#RippleEffects: Brad Dueck

Sharing your stories of how you are making an impact in the clean water movement and how it is impacting you.

Family physician, father, photographer

In 2015, I travelled to Ethiopia with a team of 15 runners to see first hand what Run For Water was doing to bring clean drinking water, promote education and empower Ethiopian people in some of the poorest and most remote areas I’ve ever seen. The trip was life-changing for me in so many ways, but the most moving moments involved the people themselves, who I quickly discovered were beautiful, kind, strong and determined. One woman became a symbol of all these qualities to me, connected only briefly through my camera lens as our group passed along the dry, dusty road near her homestead.

Her suspicion was healthy and warranted — a group of loud foreigners in running shoes trekking by her simple farm in rural Ethiopia, uninvited. I never knew her name and passed by in a fleeting minute, a curious outsider with a naive smile and a big camera. Little did I know then that this shot would become one of my all time favourite photographs, that it would capture me in a profound, unexpected way. There is something intangible in the photo that goes beyond the technical aspects of light, exposure and composition. I realize now that it’s in her eyes.

Photography is like that for me — when the shutter stops and the lens is capped it can become surprisingly alive, highly emotive, and at times deeply personal. I will never forget her. Something in that face tells an unspoken story so deep and difficult and beautiful. I see courage, strength and determination in those young eyes, eyes that have seen hardships beyond their years, hardships I will never know and wish not to dwell on too long from my comfortable, privileged life. In letting me take this snapshot she gave me a priceless gift: that of a new perspective. I feel grateful to her and forever indebted.

Run For Water has a dream that a piece of her future story and many like her would include clean drinking water, health and education. And I can testify that change is happening in tangible ways. I’ve seen up close that we can make a real difference for people like this young woman by giving to a cause greater than ourselves. Let those eyes compel you like they do me.


— Brad Dueck

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