Project Clean Drop

Project Rainbow Fire Storytelling Project Rainbow Fire

University of Applied Sciences Krems Austria

A short story authored by students and based on their academic research carried out for the bachelor paper no 1 in the bachelor program “Export-oriented Management” at University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria.   [~ 10-15 min]


The Unknown Feeling

Inside the forest, right after a glade where the sun has almost set above the water, still spreading some light between the tree trunks of the tropical forest, a breeze touches the crown of the large trees, almost whispering and creating goosebumps on one’s neck. Right there he stands, not matching this calming and satisfying scene of nature, but sweating, breathing heavily with the pure expression of fear on his face. Kev stares at the tree next to him, his body completely frozen and not moving.

He needs to breathe after this deadly race. All of a sudden, he hears the scary sound again, that sound that chased him into this situation. He rapidly turns his head around, but as the twilight has fallen onto the country, he cannot detect anything clearly any more. Again, he breathes deeply but as quietly as possible, cold sweat on his forehead, and trying to find his flashlight to get a better view. After a few minutes, Kev finds the flashlight, turns it on and immediately feels security returning. For the first time in so many hours, he stands straight and a slight smile starts touching the corners of his mouth, giving him back his confidence. He is Kev – “Conqueror of the classics,” as the Chinese translation says. As minutes passed, he finally feels safe again and his muscles start to relax.

“What was that?” he keeps asking himself. “What just chased me into the forest? I am sure that I have never heard a sound like this before! It must have been something terrifying!” As Kev starts to take the first steps in one direction, his thoughts continue. ”And by the way, where am I? I know that I have never seen this place before!” And that is true. Kev has managed to run into the forest on the other side of the campsite where he stayed the nights before. As he keeps walking, he realizes that during the night, it gets quite cold and due to the intense chase, Kev starts to freeze. So he puts on his jacket, observes his surroundings a little bit more and ends up with the strange feeling that he has gotten lost inside this forest.

“This just cannot be possible, can it? I completely got lost here and it is already night, so there’s no chance that I will find my way through this undergrowth now. I should probably pitch my tent, try to get some rest and continue tomorrow during daylight.” No sooner said than done, Kev pitches his tent and only 30 minutes later, he has already gotten a little cozy. Since he has had an exhausting day, his body suddenly lets him know that he has not had any water for a while, which makes him even more thirsty. As a clever guy, however, Kev, of course, would have never started his trip without bringing a bottle of water and so he grabs the bottle, lifts it out of his backpack and starts getting excited about a cold sip. As he lifts the bottle, the cold sweat on this forehead returns.

The bottle is empty! He does not have even a tiny bit of water left. The lid has been opened and during his escape sprint, he spilled all the water he’d brought. “How am I supposed to survive without any water?” is the first thought that comes to Kev’s mind, making him even thirstier than he already was. “I have not had any water all day long and will not get any soon,” he mumbles to himself. From his science class, he knew that a man could live without water for a few days, but sooner or later this body will start to dry out and – “Stop, I do not even want to think about that!” he forces himself to think.

Kev knows that he is currently inside a forest, there should be plenty of water. So he decides to leave the tent again to search for some water. After a few yards, his eyes start sparkling because he has found a puddle with water. “Ugh, this water looks toxic. I am not sure if I will survive this sip,” Kev thinks, but nevertheless, he starts filling his bottle with the dirty water. Back at his tent, he observes the water in more detail, assuming that the quality is horrible almost impossible to drink. Suddenly, he screams. The thing he sees scares him to death. A long, thorny maggot creeps along the back of his hand and starts to suck at his skin. In the almost same moment, he sees the same animal moving inside the bottle of water.

And there he lies, with his eyes wide open and stares at the ceiling of his room in Bayreuth, Germany. His heart seems to bump out of his chest and when looking at his armpits, one would assume Kev had just run a marathon. After a few seconds of paralysis, he starts to realize where he is and what had just happened. He had a dream, or rather, a nightmare, which felt outstandingly real.  So no scary animals, no being lost in a forest and the most importantly, no scarcity of drinking water! Kev immediately gets up, walks into the kitchen and takes a mouthful of clean cold water. “Uh, how wonderfully refreshing this is! I love it,” he thinks to himself and enjoys this moment for another few seconds before heading back to sleep.

