4 Wells in one day!
Today we set out to refurbish 4 wells in a single day. We will try to do this by working two wells at one time. All the wells are in the same general area so there is no great distance involved. Another advantage is that all of the pipes and rods etc. have already been pulled from the well.
So…off we go!
Community well at catholic church
The first well we tackled was a community well located on the edge of a Catholic church compound. Our practice has become that we will “rebuild” the pump cylinder for every well. We only replace the cylinder if there is no choice.
There is plenty of help to do the work on this well. Once begun we moved onto the next well. But I will talk about each in order. I saw something that in all the years I have been coming to Zambia that I have not seen before. After a bit all the men were looking up into the tree above us. There was a snake in the branches. Eventually it was knocked down and then killed. The snake was the deadliest in Africa. It was a green Mamba.
Africans deal with snakes in stride, generally by killing them. Work went on and the well was eventually completed. This well was producing little water due to bad pipes so we replaced a number of them and the well gushed forth with water again.
There were happy people for sure when we drove off.
Matuwa community well
This well was not down for very long, a couple of weeks maybe. It is one of the oldest wells in the district. Consequently after water is pumped for a while the people must wait while it collects again. A new well is needed but that has not been possible until now. Water is available if you are patient. But there are other areas where a new well is more critically needed.
There was not much shade here so it was hot work. But the work went smoothly and eventually water was restored to this well.
You can see how the ladies line up their containers in a que. The slower the well production the longer the line and the longer the wait.
Women’s Co-operative well
This well has been down for 3 or more years. That is apparent as soon as you see the site.
We have to wait for the pipes etc. to be brought from where they are being kept. Everything is in pretty rough shape. We are able to rebuild the well cylinder. We will provide them with a new water tank (this is the tank at the top of the well that the spigot comes out of). We also provide them with a new chain for the pump handle. We are trying to keep a supply on hand to avoid replacing the whole pump handle.
I find working on wells really satisfying. First it provides needed infrastructure and healthy drinking water. Second it is laying ground work for the growth of the church in the district. Everyone knows who we are from the chiefs to the council to the head men. Next week we hope to plant a church in a village that is the direct result of our work with water wells.
After several hours the first water comes forth in several years. The people are really happy at that.
At this point the ladies bring us something to eat. It is goat meat and shima. Everyone is hungry so it is happily accepted and eaten. After eating there remains one well to be done.
This well has been down for about 3 months. As we try to rebuilt the cylinder the gaskets etc. are too old and we are unable to make do so we take the old one and bring out a new cylinder. That gets things going.
It is near the end of the day and I am about done in after more than three wells so I sit in the shade and rest while the work is done on the well. There is plenty of help so I would just be in the way.
Sometimes the more people who are there the slower the work goes. It is always interesting to me to watch (and listen) to a group of Zambian men working. Everyone talks and tries to direct things. But at last the well is done and the water is flowing.
At every well we work on an effort is made to thank us. Sometimes the head men and villagers go a bit further. After the 4th well we were given a goat in appreciation.
I am sure that I will enjoy some of it roasted in the near future. We are appreciative of the gift and give them our thanks and head home. It has been a long day. But we have done well.
More to come…