North Colonie Missionaries to Bring Proper Sanitation to South Colonie
By Scott Salad
Published April 19th, 2015
South Colonie's only water source—Sand Creek Road (©2015/The Albany Smudge)
COLONIE—Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
That's the motto for a group of North Colonie missionaries preparing to spend the next six months teaching the people of South Colonie how to build fresh-water, fully functional, communal latrines.
“The situation in South Colonie is dire,” said Kirby Plucker, head of The Unsullied Water Fund — a North Colonie charitable organization that brings clean water and sanitation to communities in need. “Their main water supply is a small pond off Sand Creek Road that fills each year during the rainy season. They drink from it. They bath in it. They relieve themselves in it. They even use it to wash their clothing and livestock. It's simply deplorable.”
Plucker, an empathetic North Colonie oligarch, said had it not been for a trip he and his family took to The Cheesecake Factory in Colonie Center last spring, his compulsion to help may not have felt so immediate.
“Afterward, I couldn't sleep at night,” he said, as a tear rolled down his cheek. “I was heartbroken.”
As a city planner with access to key resources, Plucker not only developed an ironclad plan of action, he also secured the necessary funding through a Kickstarter campaign.
But if you ask what he's most proud of, he'll tell you it’s the 17 Shaker High School students he recruited for the mission.
“Our goal was to find kids that take clean, running water and functioning sewage systems for granted. Kids oblivious to the strife and hardships just across the border. With that in mind, we believe this mission is just as important for North Colonie as it is for South Colonie.”
Timothy Benz, a 16-year-old sophomore — whose parents, upon learning he’d been closed out of North Colonie's various tennis and golf summer clinics, made him volunteer — said he's not sure what to expect.
“I know I'm going to see some bad things. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm prepared mentally. But I want to help… I think.”
As for the people in South Colonie, it seems not everyone has plans to welcome the do-gooders with open arms.
“We already have fresh running water here,” said resident Dug Hornmer. “We've had it for a hundred years. And we don't bath and shit in a communal pond. We have toilets and sewers. I can't believe I even have to say this. Damn, I hate North Colonie.”
Nonetheless, Plucker says his mission remains on point.
“It’s like Jesus Christ said in The New Testament: 'You saw me hungry and you gave me meat. You saw me thirsty and you gave me water.' I guess, in terms of the people in South Colonie, we saw them defecating in their water supply and now we'd like to build them a proper toilet.”