The next morning, Kev gets up as usual around 8.30 a.m., and walks into the bathroom to start his daily routine. He turns on the water and while the water is running, a slightly oppressive feeling comes over him. “Right, I had this really weird dream last night. What a nightmare,” he thinks, almost laughing at himself while turning off the tap. This is Kev as he is – positive and energetic, caring and also attentive so nothing could ever drag him down. Kev studies media communication at the University in Bayreuth, working on his master’s degree and has already declared his love to three things in life: strawberry jam, surfing and photography.

Kev has always been passionate about strawberry jam and cannot live without it. Even when traveling, he always takes his jars with him. Almost like his surfboard. By being an ambitious person, he quickly learned how to surf and has always found himself planning the next major surfing trip sooner than expected. Back then, right after graduation from high school, Kev and his best friend Jonas, who he’s known since kindergarten, decided to travel and surf the world. During a longer stay in Adelaide, Australia, he ran into Marcel who immediately shared Kev’s passion for surfing. From that point, Kev knew that Jonas, Marcel and him would not spend money on anything other than doing what they love – surfing. Although Kev is a very optimistic person, there is one thing he does not like: cheese. He would rather starve than eat it. Surprisingly, during the past years as a student, he has started to eat cheese on top of his pizza but only melted. Though, this is still a very rare thing.

Today is Tuesday and he has class from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. After turning the first corner in the pouring rain, Kev suddenly sees an Arabic family joyfully standing in the rain with their hands held up to the sky. “There are so many weird people on this planet,” Kev thinks and mumbles “Hi” while passing by. “What a wonderful day. Allah has blessed this region with rain, the source of all living. Al-hamdu-lilah,” the father of the family replies with a foreign accent and waves at him. Kev, however, just gives them a smile, shakes his head slightly and continues walking. He would rather dance for some sun during this spring in Bayreuth.

The lecture today turns out to be as boring as expected, so Kev starts getting lost in his thoughts. “How happy this family was about the water…really strange. But… well, I could imagine myself in such a joy too if I would never have enough water for my daily needs…,” he thinks. And suddenly, the uncomfortable feeling comes back again and Kev’s stomach starts to contract. He has had this feeling quite a few times now, but as the lecture has come to an end, he ignores it.

On the way home, Kev walks into the supermarket to buy some groceries. As he stands in front of the water shelf to get some sparkling water for his roommate, Kev sees a poster that reads: “Save Water → Save Children” which includes a short article about the distribution of water throughout the world and the fact that about 783 million people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water, many in Indonesia. Kev remembers that he had seen a movie recently about the first world’s misuse of water that supports this statement. Like a radar, the unpleasant gut feeling turns up again for the third time. For the first time in his life, he feels uncomfortable buying water and starts thinking about his own water consumption.

His usual feeling toward water is positive, mostly from his love for surfing. But this time he thinks: “My shower today morning could have supplied water for three kids for a whole day…wow! That is insane. Next time, I will probably stick to what Einstein had said about efficient shower behavior. Basically, three minutes are enough to have a shower: One to make you wet, one to put on soap and one to wash it off. It’s crazy that we sometimes simply waste clean drinking water for half an hour or longer. People in areas that need water must think we are completely insane!” However, as he wants to be a good roommate, he gets the soda as well as some strawberry jam and heads home.

At home, he opens Google and starts browsing the web. Normally, he would look at some Youtube videos or the news but this time he types in one word: “Water.” Two hours later, he has visited a bunch of websites reading the shocking facts about how many people are forced to live without clean water. On one of the pages, he also read something about Mister Maslow, who defined water as the major need of human beings. “…and he is so freaking right…,” Kev thinks. “Without water, no life is can survive or could have ever been developed!”

