South Sudan


The village currently obtains its water from the Kwangayak River, approximately ¼- ½ mile from the village. During the beginning of the dry season they walk to the river to collect water. During the driest times of the season they often have to dig down into the river bed to obtain water. On this trip we dug only one well in one village. Due to the severe conditions of the soil, we ended up digging approximately 50+ feet deep, and dug for about 5 days. One of the immediate problems that we encountered was with the locking pins. They would not fit around the pipe sections/extensions; and we had to hammer them out a bit to get them to lock around the extensions. We had to do this for each locking pin. Much of the soil was very hard clay, hence the difficulty in digging. We did hit pockets of gravel, but a majority of the 50+ feet we dug was within hard clay. The clay was sticky enough the children began making figurines out of it. It took about 1½ – 2 hours to get each extension into the ground. While looking for supplies to build a pump, we were unable to find anything that could be used to build a valve; so we decided to build a rope pump. This particular trip had the least amount of resources available for making a pump. The bigger town had very few supplies or resources. We ended up using plastic coke bottles for reducers, weaving our own rope, using rubber tires for gaskets and caps, and bicycle parts for the pump wheel and handle. This trip truly tested our creativity, and taught us a lot on “making it work”. We had the children collect gravel for the filtering of the well. We also started making seals/caps for the well casing. The pvc did not have sealed caps, they had open top caps, so we used the rubber from the old tires to seal the pipes. We then started cutting the gaskets/washers that we used for the rope pump. One of the most common questions that we get when digging is if we can make the drill handle longer by using the extensions. On this trip we were able to show why we don’t do this. Unbeknownst to us, the villages did just that and when they pulled up the bit they found that it was twisted. There was too much torque, and thus twisted the bit. We use these pictures to show what happens when we try and extend the handle. It is very helpful in explaining to others on our various trips. Through the course of building the pump I drew various pictures of the well, its casing, the pump and its casing, and did my best to explain to several people how the system was put together and how it works. The pump was a success


Successfully dug a well

Trained locals on the importance and use of the well and pump system

Well 50+ feet deep

South Sudan 2011

Projects in this region

Well Digging, Training locals

Photo Gallery