Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Story of The Widow's Well

I had posted on facebook yesterday that prayers were needed.  Thank you to everyone that petitioned on the behalf of Colin and the crew drilling yesterday.  I can't even being to express how thankful we are to have such wonderful support, and I was again reminded of that yesterday after I hit the "post" button.  So I thought I would sit down and try and explain why this well has been a bit more stressful than the ones before it. 
This well was a "sponsored" well.  Some people wanted to donate money to go towards a well and we let the church pick where it went.  This would also be Emma's first well as boss and the first well that the drilling crew would be getting paid for.  Emma is a very easygoing, quiet man, and sometimes those are traits that can prove difficult for someone that is in charge of a group of men.  There were a few days where some of the guys just flat out did not work near as much as they should have.  That in itself was strange because this group of guys has been so hard working up to this point and doing it for no money, so now when they are getting paid they show up and are not really working like they should.  I think Emma let it slide for a good part of a day, and at the end of the day he sat down and called them on it.  The days following have been much better and I was proud of Emma for the way he ended up handling the situation.  
Since this is a paying gig, Emma needed to figure up how many days he thought this well would take so they could budget the cost of everything.  He figured 6 days would be enough.  So food was bought for six days and he figured out what it was going to cost to pay all his guys for 6 days as well.  Well yesterday was day 8.  They hit hard marrum (rock) and were on that for three days before breaking through to clay and sand.  At the end of day three (15.5 meters deep) one of the plastic drill pipes broke and Dan and Emma had to fish it out on Saturday.  When day four started they put the pipe in the ground and the hole was unobstructed to a depth of 6 meters, so that meant that the hole had collapsed over the weekend.  Day five they started and the hole was clear  to 11 meters.  So both days they had to re-drill what they had previoisly drilled.  Day six they showed up and the hole was clear all the way to 15 meters - so no re-drilling had to be done!  They hit a hard rock (quartz) at 15.5 meters.  On day seven they were able to start right where they had left off the day before, but the hard rock did not allow them to advance much more than a couple of inches.  However they had trouble again on day seven.  The hole collapsed again and this time it fell in around the metal drill pipe at the bottom of the hole.  In trying to hoist it out with a chain block, the chain broke along with the 1" blue pvc pipe about 2 1/2 feet below the surface.  Needless to say, by the time I arrived out at the site (Colin had gone on the dirt bike before me) morale was low...  They had had many struggles with this project and were spending a great deal of time fishing out broken parts and when they were fishing out parts they were breaking them on the hard rock.  
I went to our garden to weed and just kept praying.  I have no idea how they ever got the pipe unstuck, but within an hour Colin sent me a text message that said they were drilling again!!  
Now onto day 8...and we are still on the hard hard rock.  They are just over 16 meters down and have been drilling through a quartz type rock.  Colin has advised Emma to only go for two more days.  After two days we will either be through the rock or not, but either way we will case it and pray that it makes a good well.  
When I talked to Colin yesterday on the phone, he just sounded tired.  He told me that he thought that everyone was just ready for a day off and he was also ready for some rest.  Given how the other wells have gone, this one seemed like it would be pretty easy.  But as you have read, that has not been the case.   

This is the location of the widow's well.  You can see one of her homes in the background.  She has one other that is just a bit bigger than the one pictured.  These two homes house many children and adults all at the kindness of the old woman.

When we celebrated the birth of Emma's baby, named Colin, and the success of his well, the old widow came to the party!  She was not about to miss out on free food and fun!  Charles introduced her and asked her to lead us in a song, so here she is dancing and praising God with a song and a wicked sweet dance!  
I have no doubt that the old lady is a believer in Christ and that we will meet one day in heaven.  Colin has told me that there have been other struggles with this well besides the well itself.  This old lady has many children that live with her, along with her granddaughter and the granddaughter's ex-mother-in-law, and maybe a one other younger woman.  There is a feeling of "everyone fend for themselves" around the home and that means that this old lady does not have anyone cooking or taking care of her.  There seems to be a lot of bickering and quarrelling among the younger ladies and much of it directed towards the old widow.  From what I have seen while I've been at the site, the old lady keeps to herself and usually has a  little one on her lap or near by.  She stays out of the mess that the other ladies are in and loves on the kids.  This woman also is a wonderful picture of grace because while her children and grandchildren are awful towards one another and her, she continues to allow them to live with her and she no doubt loves them.  They extended family is no very loveable, yet she gives them love and kindness.  I am so thankful for this old woman and will continue to pray for the success of this well.  I will again ask that you continue to keep this situation in your prayers too.  This is a great opportunity for us to show Christ like love to these ladies and their children, so I pray we don't miss it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Let me introduce you to our well drilling crew

We are still in the test drilling phase, so we are using the same group of young men on each well.  When we move into the “family well” phase, the families themselves will be responsible for providing the labor for each well.  As we are still wildcatting it for now, we use a group of young men from the Obulle community who volunteer their time and effort to help us drill the wells, condition the wells, and to transport all the materials to each new location.  So far this group has drilled 7 wells with me in this area.  They are a seasoned crew and they love drilling.  Each person brings a different personality to the group.  We have a lot of fun working and helping other get clean water.  

