Information Book

About Wine To Water

Wine To Water’s US staff, although small in number, shares a huge passion for bringing clean water to folks in need. Our passion unites us and brings us joy as we work with our local partners on the ground. Wine To Water has worked in 25 countries and have provided clean water to over 600,000 people since our inception. We find it a privilege to currently work in 5 regions (The Amazon, Dominican Republic/Haiti, East Africa, Nepal and Cambodia) to support over 30 field staff on 4 continents, as we all work hard to fight this epidemic together.

Our Mission

Wine To Water is committed to serving in community to provide water to those in need.

What We Do

Each project is unique, but the common theme is that we use local people in each country. We develop leaders in the community and educate them on proper water and sanitation methods to promote sustainability. Our work empowers the local community to help them meet their ongoing needs.


in our work is ensuring that the proper type of water system is used for each specific community.

Our methods include shallow & deep wells, well repairs, ceramic water filters, bio-sand filters, Sawyer filters, and rain-water harvest tanks.

We also improve sanitation using latrine and hygiene education.

We use local materials whenever possible.

We monitor and report on all our projects.

We are constantly developing our programs and striving for more efficient systems.

We have water projects in 25 countries

Belize, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, United States, Vietnam, Zimbabwe

How We Began

Doc Hendley is the founder and international president of Wine To Water. In 2003 he dreamed up the concept of the organization while bartending and playing music in nightclubs around Raleigh, North Carolina. The first fundraiser was held in January of 2004 and by August of that year, Doc was living in Darfur, Sudan installing water systems for victims of the government supporting genocide. When Doc returned home in August of 2005, the haunting memories of what he had seen in Darfur drove him to continue building the organization he had started two years earlier.

In 2007, Wine To Water became an official 501(c)3 non-profit. In 2009, Doc and the work of the Wine To Water team was recognized by the CNN Heroes program, launching the organization’s efforts globally. Doc’s dream, and the goal of Wine To Water, is to quench the thirst of those in need.

The W|W team (missing Courtney Mattar, Emma Henry, and Doc Hendley)

Meet the Wine To Water Team:

Madi Barker

After interning as the Operations Intern during her final semester at Appalachian State University, Madi accepted the offer to come on board as the Development Manager. She works primarily to empower our professional chapters across the country to engage their communities in serving those in need. She is passionate about understanding others and finding ways to connect people’s strengths and skills to transform lives with clean water.

Katy Cook

Katy is a native to Boone, NC and graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Public Relations, Nonprofit Management. She first began volunteering with Wine To Water in high school and is one of our longest-serving supporters. With a passion to organize and create efficient systems, she came on staff in April 2015 as the Administrative Director.

David Cuthbert

David is a former Navy Special Operations Officer and currently serves as the CEO. He joined W|W in September 2014, inspired by its team and purpose to serve others. He loves to be a part of a team committed to doing something great.

Josh Elliott

Josh began volunteering with Wine To Water as a student in 2009. He started the first W|W student club at Appalachian State University. Today, he serves as the International Operations Director and ​insures that all ​of our ​projects ​are implemented in an empowering way. He is dedicated to building the Wine To Water community, sharing our story, helping folks in need, and riding his Harley as much as possible while doing it.

Jason English

Jason serves as the lead pastor of The Heart Church in Boone and is an instructor in Communications at Appalachian State University. He has a heart for people and reaching them right where they are while encouraging them to be who God created them to be. Aligning with his passions, Jason serves the staff of W|W with personal encouragement, biblical wisdom, and spiritual guidance.

Doc Hendley

As a student trying to find his calling, Doc learned about the global water crisis while balancing his studies with bar-tending in Raleigh, NC. Captured by the cause, he decided to take action the way he knew best: pouring drinks and playing music for a benefit event. After the surprisingly large success of his first event, Doc found himself in the heart of the Darfur war conflict in 2004 serving to provide water to those in desperate need.

Upon returning to the US, Wine To Water was born in Boone, NC. Since his initial efforts, Doc has traveled around the world helping combat the water crisis, impacting both our local communities and those abroad. He is relentless in his pursuit to ensure clean water to those in need.

Emma Henry

Emma started with Wine to Water in July of 2017 as the Volunteer Program Manager. She is originally from New Hampshire and moved to Boone in 2014 with her husband, Tom. For the past 7 years Emma has worked in both the corporate and non-profit world developing and implementing staff and volunteer trainings. She has experience in traveling both domestically and internationally to train staff and lead volunteer programs. Emma is very passionate about living in community and caring for the needs of others.

Shane Hillman

Shane started working with Wine To Water in the fall of 2015 as the Program Development Manager. In addition to helping maintain international operations, Shane is our personal chocolatier and loves making healthy, organic Community Well chocolate to raise funds for water projects.

