I arrived home to my wife’s suspicious question: “Do you want to eat Ethiopian tonight?” She was up to something.

An hour later, we pulled up to a house on the outskirts of West Olympia. In the woods. For a gathering of people we had never heard of before that afternoon: the people of Friendly Water for the World. David Albert, the chairman of the board of Friendly Water welcomed us as if he knew we would always be friends.

And friends were everywhere, in every sense. Many of the people involved are Quakers. But that wasn’t central to the evening: the work and the food were.

The work is the dissemination of BioSand water filters. These filters can clean truly filthy water inexpensively, with materials mostly available to communities around the world for whom clean drinking water is a serious problem. My wife, Ashley, has had a longstanding interest in the aid of African (and especially Ugandan) communities in need. This is why she’d contacted David Albert and why we found ourselves getting a crash course in BioSand filtration over Ethiopian food.

The food was prepared by Abraham Bezabeh, who was visiting from Ethiopia to give the keynote address at the Friendly Water fundraiser that weekend. The food was amazing. I have no idea what it was. The beef stew was incredible, and everything&emdash;the many sauces and vegetables, many savory, some sweet, most spicy&emdash;was served over a neutral, thin torilla-like sponge that soaked-in the juices.

Over dinner, we discussed water projects and possible student projects with Saint Martin’s engineering students. I believe this is a great organization doing work in like kind. I look forward to working with them in the future.

Abraham Bezabeh Abrahm Bezabeh: man with a great smile, keynote speaker, BioSander, chef.