Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Installing the pump

Cathy's friend and professional well-digger, Melchizedeck Okello, came to help us install the Afrofdif pump on Thursday morning. Melchizedeck has been digging community and private wells all over Kenya for over 15 years.

Peter made the first part of the well pad in no time (he is a professional contractor). Then we installed the pump on Friday.
creating the base of the well pad

filling in the hole and stabilizing the ground beneath the well pad
This is video that Kayla took of us filling the hole with gravel.
This is video of back washing the well by  K. Berry.

all the kids wanted to help

Peter pouring the concrete base of the pad

Installing the pump- this is the drop pipe going into the casing

this is the installed pump

the first clean water that we pumped out!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chapatti and a spitting COBRA!!!!

Wednesday evening we had our hand at making chapatti- a delicious flat bread that is kneaded and rolled, kneaded and rolled, rolled and sliced, rolled again and then fried twice.

Mary Anne frying the chipatti

In the middle of our cooking extravaganza, our friend and cook, Agnes, went to see about a snake that had slithered into the room where Cathy was sleeping. It was a 4 ft long spitting cobra that spit into her eye! Peter rushed her to the hospital in Matuu where she received treatment- shots, pills, and flushing of her eye. Thankfully she recovered quickly.
The Cobra

More ups and downs

Sorry for such delays between updates- we tried not to go into Matuu as we had so much to do at the well site. Here is the rest of our story...

We found that the well had recharged over 5 feet of water while we were buying supplies in Matuu. According to the drilling records of 2010 and 2011, we figured that at about 27.5 ft. we were, in fact, at the bottom of the aquifer and hitting bedrock. As not to loose anymore pieces down the well or have the sand collapse on us, we cased and back-washed the well on Wednesday.

"Casing" consists of cutting slits in the bottom 10ft of the PVC and covering the slits with a filter made from a plastic rice sack. The casing is then fed down the hole. Gravel is slowly dropped around the outside of the casing to the top of the filter. Sand is poured on top of the gravel. We back-washed the well using the sump pump to shoot about 500 liters of water into the well to clean it and settle the gravel and sand that surrounds the casing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Well drilling is an emotional roller coaster!

Over the course of the of the week we have had some highs and lows.

We arrived at Peter's house outside of Matuu (Kviningoni) on Wednesday.

First we stopped at the church where we installed two rainwater catchment barrels to help through the dry season. Both of the barrels had water in them. One was moved to the side of the church that is not visible from the road as there is concern that the tank might "grow legs" as they say in Kenya. The church plans to move one of the barrels to another new building right next door. It is good to know that the barrels are in use and are functioning well!

Once at Peter's, we found that the well had filled with sediment from the 2 months of rain. Using a mix of the manual method and the drill that we had borrowed 2 years ago, it took us about 5 days to make it back down to the 27 feet that were drilled in June. We had to use the mechanical drill to pound through the compacted sediment and flush out the fines and then the manual method to flush out the sand. It took us a day to get the motors of the drill and sump pump in working order. Yesterday when we got to 27ft. we were elated. Then a bit broke off when we were using the manual method, and it got buried in sand so that we could not fish it out with our magnets.
The bit that lost the tip to the rock on the bottom!

This morning we had 4 ft. of recharge and the water on the top of the well was really clean. Then we found that 5 frogs had made it to the bottom of the well! Martin, a neighbor who is helping, was able to fish them all out. We bailed down to 21 ft. by lunch. We are hoping that the well is deep enough to case as is, otherwise we will have to get the bit head out and drill further. As we wait to see how much the well will recharge, we are now in Matuu town getting the last of the supplies.

Drilling with the mechanical rig

Setting up the manual method

The handle and two bits for the manual well

The frogs that jumped into the well!

The bit we used with the mechanical drill- this is the bit that we used in 2010 and that Peter used in 2011 to widen the hole that was dug using the manual method

Jessica and Mary Anne fetching water by digging a hole and collecting the water that percolates up through the sand

Bailing the well so that we can measure the recharge rate

Hope for the best!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Made it to Kenya!

After 16+ hours of travel and a lost day we made it...just little tired. We met up with the rest of our group this morning. Heading out to Matuu...will update when I get a chance.

Monday, January 9, 2012

And we are off...

Heading out! Send lots of good thoughts our way, please! Hopefully it will look like this!
This is a well in Cameroon that was dug by a group of University of Nevada, Reno SAIWI members and volunteers from the community.