Mister Maslow continues his theory by grouping human needs into several levels, defining water, food and clothes as the basic needs which need to be fulfilled first. Additionally, the next level of need can only be reached if the ones below are completely met. Consequently, if people are forced to live with water scarcity or drink dirty water, they are constantly lacking a basic need and meeting upcoming needs is even harder. “Wow, and what have I been complaining about the past days?” he asks himself. “Right, the lack of strawberry jam!” Kev says out loud, feeling ridiculous.

“Did you say anything?” his roommate asks all of sudden, pulling him out of his thoughts. “No, nothing,” Kev replies. “Uhm…actually yes,” he continues, “Have you ever worried about water?” he asks. “Not really, man. I mean, we have plenty here, so why worry about it?” his flatmate replies. Kev gets along with him pretty well overall, but this answer is exactly what Kev sometimes dislikes about him. Simply because you personally are not suffering from a problem does not mean that someone else is not. Like with the case of water right now. People in the first world have enough water to even flush their toilets with it, but in other regions, people suffer from a lack of it. “Aha”, Kev replies, ending the conversation, but his roommate does not seem to care much.

As a child Kev, developed several values which he has sworn to stick to forever. The biggest one is related to his name. When Kev was younger, many kids made fun of him because of his name – Kevin. Sometimes he got sick of suffering, so that he promised himself to never give someone else the feeling of being worth less than someone else. He never wants anyone to feel the way he felt. Kev has always been a changer and consequently, he simply has changed his name to Kev. Later, he discovered the impressive translation in the Chinese language as “Conqueror of the Classics,” adding value to his name and personality again. The water issue confronting him first in his dream and then throughout the entire day reminds him of the same feeling he’d known from his childhood. Hence, Kev wants to change the situation like he changed his name. He wants to change it for the better by doing good for everyone and he would not be him if he does not find a solution somehow.

An Idea Evolves

Project Clean Drop - Storytelling for Bachelor Paper Uni Krems AustriaSince that day, things have changed for Kev as he has spent many hours researching the issue of water scarcity. He has also thought a lot about his last trip to Indonesia to surf and travel for a year. When he thinks about it now, he realizes how present the water problem has been. Water in Indonesia can only be bought in bottles, resulting in huge amounts of plastic waste polluting the oceans and harming local flora and fauna.

One day Kev, discovers a website called Waves For Water (W4W), which is mentioned in his favorite surfing magazine, Prime Surfing. The company’s slogan immediately stands out to him: “Do what you love and help along the way!” This is what Kev has been looking for. The company combines surfing with adding value to local societies. W4W works on the front line to provide communities with clean drinking water. It has developed filters which clean water of up to 99.9% of bacteria, including A. Cholera, Typhus, E. Coli, Streptococcus and Salmonella. “This is awesome!” Kev thinks and immediately wants to tell his roommate about it. But then he remembered their last conversation and decides not to tell him. Instead, he will tell his best friends Jonas and Marcel. “They will freak out when I tell them about it,” he says to himself excitedly.

No sooner said than done. Since the three are not studying in the same city, they arrange a Skype meeting on a Saturday afternoon and Kev starts telling them his story. As expected, the two friends are equally excited and totally understand Kev’s point. “You know what guys? We should start our own little project and combine it with our next surfing trip! I mean, we go surfing anyway and with W4W, we can become “Clean Water Couriers” and contribute to the well-being of the locals. Wouldn’t that be great?” he asks them.

“I would totally be in,” Marcel replies and Jonas also seems pretty excited about it. Jonas is usually the most relaxed one. He studies sports, so surfing and tennis are his passion. But he also loves to eat, though at a very low pace. Marcel however, studies social work he always cares about his fellow men and can be described as sensitive, reliable and caring. His hobby is traveling, hence he constantly aims to earn money so that he can head off for his next trip. In addition, Marcel is the musically inclined member of the group, and played in a band once. It has only taken three hours to establish the idea for the project they dub CleanDrop. CleanDrop involves three excited and ambitious German students who love to surf and want to support the local supply of clean water by spreading filters throughout the communities. Although the three have already started to plan their next surf trip to Indonesia weeks ago, they now see it from a new perspective.

