Common Reading Program

Wine to Water (2013 - 2014)


Students holding book - No Turning Back by Bryan Anderson About the Book

Wine to Water

In 2003, Dickson “Doc” Hendley was like most American college students and just having fun. Yet, he remembers “a sinking feeling in my stomach, like I should be doing something better with my life” (p. 27). Within months, the college senior and popular bartender launched an organization that has already improved—and saved—thousands of lives in more than nine countries around the globe.

Despite being the son of a preacher, Doc doesn’t fit the Good Samaritan stereotype. Self-described as “rough around the edges” and tattooed, Doc took an early dislike to rules and developed a taste for whiskey and Harleys while still a teen. As his college graduation neared, Doc began to dread the prospect of life “in a cubicle” (p. 27).

By chance, Doc learned about an international aid organization named Samaritan’s Purse and began brainstorming ways that he could help the world’s needy. That night he woke up from his sleep with the words “wine to water” spinning around in his head.

Doc hit the Internet and learned that “unclean water kills a child every twenty seconds—it’s more lethal than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined” (p. 30). He immediately began drawing on his connections to host a party benefiting clean water initiatives. Within a month, he’d raised twelve thousand dollars.

Suddenly, Doc had to decide where it should go. “I never wanted Wine to Water to be like one of those bullshit nonprofits that used the majority of the donations to pay staff” (p. 37). After talking to a Samaritan’s Purse director, he unexpectedly walked out with a twelve-month job assignment in Darfur—and the authority to distribute the money where he felt it was needed most.

Nothing could prepare Doc for what awaited him. He had flown from verdant North Carolina into a barren desert landscape where average daytime temperatures hit 120-degrees and government-sponsored Janjaweed soldiers had already killed a hundred thousand civilians and displaced more than a million more.

While Doc had fantasized about “instantly morphing into some superhero water savior” (p. 55), the reality was infinitely more complex. But as inexperienced as he was in some ways, Doc knew a lot about human nature: “It’s not so much about how good and fast you are at making a Fuzzy Navel; it’s about developing a good relationship with the people sitting in front of you at the bar” (p. 111).

So whether he was hiring staff, placating soldiers, or declining proffered brides, Doc tactfully negotiated an unfamiliar culture to do his real work. Slowly, Doc began repairing wells, installing water bladders, and teaching the locals how to maintain them—sometimes while the bullets were being aimed at him.

In plainspoken and impassioned prose, Wine to Water shares the story of Doc’s unlikely transformation from a rough-and-tumble bartender to CNN Hero. As informative as it is harrowing and inspiring, Doc’s account of our global water crisis and his continuing quest to provide stricken peoples with clean water resoundingly proves that one man is capable of changing the world.
-Penguin.com


Dickson "Doc" Hendley at FIU

Reviews
“Whether he is describing being shot at by the Janjaweed militia; the dedication of his who co-workers who pray five times a day; how to dig a grave in the desert; or children’s excitement when a well starts pumping out water, he illuminates the facts of the crises in a very human way. Hendley’s humanitarian work in Africa (and Haiti, where he headed after the 2010 earthquake) is inspiring, especially considering how many lives he has influenced despite how little he knew about water problems before he started. At the core, however, is the story of Hendley himself: a coming-of-age tale about a young man who as a teen rebelled against his “preacher man” dad to become “the life of the party” only to figure out that he “didn’t have to be a perfect do-gooder to actually do some good in this world.” – Publishers Weekly


Students holding book - No Turning Back by Bryan Anderson

About the Author
In 2003 Doc Hendley dreamed up the concept of Wine To Water while bartending and playing music in nightclubs around Raleigh, North Carolina. In January of 2004 he held his first fundraiser and by August was living in Darfur, Sudan installing water systems for victims of the government-supported genocide.

When Doc returned home in 2005, the haunting memories of what he had seen in Darfur drove him to continue growing the organization he had started only two years earlier. And in 2007, after working two jobs and volunteering his time for over three years, Wine To Water became an official 501 (c)(3) and Doc's dream finally became a reality.

Hendley's work aims to help the 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack access to clean water, a figure estimated by the World Health Organization. Nearly two-thirds of that group lives in Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, 42 percent of the population lives without yard taps, household connections or other improvements to sanitize water. Unclean water is the number one killer of children in the world. Water borne illnesses kill far more children the HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined. Every 15 seconds a child dies from unclean water.

Doc Hendley was named one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes for 2009 (chosen by a panel of judges including Gen. Colin Powell, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Turner and Sir Elton John).


Interviews/Media



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Author Visits

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 
Adam Braun speaks at MMC
GC Ballrooms
12:00PM – 1:00PM
(book signing to follow)

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Adam Braun speaks at BBC
WUC Ballroom 
2:00PM – 3:00PM
(book signing to follow)


Contact Information

BBC AC1 180 
3000 NE 151 Street
North Miami, FL  33181

Valerie Morgan
+1 (305) 919 - 5754
morganv@fiu.edu
Map Location