Happenings in Zambia
At this time of the year Southern Zambia is experiencing their rainy season. The result is that things “slow down.” It is during the rainy season that people plant their maize (corn) and millet. They are in the fields working and attendance declines in the village churches. The rains also hinder people moving about. People walk or ride a bicycle which means it is difficult to get from one place to another. As the rains get heavier there is flooding and a great deal of mud. Consequently village church activities slow until the rains end and the crops are harvested.
All this means that there is not much going on right now. Some of the work we are doing is at a standstill due to the rains. We cannot repair wells with heavy rains. Travel to the villages is difficult due to wet and muddy conditions.
We were finally able to complete our well work from 2013 toward the end of the year. There were still several wells that needed to be drilled. Our driller experienced some problems earlier and, quite frankly, let us down as they were trying to keep things going.
We also encountered something that we have only seen once or twice in the drilling of wells. There were a number of “dry holes” this year. The drilling was done but no water was found. Sometimes this may mean that the instruments were in error or that the water was much deeper than could be effectively reached by the wells. Since these are hand pumped wells they can only be so deep. If they are too deep it is very hard or impossible to raise the water by hand pumping.
The wells that were finally drilled were left still needing an apron to be constructed around the base. The drillers were to do that but they had to leave and intended to return later. But we ran into problems with our funding source. People and congregations had provided funds for the wells and we needed to report the wells complete in a timely manner. The result was that we went on ahead and had the aprons built by local builders.
The apron is important because it provides a solid base from which to work. It also keeps the well from becoming polluted from water running from the surface down into the well by funneling water away from the well area. This is also the reason that the aprons need to be kept in good repair. To this end we were provided with a number of pockets of cement to repair well aprons.
This apron is the new well at Sichombolwa Village. It was constructed this way because it is on a hillside and there is run off when it rains so it needed to be grounded in a very different manner that some of the other aprons.
This is the apron on the Kanegumbo B well. As you can see it is a different kind of structure. But it is solid and will do the trick.
From time to time we encounter situations with wells that amount to an emergency. This is what happened to the well in the village of Nabbanda. There are two wells in the village. One of the wells was refurbished with PVC piping by the council. It only lasted a few weeks and then failed. That left the other well which went dry. Thus there was no well for the entire village. It was determined that more pipes were needed. It seems that for the last several years the rains have been poor and the water table has dropped. 6 pipes and rods were needed. Funds were provided from Healing Hands International for the pipes and rods. Repair was accomplished on the 22nd of February. However, it was learned that 9 pipes and rods were needed and not 6. We were able to “borrow” the needed pipes and rods from another source and the well was repaired and is now producing water. I will need to replace the 3 pipes and rods as soon as possible. I am hoping to do that this coming week.
Our concern now is the get the other well working. Since this is the only source of water in the village it will be heavily used. I have everything needed to repair the other wells except for the pipes and rods. 18 will be needed. But the cost will be nearly $1000 so I will need to try and find some funds. I have the water tank, press handle and a cylinder.
My goal is to eventually live and work in Zambia. In order to live in Siavonga I will need a house in which to live. I have the property. Work has begun on the house in small bits as funds are available. So far I have been able to have the footer dug and poured. Blocks have been molded to build the foundation walls
The footer had to be laid out and then dug and poured with reinforcing rods within. Then blocks had to be made for the foundation.
Making blocks saves a good bit of money over purchasing them and having them hauled to Siavonga from Lusaka.
It will be a slow process but I am confident that it will happen.
I had originally planned to travel to Zambia before the end of March. However, I was asked by the brethren to delay until later in the year so that I could be there for the annual village lectureship the first weekend in September. Charles Phiri also said that the farming would prevent many from participating in our program if I were to come earlier since the crops would still be in the fields.
So, at this time I am planning to travel to Zambia in August to be there for the lectureship. Charles and I have begun talking about the trip and our program for that time.
Please keep the efforts in your prayers. Thanks to all for your interest and support.