Over the next weeks, they hold Skype meetings on a regular basis, figuring out what to do. Kev even found another great opportunity by including a movie in CleanDrop. Since he studies media communications, he has always dreamed about making his own movie and this seems like a great chance to do so. One evening, Kev sits in front of his PC writing down the core information for CleanDrop. The trip will last for 30 days starting in September. They will travel to Indonesia, spreading some 30 filter systems which supply about 3000 people with clean drinking water for more than five years.

Since each filter system, however, costs money and none of the guys has a regular job yet, Kev has figured out a way they can finance the filters through crowdfunding. With crowdfunding, projects like CleanDrop are presented and whoever wants to do good can do so by donating. So he created a video for which will convince people to support them. For the next few months, Kev and his two best friends start to look for altruists who are willing to change the world but do not expect anything in return, because that is what altruists do. “Listen, acting altruistic not only helps others, but also adds value to your life because aren’t two people happier than just one alone?” Kev asks to motivate people to his altruistic movement through donation and in the end, the three have been successful.

The Trip

Tomorrow is the day. Kev, Jonas and Marcel are excited for their upcoming adventure in Indonesia. Throughout the past three months, they have organized and discussed in Lueneburg, Cologne and Munich for hours to develop a structure of their trip. The financing of the filters through the crowdfunding campaign finally succeeded, although they had trouble at the beginning. In the end, the interviews and the Facebook sweepstakes they offered led them to success.

Project Clean Drop - Storytelling for Bachelor Paper Uni Krems AustriaWith their surfboards, backpacks, camera equipment and another bag full of filters, the three of them arrive at the airport and start their project, not exactly knowing what awaits them over the next weeks. “So, let’s get the party started”, Kev says to his mates and checks-in his luggage. It is the 9th of September 2015 and they are just about to board the airplane. The next time they touch the ground, they are surrounded by Balinese, sun and nice weather.

Fourteen hours later, they arrive in Bali, representing their base. From here. Kev has planned to head off to spread the filters. They spend first six days in Bali settling and finalizing the upcoming steps. During these days, Kev has a lot of contact with his former friend Koyo, who also plays an essential role in distributing the filters. Koyo is a relaxed guy. He owns his own surf business in Bali and generally cares a lot about the Balinese culture and its people. That is why he is so passionate about CleanDrop and immediately supports the guys. Kev knows that neither of them can speak the local language, which is a huge communication barrier. With Koyo, however, this can be easily overcome since he speaks English as well as the local languages.

On the first day Kev, Jonas and Marcel meet Koyo at his surf business and show him the filters in person. As they continue talking Koyo, suddenly stops and says: “Boys, do you know what? I recently heard from my former school that they are suffering from a scarcity of drinking water for their kids. Don’t you think it would be cool to install some of the first filters there? The school is about half an hour away from Canggu in the village where I grew up!” “This sounds like a great chance to getting started, I would say, yes!” Kev replies enthusiastically. Also Marcel and Jonas get excited and start preparing the equipment.

Two days later, they drive to the little village where the school is located. Since Koyo has informed the principal about the project and that they would arrive, the teachers and pupils have been awaiting them impatiently. At first, of course, the principal himself wants to know everything about the filters, so Kev explains how they function and that they can solve major problems. It does not take him long to see the benefits of the filters, also because Koyo is translating and being passionate about it. So they decide to install two filter systems.

As Kev believes that ‘learning by doing’ is the best way to teach kids, he asks everyone to participate in the process. Immediately, pupils and teachers gather in the schoolyard and curiously watch Kev installing the first of two filters. “It is super easy. There only needs to be some water pressure from above and the filters will do the rest,” Kev explains to the English teacher. She is the first one to try and after some concerns, she seems very excited about it. She starts explaining to her English class what the difference between the dirty water from the well and the filtered water is. At first, the kids cannot believe that the water is drinkable, but shortly after, they try it themselves and love it.

