It has been some time since I updated you on the water well drilling. Things are really blowing up right now as families are starting to take ownership of the drilling and of the drilling of their own wells. This year we have transitioned away from strictly "test drilling" and have gone to more of a "family well club" type program.
The family well clubs are groups of 8 or more families that come together, organize, and agree to drill each family in the group a well. They agree to share the workload, food, time, etc. It is a large investment in time and energy. If it takes a week to drill a single well, then you can see that drilling 10 wells is a large investment of time and work. WFA is still fronting the cost of the drilling materials and loaning each group the drilling tools, but for now anyway, this is the set up. If the family well clubs commit to drilling all of their wells then we will give them the in-ground materials and the loan of our tools. We then work with them to drill the first 2 or 3 wells. After that we turn it over to them. We hope to slowly transition to a program where the families are also putting up some, if not all, of the cost of the in-ground materials. The more invested (time-wise, financially, in sweat equity) a person is, the more likely they are to have the desire to maintain their investment. With a well, the more it costs a person, the more likely they are to maintain that well, change the piston, keep the pump functioning, etc. The long term goal is to get the cost of a well down in the range of $150 so that they are affordable for the average village farmer. He can then save up and purchase a well with his own money and maintain his investment for years to come.
Just this year the family well clubs began forming. The well clubs don't just form on their own though, it takes months (2 plus years on the ground in our case) of having talks with the community, telling people what the WFA program looks like, how it works, etc. It takes our WFA drillers months of conversations with their friends and community members before people begin to see ownership of a water well as a possibility. It also takes lots of test drilling in a location. People need to see more and more wells going in before they begin to think of your work as more than just relief work. So it has taken a long time of making friends and building relationships, meeting with the community and talking about the WFA program, drilling wells, patience and prayer. I'm sure hundreds of folks have been praying for this program and what God wants to do in Uganda.
In our case, the jump from test drilling to family well clubs happened much quicker than we were expecting. I thought we would need to saturate the villages of Obule and Pingire before we would get to this stage. However, God has allowed for families throughout Teso to catch the "vision" of owning their own well and He has sparked a desire within them to acquire one. So since the beginning of this year, 13 different groups from Pingire and Obule have organized and have committed to drilling their own wells. There are over 140 families signed up in Pingire alone! Since the formation of these well clubs, they have already drilled 11 new wells. Just for a point of reference - we only drilled 15 wells all of last year, so 11 wells in less than 2 months is not bad. We are so excited to see this and to be a part of God's transformational work. This area will look much different in a few years when every home has a well just outside their door.