Let me introduce you to our drilling crew. 

This is Dan.  Dan is a man of integrity.  Dan has been married to his wife Rose for 16 years.  Even though Dan and Rose have been married for 16 years, their marriage is not complete because he still owes her father 1 cow as part of the bride price paid by the groom to the parents of the bride.  Dan and Rose have 7 children with another one on the way soon.  Dan is 37 years old, is a leader in the community, a leader in the church, and he leads our drilling efforts in Obulle.  Dan also has a huge heart for the Lord and loves to sing and pray at each drill site each morning.  He also leads worship at our church in the village.  Once during a work day, Dan sat down with a little girl and read to her from an English children’s book that Ronnie brought.  He probably sat with her for about thirty minutes just reading and asking her questions.  He is so willing to give of his time and of himself.  Dan is a very happy guy who has a really good laugh.  He is always smiling.  Me and Dan are good buddies.

This is Ojokwan Samuel.  Ojokwan is 18 or 20 years old depending on who you ask.  Ojokwan is an orphan who lives with his grandmother and helps her take care of her place.  Ojokwan is a very sweet young man.  He usually has a mango or an orange to give me when we meet.  He loves dancing and has sort of a high-pitched squeal of a laugh.  Any time there is music playing, you can find him dancing.  Ojokwan is probably the hardest working member of our crew.  He is the youngest, but he gives more effort than most.  One of the nurses here in Soroti brought a baby monkey to the drill site and Ojokwan was so excited, he said that he wanted one because it reminded him of his little brother! 

Next we have Ojok Patrick.  Ojok is 22 years old, is single, is the practical joker of the group, and he and Ojokwan live with Dan’s mother (their grandmother).  Ojok likes to joke around but he is a very hard worker.  He likes to have fun, but he also likes to drill.  So he combines the two and makes the monotony of drilling more enjoyable for all of us.  I bought a jump suite to wear while drilling to try and keep my clothes clean, but it was a bit too big for me, so I gave it to Ojok to wear.  It fits him perfectly, however, it’s bright orange!  I always joke with him that in America only prisoners wear bright orange jumpsuits.  He doesn’t care either way, it keeps his clothes clean and that is all that matters.

This is Odongo Sam.  Odongo joined our group not long after we began drilling in this area.  Odongo is from a village about 1 ½ hours away from Obulle.  Odongo was forceably sent away from his village by a group of people who say he was crazy or possessed and they feared him.  Odongo was said to walk around talking to himself all the time.  So they tied him up and sent him in a taxi to Obulle where his uncle Charles lives.  When Odongo showed up in Obulle, Charles call our friend Josh and asked him to come and share The Gospel with Odongo.  Josh shared the love of Christ with Odongo, Odongo accepted Jesus as his savior, and he and Josh burned the items he had in his pocket given to him by the witch doctors to cure the voices he was hearing.  Since that time, he has been very active in helping us drill.

Arika Edward is 24 years old, is single, is a very hard worker, is a cousin to Okok and Ojokwan, is good at futbol, is a part-time boda boda (bicycle taxi) when he isn’t helping us, and he like all these young men – really likes to drill water wells.  He is the oldest son in a very large family.  

Oinyo Emmanuel “Emma” is somewhere around 28 years old we think.  He is married to Deborah and they have 5 children named Diana, David, Abraham, Sarah, and Colin.  Colin was born a couple of days after we finished drilling a well at Emma’s home.  Colin is my namesake and was born on April 22, which happens to be the same day I was born.  Emma is the most joyful, happy, likeable guy in the group.  He is a very hard worker and gives his everything whether its drilling or farming or plowing or picking mangos.  He does everything well and wants to be a professional water well driller someday.  Emma is also the children’s and youth pastor at our church in the village. 

This is Etalu James “Kenny G”.  Kenny G is 22 years old, single, speaks the best English in the group (only he has sort of a Bristish accent), has a dog named Clever, is a very funny guy, and loves apples – though he has only tasted an apple a few times in his life.  We call him “Kenny G” because he often wears someones old softball shirt from the U.S. and the name on the back of the shirt is “Kenny G”.  He lives very near to Ojok and Ojokwan so you can find him at their home telling stories, hunting, or picking mangos.  One day while we were drilling, Kenny G. and Ojok were talking about having a foot race of 100 meters.  Ronnie happened to be there that day and was sitting behind them when they were about to start the race.  She jumped up and took off right as I said “GO” and had them beat for a good part of it.  She was in a skirt and flip flops and I thought she was going to fall.  But she stopped and the two kept going.  However, talk of a rematch between Ojok, Kenny G., and Ronnie has been the topic of conversation for months…The race has yet to happen, but they are both shamed that a girl was beating them in a foot race.

This is James.  James is around 22 years old, unmarried, and is very quiet.  He doesn’t speak much English, therefore, he and I do not communicate verbally much.  He says very little even in Ateso (his native tongue), so I really don’t know too much about James.  He is very nice and likeable.  He works hard and quietly goes about his work, doesn’t seem to joke around much with the other guys, is somewhat serious, but is well liked by all.  He is a really sweet young man who I like having around.