so many ways [to get involved]. If anyone knows of an expert driller in the country who would be willing to fly down to Belize and teach this team how to drill a successful well, that would be incredible. Funding is always a big thing. It costs money to get down there, it costs money to pay the people who are getting trained. They live, literally, day-to-day, and to be able to ask someone to take a risk and say “Hey, don’t work for two weeks while we put you through this training. Trust us, there are bigger things to come.” That’s not there. There’s a lot of need for just daily survival, so funding is a big one.
D+A: What would you say has been your greatest challenge with the company?
Kate: Currently finding the professional wet and mud driller has been the biggest challenge. I’ve learned as I’ve gone along- and this has been a great learning experience- wonderful things that I learned early on in our project in Africa with Ruth Oniang’o. She is a former member of Kenya’s parliament. Building that hospital there with her was just such a grace and a blessing because she had an in with the government, so our hospital has drugs and nurses and doctors that is paid for by the Kenyan government, which is huge. Being in Belize and not having the contacts and not having that person there has been a little bit of a challenge. Also, with the drilling and not having anyone go down there, we really are in a new space. There are 5-star hotels that you can stay at out on the water, and you’re washing your face, brushing your teeth, and washing your hair with salt water. So it really is a mass thing that’s happening down there, but I’m really confident, and I know that everything so far has worked out beautifully. It’s bigger than me. It always has been. That person will come. They’ll show up.
D+A: What would you say is your favorite aspect of this business? What’s been the most inspiring part of your work?
Kate: By far for me, the greatest part of what I do is I get to share some of the abundances that I’ve been given by other people. And I know that the reason I am where I am today is because someone invested time in me. Someone gave me resources and saw that there was an opportunity for me to be able to learn and grow. There’s this limitlessness, you know? I want to share with other people that we’re all connected. We’re all very, very similar, no matter where we are in the world and we all matter.
We are doing things here locally in the United States, and specifically in Utah, in really helping with something that is definitely a concern for us [here]. Utah is number 5 in suicide, and that’s climbing. I’m very aware and behind this movement of why and how we can teach people how to be emotionally and physically well. We work with women and children specifically. We give away a single parent scholarship to UVU every year. We work with the Provo women and children’s center. We have a curriculum and program that we’re putting together and writing and hoping to get into the Utah board of education so that it can be an elective for students. We do sub for Santa with Timp View, and there’s a lot of what we do that’s local, and it feels good to be on the ground here seeing some of the things and how the effect the lives of the people in this community.
Kate, thank you so much. To learn more about Going Beyond Borders and to help with the cause, please visit http://goingbeyondborders.org/