Eric Huxley

Eric serves as the Director of Operations. Originally from California, Eric has lived and worked extensively throughout Central and South American and the Caribbean on various development and relief projects. He studied Geography and Development as an undergrad at the University of California at San Diego and later as a graduate student at the University of Arizona. He is passionate about serving in community to practically meet the needs of people throughout the world. Eric currently lives in Boone with his wife and two young daughters.

Courtney Mattar

While a student at Appalachian State University, Courtney began hosting small fundraisers for Wine To Water after witnessing the water crisis first hand in Ghana. Her passion to serve and help fight the water crisis led Courtney to start the W|W High Country Chapter in 2015 and now he serves as the Donor Relations Coordinator. Courtney resides in Boone with her husband and daughter.

Lisa Merritt

Lisa currently lives in Raleigh, NC and serves as the Director of Volunteer Programs. She has been coordinating volunteers internationally since 2005 and is passionate about connecting people to service opportunities around the world, while exposing them to the global water crisis.

Tina Owen

Tina has worked with incredible non-profits around the globe and in North Carolina. She recently volunteered in the Dominican Republic with Wine To Water for five months as part of a family sabbatical with her husband and three teenage children. Having lived in rural Africa, Central America, and the Dominican Republic; she is passionate about building partnerships and leveraging resources so together we can be part of community transformation in our own neighborhoods and around the world. She now serves as the Director of Grants and Fund Development for Wine To Water.

Matt Wagoner

Matt is originally from South Carolina, but moved to Boone after falling in love with his wife, Ashley. He loves outdoor activities, good food, and creating new things. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his new baby girl. He is the owner of Fire Tower Creative and came to Wine To Water to help capture stories that motivate change in the world.

The Global Water Crisis

Out of the 7.3 billion people on earth, 2.5 billion lack access to basic sanitation and 783 million lack access to clean water. Every 20 seconds a child dies of a waterborne illness and 443 million school days are lost each year from water related illnesses.

Since 2004, Wine To Water has provided over 600,000 people with access to clean water.


Motto: “Freedom and Order”

Capital: Bogota

Population: 44,379,598

Currency: Peso

Religion: Roman Catholic

Government Structure: Republic

Total GDP: $553.462 billion

Per Capita: $11,600

Official Language: Spanish

Popular Sports: Tejo

Staple Foods: Maize, cassava, legumes

Major Exports: Petroleum, coffee, coal

Major Imports: Industrial equipment, paper products, chemicals and fuels

Meet Wine To Water Colombia:

Jhonny Anderson, National Project Manager

Jhonny is passionate about music and is currently studying ethnomusicology. He loves to learn about different cultures and languages. He wants to share the need for clean water through his musical ability.

Gonzalo Jimenez, Project Manager

Gonzalo is passionate about God, learning languages, aviation, cinema, photography, Bible archeology and social work.


Day 1

PM: Fly to Bogota (BOG)

Day 2

AM: Team Orientation and Money Exchange
PM: Fly from Bogota (BOG) to Leticia (LET)

Day 3

PM: Trip Preparation: Loading Boat, Buying Food, Project Materials, etc…

Day 4

AM: Boat Trip to Village on Amazon River
PM: Set Up Camp/Intro to Village

Day 5

AM: Water Project/Service Activities
PM: Water Project/Service Activities

Day 6

AM: Water Project/Service Activities
PM: Water Project/Service Activities

Day 7

AM: Water Project/Service Activities
PM: Water Project/Service Activities

Day 8

AM: Pack Up, Return to Leticia
PM: Shopping and Dinner at Typical Restaurant

Day 9

AM: Fly from Leticia (LET) to Bogota (BOG)
PM: Tour throughout Bogota

Day 10

AM: Depart Bogota home

Frequently Asked Questions

What should a team pack?
Work clothes, face masks, shorts, warm jacket, toiletries, notebook, reusable water bottle, closed toed work shoes (tennis shoes are fine), sunscreen, towels, camera (optional), hat, sunglasses, flashlight/headlamp, personal medications, and passport.

What airport should we fly into?
Bogota, Colombia (BOG) then Aeropuerto Internacional Vasquez Cobo Airport in Leticia, Colombia (LET)

Is there an age requirement?
Individual: As an individual, you are required to be age 18 or older.
Group: Age requirements are dependent on the leader of the group. Keep in mind that Wine To Water requires anyone age 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult or guardian.

Is there a dress code?
Outdoor Service Activities: WOMEN & MEN, in order to be safe at the work site and for the outdoor activities, we require that you wear long pants and closed-toed shoes.
Swimming: WOMEN, we ask that you wear a t-shirt and shorts over your bathing suits and MEN, we ask that you wear shorts or long bathing suit shorts (No Speedos).