From the cradle on, they have been taught to never drink water except from a plastic bottle or a boiled pot, so this situation is completely new to them. “Very good,” one of the kids says and smiles at Kev. “And this is what we are here for,” Kev says to Marcel, who stands next to him. “Nothing else in the world can give you this kind of happiness – except surfing, of course”, he adds laughing while punching Marcel’s upper arm. “What a successful day!” Koyo interjects, giving everyone a high five. “Thanks guys, I really appreciate it!” he adds.

Back at the base, everyone gets some rest and then looks at the film material Kev has taken throughout the day. Some kids’ eyes show the brightest sparkle they have ever seen. Almost like Kev, when he had got the new PlayStation for Christmas as a kid. Except for the fact that they are talking about water, a necessity. “Scary”, he thinks but as he continues watching, he can hardly believe that doing good could satisfy him that much. Although he must admit that he is already looking forward to their next trip to the jungle, he loves the good they do with the filters.

Project Clean Drop - Storytelling for Bachelor Paper Uni Krems AustriaThe next four days the guys are in Java, an island situated in the north-eastern part of Bali. It will demand passion and confidence from all three of them. No, not for convincing strangers of the filter system, but for believing in their own skills when mastering the waves. Next to the place where they are staying, Maruf, also called Mister Rasta, lives together with his wife. Kev knows him from his first trip to Indonesia, since the region is very famous for its waves.

“Mr. Rasta, nice to see you again! How is it going?” Kev asks Maruf while doing their bro-handshake. “Good, my friend, good! Great that you are here. Come on in!” Maruf replies. During that evening, the guys tell him about their filter project and Maruf immediately supports them by showing what life means without easy access to clean water. He has a well in his garden, but as the quality is very bad he and his wife always need to boil it first before drinking. Without hesitation, Kev grabs one filter hands it over to Maruf and says: “Here my friend. Take this filter and finally enjoy clean drinking water. At least there are three water couriers in your house!”. “Thank you, man. This is awesome!” Maruf replies gratefully while hugging them.

“Look at these waves!” Jonas shouts the next morning, almost ripping off his shirt while grabbing his surfboard. “Go, and get ‘em,” Kev replies, still unpacking the camera equipment to get some awesome footage for his film. The sun has just risen and Jonas is already heading towards the waves. Jonas usually tends to be a little slower in action which is why the others lovingly call him ‘Senior’ but when he sees waves, Jonas always goes crazy.

Suddenly Marcel shouts from a little afar: “Hey Kev, look at this!” Kev walks towards him and sees what Marcel is looking at. “Why are humans such mucky pups, Kev?! Do you understand?” Marcel asks, a little annoyed, “I mean, look at this great nature, the beach, the animals and then there are about one million flip-flops and plastic bottles lying around here! Ugh…” he adds and starts to collect the waste. “I have no idea, Marcel. Actually this is what I have been asking myself as well. And look at that! This cannot be waste from the local area. It must have traveled thousands of miles through the ocean. Maruf told me that although the government would have the money to put up bins, they are not doing so, which then results in this litter we see here.”

“That sucks,” Kev replies, while picking up an empty bag of potato chips. “Kev,” Marcel says, “we are not only doing something good here in Indonesia – we are doing something necessary.” and walks back to his surfboard. “I know Marcel, I know,” Kev mumbles. During the days in the jungle, Kev has been able to gather great movie material – surfers, animals, landscapes and locals. Together with the borrowed camera drone, he will be able to do even more good back home in Germany when he creates a spectacular movie that will force people to think bigger.

During the upcoming four days, back at their base in Bali, the guys start focusing on their core trip to Mentawais where they will distribute the majority of the filters. Mentawais is a group of islands about 1,300 miles North West from Bali which is still known for its wild and natural landscapes. Together with their surfboards and the filters, they wait in line to do the check-in at Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali. Kev is last to check-in the bag with the filters. At first it seems that the flight attendant does not permit him to check-in this bag, but after Jonas and Kev explained the purpose of their project and what they are aiming to do, the Lion Air Group offers them free extra luggage. “Awesome! There are still people on this planet caring about others!” Kev shouts at his mates, showing them a peace sign with his fingers and they just have to laugh.

