In Zimbabwe, the village we went to had just had a fire sweep through the land within the past few days, which made for even more extremely dry conditions. Their river was dried up when we were there but does flow at certain times of the year. They currently had access to a vehicle so they are able to drive the long distance to collect many jugs of water at a time. They also have a small well, about 27 feet deep, in which they can get some water. The water is contaminated, though and the well has a slow recharge rate. After numerous unsuccessful attempts at digging a new well (which included the tripod percussion method and a molotav cocktail), we decided to put our efforts into improving the condition of their existing well. We pumped it dry (carefully ensuring to salvage the water), and took turns having someone climb to the bottom of the well to dig it deeper. Several of us took a turn at the bottom of the well. We were unable to use the hand-drill kit, and had to resort to picks, chisels, and iron bars. We would then scoop up what we had managed to chip away and send it up the well in a bucket. We dug away at least another 3 feet. We hope this helps with the cleanliness of the water and with the recharge rate.
In Mozambique, the river, which was almost 2 miles away, was their main source of water. They did have a small spigot in the village, but it is contaminated, as the pigs, goats, sheep, and people use it. We met with the Chief of the village and he showed us where he wanted the well. We had several villagers dedicated to helping us with this entire project. The soils was fairly easy to dig through, as it was some of the river soils that was washed onto the floodplain from the big river flooding that they just had. We were able to dig a well at approximately 42 feet. We taught them how to dig the well; make screens on the casing; case the well; and build a simple pump. After the first failed attempt at casing, the pvc kept getting caught on the walls of the well, we pulled it all back up and tried again. We reamed out the well, shaving the sides of the wall straighter and were able to put the casing down with no problems. We build the pump and put it down the well, only to find that there was not enough pressure when pumping due to the significant size difference of the external and internal piping. We rectified that by building a thick rubber donut piston, with large plastic washers that took up the excess space and created good suction.
After retrofitting the internal pump, it ended up working beautifully. There was great suction, excellent recharge, and lots of water. It was a record trip: three days to dig, case, and build a working pump. We taught them every aspect of this project. We knew that we had taught them well when we found out that they taught another missionary how to use our equipment. And they were able to explain to her what we did and how we did it. This gives us great hope that they will continue putting wells in and around this village
Fire hit the village, causing major problems with dryness
River dried up
Successfully dug wells
Zimbabwe/Mozambique, September 2013
Well Digging, borehole training, hygiene training, Soap Making Teaching, New Technologies Introduced, Medical Clinic Assistance, Drill Training
Hydromissions partnered with Build the Nations (BTN) on this particular trip. Our goal was to help improve the water situation in a village in Zimbabwe and in Mozambique. The “base” of BTN was in South Africa; and that is where we prepared for the trips to each country
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
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