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Catching Rain in Africa

‘Splinded Torch’ by George Bernard Shaw

“This is the true joy in life – being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one – being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for it’s own sake.

Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations . . .”

Jon with Rose – orphanage clean-water project in Haiti.


Game Changer

June 2011 Game Changer Haiti

Hurley – Waves For Water – Nike

in partnership with Nike & Hurley, launched the first Game Changer project:

sport + safe drinking water = Have fun staying alive.

watch the video:


Reach the Un-Reached

RainCatcher  +  Reach the Un-Reached  =

July – Uganda – Over a two week period, everyday we meet with local humanitarian organizations. After training, RainCatcher gives water filters to each – and they do the rest – bringing our clean-water systems to countless schools, orphanages, churches & clinics.

Keep in mind that our NGO partners like Reach The Unreached and ROWAN are two samples of hundreds of similar projects made possible by the amazing partnerships between humanitarians in Uganda & Kenya, and their counterparts in California. Based on the same sharing model that provided safe drinking water for us when we were growing up in America – RainCatcher is simply doing the same in parts of the world where this basic right for children has been overlooked.

w4w Ghana

Waves For Water Africa Project

Annie McBride is first to bring our clean-water systems to Ghana, on west coast of Africa.

the man who loves rain

Jack Rose – the man who loves rain . . .

Jack Rose, founder of RainCatcher.

Many places in the world need the water right now – it’s literally a matter of life-and-death. If we bring our simple ways to catch and store and clean rainwater to Africa, India, China, South America, Indonesia, everywhere – millions of people worldwide will benefit today by not having to suffer and die from water borne diseases.Example: Current projects include two UN Farm Schools for 700 AIDS orphans in Western Kenya.

bio: I grew up along the coast of California with a mountain range, the Sierra Nevada, in my back yard – surfing, climbing, skiing – living in a place where every year, like clockwork, moisture would float in from the Pacific, hit the Sierra, and drop an abundance of rain and snow. These same mountains would later provide the model for my current work.

If I had to give myself a job description it would be: inventor/explorer/friend.

Jack Rose Design Studio — I design interesting houses in all the hideaway places up and down California. Having grown up in a dry climate, rain falling has always been alluring for me. While living on the north shore of Kauai I began catching and drinking rain. It was the best thing I had ever tasted. A couple years later, while living on the rainy Mendocino coast, I continued catching an abundance of delicious rain. So, one day, while enjoying a glass of water-from-heaven I suddenly realized that over a billion people around the world couldn’t participate in this daily ritual that I take for granted. As a designer I gave myself the challenge to come up with a simple, cheap way for all who are chronically thirsty to receive clean, safe drinking water direct from the sky. From that day on I dedicated my life to this purpose and goal:  H2O 4 Every 1.


The value of rain received, rather than rejected, is immeasurable.

Architecture, up until now, is based on the premise that “Water is the enemy” – we must shed it and get rid of it as fast as possible. Residential, commercial, industrial and municipal architects and planners all adhere to this belief.

At the same time, modern culture has been relentless in promoting this attitude. Turn to the weather on radio or TV and we are constantly told: “It’s going to be a bad day”. . . because there’s a chance of rain. And if it isn’t a bad day here we are shown all the places where it is going to be ‘miserable’, because of rain — Boston, Pittsburgh, Des Moines, you name it.

Generations have been taught to fear nature, to loathe the rain, to complain each time the garden gets watered. None of this rings true. As children we loved the rain. When we weren’t inside playing board games and making forts we were outside discovering new lakes where bean fields used to be — building Tom Sawyer rafts and having big adventures.

A primary function of our work is to sing praise and gratitude for weather — to instigate an attitude shift from “rain is bad, let’s get rid of it” to “rain is a blessing, let’s catch it and treasure it.” When enough of us do this, countless people around the world will experience a Reversal-of-Fortune.  Water is as precious a resource as oil. Instead of tossing it aside, one day we will collect it from the roofs of every home and business structure and put it to good use.

As everyone in Africa knows,  “WATER IS LIFE”. .  . and I work every day towards this ideal: H2O 4 Every 1 . . .