Two flights and at least a 10 hour bus ride later, they arrive at the surf camp in Mentawais. “I am starving,” Kev says and points at some place which looks like a little restaurant. So the three head in and order food. Normally, none of them minds spicy food, but this dish takes spiciness to the next level. Even Kev, who normally tends to like hot food reaches his limits. “What a hot welcome,” Marcel says, while laughing at Kev’s face. “They must be really excited about us being here”, Jonas replies, laughing as well, “And from Kev’s face, this delight seems to be mutual,” he adds, enjoying himself. “Be quiet, Jonas,” Kev replies, “I would be more excited about some strawberry jam right now,” he adds making, all three of them laugh.

Although they are excited about the next days, one thing spoils their joy. Shortly before they took off to Mentawais, they have received the message that their contact person in Mentawais is no longer there to help them. This has hit everybody very hard since they counted on the support. “What a bloody mess! This cannot be true…we will be lost!” Kev curses for an entire evening. Fortunately, however, their friend Koyo has stepped in to support them the best he can. Marcel suddenly interrupts them saying, “Look guys, we have come all the way from Germany to fulfill this project, to do good. I know it will be harder handling it without our buddy here, but look, we have got a surfer guy from the camp and Koyo. So somehow we will handle this!” The other two nod and agree.

At around 8 a.m. the next morning, they begin their trip. Since the filter systems need a bucket to be installed, they first stop at a local market to buy some. Luckily, they find a guy from the local surf camp to support them. This guy shows them his boat, the only means of transport in the area, and starts loading all the luggage. As they go to Pei Pei, an isolated village on the island Siberut in west Sumatra, they are very grateful that someone takes them there. For some hours, they drive through the swamp land until they finally arrive at a beautiful beach.

“This is literally off the grid. Look at this, the people here only get their daily supplies carried by a ferry once a week. Imagine, things such as clean water or electricity, we take for granted, no one here has them available,” Kev says while unloading the boat. The place they stay for the next 12 days is a nice wooden hut offering two hammocks for three people. “First come, first serve,” Jonas shouts and jumps into one of them. As noted, sometimes Senior can be fast, as well. Kev starts laughing and thinks, “We are an awesome bunch.” Thanks to the guy from the surf camp, they will meet the mayor of Pei Pei tomorrow to tell him about the filter system but now they need to get some rest.

The mayor looks at them skeptically and is not yet convinced about the filters. Kev knows that he first needs to see how they work in order to be completely sure. So Kev demonstrates. “And then the water is clean!” he finishes his presentation and as he offers the mayor a glass to taste, he refuses until a nurse from the local hospital takes a little sip. As the nurse happily agrees that the water tastes great, the mayor asks for another full glass and tries it himself. One moment later, a little smile shows up on his face. Soon, the glass is empty and the mayor shows excitement about these little filters. “For emergencies such as tsunamis or earthquakes, we always store some medicine and first aid in a little hut in the mountains. We will definitely include some of the filters in these emergency packs. They can save lives – you will save lives! What a blessing, thank you”, the mayor replies gratefully. Part one of the mission in Mentawais has been successful and on Monday, they will meet at a local school to show the younger generation these life-changing tools.

Project Clean Drop - Storytelling for Bachelor Paper Uni Krems Austria

The school is situated in the middle of nature, emphasizing that kids here grow up in completely different surroundings than kids in Germany. When Kev sees it, he immediately gets flashed back to his child memories where he always imagined himself attending an outdoor school. When they enter the building, they are warmly welcomed by the principal, some teachers and a horde of pupils staring at them with expectations. This time, Marcel presents the filters to the principal and demonstrates how they function. Meanwhile, Kev starts talking to the kids. They offer him and Jonas some paintings they have made for the three foreign guys. Everybody seems super excited about the project and the kids wait impatiently for the show to start.

