Saturday, February 1, 2014

Well Clubs Forming

Water for All International has been partnered with a British non-profit called Global Care for about 4 years now in Uganda.  It was about 4 years ago that the first WFA-er came to Uganda and drilled the first test well.  It was at the invitation of Global Care that WFA was able to come and get the first well here.  Getting a water well drilling program established is not an easy chore.  It has taken a lot of folks 4 years plus to get to where we are today.  Ronnie and I were able to come to Uganda and build upon all the hard work that others had already put in.  When we got here there had already been 7 test wells drilled.  Many of the tools and equipment needed for drilling had already been purchased, we were well stocked with casing and drill pipe, and a few guys were already familiar with the "Baptist" drilling method that we use.  We were blessed to be able to come in and get started drilling within 2 months of arriving in Africa for the first time.  And now, God had blessed us with 3 Godly men - Dan, Emma, and Jimmy - who we trust and rely on to help in the test drilling.  I work closely with Dan and Emma on a daily basis, but Jimmy is a bit further out in the village of Pingire, and I don't get to see him as often.  Having these 3 men to rely on helps greatly in drilling, training, and speaking to local folks about what we are here to do and why.  It has been a gift to see these 3 men serve and love their communities through the water well drilling.

Our first year here was spent locating the best supplies, seeing what materials held up under the tough drilling conditions, navigating a new culture, navigating new relationships, some test drilling, making mistakes, getting burned a time or two in business dealings and relationships, frustrations, joy, finding a healthy church and church family, making friends, and a few successful water wells.  We drilled 11 successful water wells in our first year in Uganda.  We punched a lot of holes in the ground but unfortunately a number of those holes did not result in a functioning well.  At this point in our time here we certainly were not flooding Uganda with wells, but we were working steadily and little by little we were seeing some fruit.

By the end of our second year, we had drilled another 16 wells in the same two villages.  By this time we had a pretty good handle on where to look for water, at what depth we would find it, what methods and materials work, troubleshooting techniques, who can be trusted, who is a good worker, and we are better at navigating relationships and cultural issues.  We did not have near as many failed attempts as in our first year.  Still 16 wells in a year is no record.  We were working, but there were times when the work was just slow. Even though year 2 had some struggles and the drilling continued to be tough going, God continued to bless us with the ability to drill through hard marrum layers and hit water more often than not.  Going into our third year here we were planning our drilling locations for the upcoming year.  We were investigating new areas that might offer "easier" drilling because we literally have to struggle for every foot.  We were planning new strategies for drilling more wells.

It was during Terry's annual visit at the start of our third year when God flooded us with an unexpected blessing.  Since our arrival and even before coming to Uganda we have been praying about starting a well drilling movement here.  It was one thing to drill water wells for folks around the village, but the goal has always been to get to the place where folks in the villages of Obule and Pingire see the wells that are being drilled, see the technology, see their friends and neighbors having fresh water and say to themselves, "I can do that.  I can drill a well.  Why shouldn't I have a personal well at my home too?"  Over lunch at Jimmy's house in Pingire everything just sort of came together.  Jimmy produced 4 lists of families around the village who had organized and formed cooperatives to drill their own wells and share the work so that every family has a well.  There were 62 different families that were committed to drilling every family a well.  They were committing to putting in the necessary time and effort to get 62 new wells drilled.  Since that day, another 3 well clubs have formed.  The number of families committed to drilling their own wells and taking ownership of them is now over 100.  Jimmy tells me that when these families have completed to drill all their wells, that there will only be a handful of families without a personal water well in this village.  Amazing!  Sometimes you can labor for years and see very little fruit.  Sometimes you may labor a lifetime and not see and fruit from your work.  We are so thankful because God has chosen to allow us to see fruit.  It is so encouraging to see families getting new fresh water and give thanks to God for giving it to them.  God is blessing us daily in that He allows us to witness His goodness.

The good news doesn't stop there.  In Obule, we have a well club made up of 8 families that has organized and will start drilling each family a well with the next week.  We also have a group of men that has organized and agreed that if we would lend them the drilling rig and supply them with materials, they will do exploratory drilling for us in their area.  This is also such a huge blessing because attempting to drill in a new area is such a long and sometimes frustrating venture.  Many times when you go into a new area you have no idea of the water depth, location of heavy rock, existing wells, etc. These men are willing to dedicate their time to drilling wells over a fairly large area in the hopes that the area will prove good drilling and that they too can have personal wells.

So it is possible that we could have as many as 7 complete drilling rigs and drilling teams working simultaneously.  On our own we have never been able to drill more than a well a week - many times it will take us up to 2 weeks to complete a well.  With 7 drilling crews working simultaneously, we could potentially add 7 new water wells a week!  Thank you for your prayers.  God has heard your prayers and the prayers of his children in Uganda and He is greatly blessing this area with new family well clubs and hopefully many, many new wells.  It has taken at least 4 plus years of work and countless prayers to get to this point.  But now, people are not just seeing wells and wishing someday a well might be drilled nearer to their home. but instead now they are taking steps to make a family well in every home a reality!  Again, thank you for your prayers.