On this particular trip we ended up drilling two wells: one in the village of Gnonene, and one in the village of Badd. We ended up building two different external pump mechanisms and then coming up with a third (cheaper and simpler) design before we left. There were several abandoned wells throughout the area, but the people won’t use them because they say the water is “salty.”
To get fresh, potable water, the villagers have to walk about a mile and carry it back by themselves or get a horse and cart to bring it back to the village. They have several wells around, but they don’t know how to safely and efficiently dig wells and get the water out. They use shovels to dig; therefore their wells are very large holes (large enough to get a couple of men in them) that take a lot of time and energy to dig. They use buckets tied to the end of sticks to retrieve the water. Our village contact was Pastor John Benoit. He had established a relationship prior to us arriving, and worked out all the details (ownership of the wells, expectations, maintenance, volunteers, etc.). This was key to our success. They were fairly knowledgeable about contamination issues, thus selected a site far from typical contaminations. Four young men were selected to be “leaders” of the wells, and were tasked with learning the process and procedures, and taking care of them for the village. It took us one day to dig the well. We dug from 900 am to 600 pm and cased the well at 32+ feet.
We had several of the villagers dig the well and several cutting the screens in the casing and put together the pump. We had them rotate through so that many of them would learn each of the processes. We then spent the entire next day cutting, welding, and piecing together the external pump. We were able to test it at the site that night, identifying issues that would need addressing the next day. The following day we started digging the well at the second village. The next day we went back to the first site and worked out fixing the issues. We spent the whole day trouble-shooting issues; from clogged valves, to leaks in the pump, to bending handle on the pump. It was a very educational experience. The second village had an established Nazarene church. The church building was not complete yet, but had a couple of storage rooms for all the well supplies to be kept. Not only would the water serve the village, but it would serve this church, as well.
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