Everyone except one little boy standing a little bit offside of the crowd. When Kev looks at him, he instantly turns his head away while hiding some drawing behind his back. As Kev walks over to him, the boy turns around and pretends to walk away. “These kids,” Kev thinks and at that moment, he sees Marcel coming out of the building with his thumbs up. As the guys again want to get as many people involved in the demonstration, they split up in smaller groups and make people apply the filters by themselves. In Kev’s group, the little boy suddenly appears again, constantly looking at him, but when Kev meets his glance, he shyly looks away, still hiding his drawing behind his back.

Only shortly after, Kev hands the filter over to one teacher and she starts teaching the kids how to apply them themselves. While the woman is talking, Kev walks over to the little boy who, this time, does not walk away. “Hey, so who are you?” Kev asks kindly while crouching down to him. The kid does not respond but slowly starts handing him the drawing. Kev smiles and takes the picture to look at it but what he sees gives him that uncomfortable feeling again. For the next few minutes, he is just looking at the drawing feeling deeply touched. What he sees is a bunch of kids and since they all wear the same uniform, they are likely to be the pupils of that school. Also, when Kev turns his head to the school, he has to admit that the kid has done a great job drawing it. The kids in the picture stand in front of the school laughing and enjoying themselves.

However, they are all pointing their finger into one direction at the boy. Right in the corner of the building there stands a boy, small and painted in gray. One can see that he is crying due to tears on his face which are painted largely. “Is that you hiding in the corner?” Kev asks the little boy and puts his hand on his shoulder. The boy nods and at that very moment, two other boys come from behind pushing the boy to the floor. He stands up again, unimpressed. To Kev, it looks like the boy is used to being bullied. “So, what is your name, young man?” Kev asks. “I am Kevayo,” he replies, crying. “Nice to meet you Kevayo. Tell me, what is the painting you gave me about?” Kev probes. “They hate me because they hate my name, so I hate my name, too. I am never part of the group playing outside. They make fun of my name all the time! I hate the name Kevayo!” Kevayo replies, looking down to the floor.

Although Kev needs to grin quietly to himself, he answers calmly, “Look Kevayo, I believe this is an awesome name and think about it! Two people who love you more than anything else have given you this name to carry proudly. Never let people throw dirt on that name. But listen, Kevayo I will tell you something but promise not to tell anyone else,” Kev continues and twinkles at the boy. The boy opens his eyes and listens carefully to what Kev says. “When I was a young man like you, people made fun of my name, too – Kevin. No one has seemed to like my name, so I have started disliking it too. Until the point where I discovered a short form with a great meaning – Kev! And do you know what Kev means in the Chinese language? Right, ‘Conqueror of the classics’.”

Kev is not sure if the kid fully understands, but he continues. “So you can be called Kev – conqueror of the classics,” Kev says to Kev junior, who looked at him with a little smile and a thumbs up. “Oh, wait and do you know what? I always carry the Chinese symbol for the name with me to remind me of the true meaning of my name,” Kev adds, reaching into his pocket and giving the kid his lucky charm. The boy takes it and although he is still shy, folds his hands around it and quietly replies, “Thank you.”

As the kid starts to head off, Kev pulls him back one more time. “Oh and Kev junior, remember”, Kev says, “whenever you feel bad, try to turn it into something beautiful and have passion. Go out there and help others while you love what you do! It makes you happier than you would ever think.” Kev finishes his sentence, though the kid has already left to show another boy the lucky charm. “What an amazing project,” Kev thinks to himself and walks back to the group. Right now he does not know the extent to which he has changed the boy’s life through becoming a role model for him, but one day he should receive his lucky charm back with a lot of gratitude and passion.

By the end of that day, the kids are excited about the filters and teachers as well as the principal express of gratitude. After a huge round of high-fives with everyone, they drive back to the hut. “What a week,” Kev thinks, “and in addition to all the joy, the fun, the surfing and the nature, I have been able to gather some great footage for my movie. Awesome!”

It is the 1st of October and Kev, Marcel and Jonas have successfully distributed all of the filters, giving young and old generations new perspectives. Now it is time for them to go home as they have completed their project. The guys have faced situations of all kinds, expanding their horizons even more than they have expected. From fun situations with locals and stress from a loss of a contact person or Jonas almost cutting off his finger on the razor sharp reefs, a car breakdown, communication difficulties and much more. In the end, they have faced everything successfully and leave the island with great memories, awesome footage and a great overall impression.

