Monday, January 20, 2014

The Borehole

The group is back at the Gracia Guest House in Nairobi, Kenya.  After a relaxing day by the pool and on safari, the group rose early this morning to pack up the tents, say goodbye to the monkeys and baboons that invaded our campsite, and set off for Nairobi.

Hopefully in the next few blog posts, we can give a sense of some of the things we did in our 10 day journey to the northern part of Kenya.

Last week we were in Sedai, camping right within the community that we were hoping to help.  We tried to learn as much as we could about their ways of life, mainly about how they retrieved and used their water in the short time that we were there.  Because their bore hole pump had been broken for 1.5 years, the women of the community had to make numerous 7 kilometer trips each day to retrieve water for their family and their livestock.  Some of the engineers in the group took it upon themselves to examine the bore hole as see if it was repairable.  We were given a manual, but it was for a different pump so it really did not apply to the pump we were working on.  Needless to say, Tuesday we spent a lot of time doing trial and error work trying to figure out how to get the pump out of the ground.  We finally did get it out of the ground and found there was a separation between pipes.  We changed a weak pipe, replaced the rubber seals in the plunger at the bottom and fined tuned all that we could.  The next day, we put the pipes back in the ground and started pumping.  It took about two minutes for water to come spurting out.  The excitement of the community heightened out excitement and sense of accomplishment.  Word spread quickly around the village and soon every woman came to the borehole with water jugs in hand.  Kids splashed around in the water and began to clean their faces, learning form some hygiene pointers they were given earlier in the week. Water flowed from the pump nonstop for three hours.  There are not many better feelings that what we felt as we sat off to the side and watched the water flow.   A few days later we met with the village around the borehole (the same place we meet just days before to talk about the desperate need for water) to talk about the future for the borehole.  We know there is a possibility that the borehole will fail in the future, but in meeting with the community to discuss management and maintenance of the borehole we hope to extend the use as much as possible.  We knew that we improved their lives and may save many lives in the future.  But we also know that this is just a small step in solving the water needs of the area.  Other villages remain with boreholes that are inoperable.  And more needs to be done in order to satisfy the needs of the whole community.  But this is a small step and one of many more we hope to come in the process of bringing water to rural Kenya.  God is Good!


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