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.