Back at home

Almost six months have passed since the three returned from their trip. By now, each one of them has settled in again. Only Kev is still working passionately on his film. The three  meet on a regular basis to discuss CleanDrop topics and to marvel at the movie. “Filters For Good – how does that sound to you, guys?” Kev asks during one of their meetings. “I would say it hits the nail right on the head, Kev,” Marcel replies and Jonas does not see the need to add anything. During another meeting, they decide to hold the premiere of their movie at the end of April, 2016 and their first location would be the Traumpalast in Biberach in Baden-Württemberg where Marcel studies.

At 8:45 pm on Friday, the 29th of April, 2016 the time has come to show their movie Filters For Good to the public for the first time. The days before the premiere, the guys advertised their movie in various places. Jonas has also suggested a Q&A session after the movie to add an even more personal note to the film. “Look, all seats are taken. I think we have sold all the tickets – awesome! I cannot believe it,” Kev whispers to Marcel and Jonas while hiding behind the movie screen. The three perform their secret handshake and start welcoming the audience to the premiere of the film.

There’s a standing ovation from a cheering audience. The movie presenting their project CleanDrop is a success and Kev is proud of the work his friends and he have done. Also, the Q&A discussion afterward Filters For Good  is successful. They immediately get invited to the Skate & Surf Festival in Hamburg and Cologne as well as the ADH Open in Seignosse in France to show the movie. Since Kev always aims to do the ‘most good’, he donates the sales of snacks and drinks from the premiere in Lueneburg to the company Viva con Agua in Lueneburg, closing his personal cycle of altruism.

About one year ago, Kev set out to do something good. He has wanted to change a situation and give back to people while still doing what he loves. He has done so and has succeeded, even reaching the people back in Germany with his passion. Kev has created a ripple effect – he makes waves.

The Authors On Their Academic Research

The idea of fulfilling Maslow’s need pyramid through individual altruism on the example of the project Clean Drop


Bayreuth is the name of the city in Germany where Kev lives. Kev studies media studies and personally has three core passions:  filming, surfing and strawberry jam. In every minute of his free time he is either starting a new movie or travelling to exotic places where he would self-indulgently enjoy a jar of strawberry jam when not riding the waves. One day, after a marked moment he decides to leave Germany for a few weeks to help people in need. But how can he help and where is help needed the most? Kev and his two best friends Marcel and Jonas decide that Indonesia is a place where people can use a helping hand especially because of the local scarcity of clean drinking water. So the three decide to go there and distribute filters to the locals, bring back hope and excitement to sometimes hopeless situations. At the beginning, Kev and his partners cannot even imagine what special people they will meet during their project journey Clean Drop and what great support they will get for their movie Filters for good back in Germany.

Summary scientific part

As famous psychologist Abraham Maslow already presented with his Hierarchy of Needs every human wants to fulfill personal needs. They start with the basic ones of water and nutrition and continue up to the highest needs of self-actualization and self-transcendence.  When a lesser developed country’s population cannot even manage to fulfill their basic needs they will never be able to rise to higher levels.  Here, the term of altruism comes into play. According to Webster Dictionary, altruism is defined as “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others” meaning that an individual does the most good to others without any personal profit. Coming back to Maslow these altruistic people reach their highest fulfillment of self-transcendence by increasing other’s welfare out of a personal and intrinsic motivation.

Author’s statement

During the writing of our story we continuously felt two intensive feelings: Appreciation and personal guilt. Appreciation on the one hand for the unselfishness of Kevin and his friends and how they aimed to do better than the rest of us by supplying the basic needs for fellow people. Personal guilt on the other hand overwhelmed us from time to time when we realized how simple and unimportant some of our issues are although we hardly ever lack anything. The last feeling we also wanted to express, especially after knowing more about the project, was gratitude for what the three did, and for the crowd that supported them.

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