What are the living conditions like?
We have the exciting opportunity to experience the raw nature of the jungle. In this rustic environment, you will live like the natives: no air conditioning, no hot water, and no WiFi. Your sleeping arrangements will also be like the locals: you will be sleeping in hammocks or on a floor pad (if you can’t bear the hammocks).

Will a children’s program need to be prepared? If so, for how many children? What ages?
Yes! Prepare for the unkNown! Children’s programs can either be inside or outdoors, depending on what the “Rainforest” allows. Normally a village will have around 50 children of all ages. The children’s program can be around 1 hour or less. We encourage volunteers to be creative with instructive games, language songs, crafts, drama, etc.

Do we need a visa to enter the country?
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after entering the country. You do not need to apply for a visa upon entrance, but you will be given a tourist visa for 30–90 days for FREE at the airport’s immigration booth.

What vaccinations and medications are needed?
We recommend that you check with your doctor (ideally 4–6 weeks before departure) for any personal medications, letting them know where and when you will be traveling.

Required Vaccinations and Medications:
-Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine
-Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
-Hepatitis A and B
-Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis vaccine
-Malaria medicine (taken orally before, during, and after your trip)

Recommendations for other medications:
-Diarrhea/Stomach medication
-Anything for dehydration

In addition to the above, it is recommended by the CDC to also have:
-Polio Vaccine
-Yearly Flu Shot
-Hepatitis A and B
-Rabies Vaccine

What is the recommended group size? Is there a maximum or minimum number?
We can host anywhere between 6–20 volunteers, depending on what project or village is chosen. If we are strictly doing water projects, the maximum group size will be around 10. We can usually host around 20 volunteers for church groups wanting to do ministry alongside the water projects.

What is the weather like?
We recommend checking the weather online before you travel. Trips between August and November can reach temperatures up to 120 degrees! The average temperature is around 80 degrees. For a week in June each year, temperatures can reach as low as 40 degrees.

What will meals be like?
Since Leticia is on the border of Colombia, Brazil, and Peru, there will be a variety of typical foods to try. You can possibly have a meal from each country all in one day! Most of the meals contain chicken, yuccas, plantains, fish, farinha, and of course rice.

Will there be snacks to purchase?
We recommend bringing snacks from home as there will be very little to purchase in the villages.

Is there a way to contact home?
We encourage you to “unplug” as much as possible while serving on your volunteer trip. If internet is available, we ask you limit your time online so you can fully engage in your experience. Once leaving the city, you will be cutoff from the rest of the world. Site leaders will be able to contact home in case of emergencies but volunteers will have no communication available after leaving the city.

Are the electrical outlets the same as they are in the US?
Outlets in North America, Colombia and Brazil are 110 volts. In Peru the voltage is 220v. Even though the outlets are generally the same size (2-pronged) some appliances may “explode” if used with the inappropriate voltage. You can find you appliance’s voltage on the WARNING label. Please leave your hairdryers and curling irons at home.

What type of payments are accepted in country?
Please bring clean US dollars(not torn and no markings). Smaller bills ($20 or less) are preferred. Credit and Debit cards are accepted only in select locations, and there will be a small international fee for using an ATM. We do not recommend checks, travelers’ checks or money orders, as they are difficult to use.
The currency in Colombia is Pesos (COP) where the exchange rate is $1900 COP to $1 USD.
The currency in Peru is Soles. The exchange rate is s/2.75 to $1 USD.
The currency in Brazil is Real. The exchange rate is R$2 to $1 USD.

What can a team bring to donate?
Our ground team will send a wish list to Wine To Water periodically. For an updated list, please contact

Volunteer Opportunities

The Amazon is our most rustic and adventurous location for our volunteers to join our efforts of providing clean water. Once you land in the jungle, you will hop in a canoe and head up the river to a village to do water projects as well as community development. This could include: digging a well, repairing a broken well, teaching hygiene lessons, construction projects, etc. It’s a great way to dive straight into the culture as you sleep in a hammock each night and learn first-hand what it takes to build a well.

Contact Information

Wine To Water

Lisa Merritt
Director of Volunteer Programs
770.851.4132. (US Cell)

Emma Henry
Volunteer Programs Manager
603.667.7223 (US Cell)

David Cuthbert
President and CEO

Mission Inc./Agua & Vida

Hotel Shalom
Carrera 80b #24d 45 barrio Modelia
Bogota, Colombia
Tel +57 300.209.8880

Jhonny Anderson
National Program Manager
+57 313.882.5200

Gonzalo Jimenez
Technical Advisor
+57 312.312.8224

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