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"Available materials / possible ideas"

Above are images of the Family Portable RainCatcher . . . Click on photo to enlarge

These images are meant to illustrate just how easy it is to catch rain: String up a plastic tarp with ropes from trees or buildings and channel the rain water down to a waiting container. Here we use a clean 30 gallon plastic trash can. Photos are from a backyard and St. Martin of Tours school in Los Angeles. Students are learning how to catch and clean rainwater with Father Kizito, visiting from Uganda.

People all around the world can use this demonstration as a starting point in the effort to provide clean drinking water for families. Please send us photos & stories of your variations on the theme: “Available materials / possible ideas” in tackling the problem of finding & creating new sources of safe drinking water.  jack@raincatcher.org

Special thanks to Greg & Wendy Lynch; and Marija Newsom. As a result  of their contributions of time, talent & funds, many families in Uganda are receiving our clean water filter systems.

RainCatcher Uganda

Jack Rose, Father Kitzito, and Mark Armfield in Uganda.

Jack Rose, Father Kizito, and Mark Armfield.

Jack Rose and Mark Armfield worked with Father Kizito to bring RainCatchers to his 30 schools in Uganda. As a result of this meeting, arranged by Wendy Lynch, coupled by personal donations from Danielle Light and Lucas Donat, our RainCatcher Uganda project is well under way. Photos soon.

Our goal is a RainCatcher on every school in Uganda.

Thank you to all who share our vision.

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no need to fear the future – script

Children are confronted with a lot of concerns today that, frankly, I never had to deal with when I was a kid. Paul Simon wrote a song to comfort his daughter at bedtime. He sang: “I believe the light that shines on you will shine on you forever.” I believe the same thing – and my message to you today is this: The one resource we will never run out of is you – your imagination, your creativity, your wonder and hope.  Each new generation has specific challenges to face, but just remember this:

There are no unsolvable problems.

My father’s generation ate problems for breakfast. They built a road across the entire continent. When a giant canyon appeared in their path they did not whine or whimper – they invented a bridge. In every field of science and medicine and exploration, at the edge of every chasm, they built a bridge. This is your lineage . . . You will do the same. There is no limit to your imagination.
Many people will tell you there isn’t enough — that we’re running out, that things are getting worse, and the future will be less than today. This is not true.

Some people have forgotten that a problem is something to be solved, not feared. Have you heard the story about the truck that got stuck in a tunnel?. . . A big ‘ol truck was roaring towards New York City when it rammed into the Lincoln Tunnel at 70 miles per hour The truck was too tall and got very extremely stuck and the cars backed up for miles. You can imagine the traffic jam. The fire department showed up to help. Then the Army Corps of Engineers — along with many others. With cranes and saws and jackhammers all tried to get the truck unstuck from the tunnel. But to no avail. Finally, after several hours, an 8 year old girl walked up from the long line of cars and said,

“Why don’t you just let the air out of the tires?”

You are today – all kids all over the world — you are the brilliant ones who will say, “Why don’t you let the air out of the tires?” There are no unsolvable problems. Let me give an example: Every week we hear about the ‘World Water Shortage’ — yet alongside these stories we see photos of floods … What gives?

A friend of mine says, “If we catch the rain that creates the floods, there would be no water shortage, there would be more than enough for everyone. He’s always reminding me that “There isn’t a shortage of water given, just a shortage of water received.”
If every school caught the rain that fell on its roof, kids all around the world would have plenty of clean water to drink. It’s as simple as letting the air out of the tires.We are told there’s a shortage of water, but what we really have is an abundance . . . a flood. Enough water is freely given for all if we simply put a bucket under a rainstorm. And enough energy is freely given from the sun and the wind and the ocean and the earth.

You do not need to fear the future, you are the future.

And I see no limit to the creative ideas that will come to you in this lifetime. It is a great and exciting time to be alive and I believe “The light that shines on you today will shine on you forever.”  Let it rain . . . Life is good . . . So be it

* This is text of speech I wrote for the Youth Environmental Summit in Kobe, Japan, 2008. Dennis Haysbert delivered this keynote address. In gratitude, the Summit organizers donated funds to install rainwater harvesting systems on several schools in Western Kenya.