Summer Update

Whirlwind US visit, a month of sickness, business registration, and potential borehole site visits.

Rachel’s US Trip

My brother graduated with an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth on June 10th and I (with immense help from my sister-in-law) pulled off a surprise visit! I was not able to attend my brother’s high school graduation (I had a mandatory college program that day) or Bachelor’s graduation (I was in Uganda with Engineering Ministries International), so I told myself that if there was anyway to be at this graduation, I would make it happen! Jesse was super supportive, and about 3 weeks before the graduation, we started planning my trip.

As it turned out, my grandfather’s health took a strong turn for the worse immediately before I traveled, so I added a short 2-day visit to Ohio to the front end of my visit. Total travel time from our house in Gulu to my Uncle’s house near Cleveland was 43 hours! I was exhausted, but very happy to visit my Uncle and his family, and see my grandparents. My grandfather ended up passing away a few days later, so I was grateful to be with him and my Ohio family during that time.

Ohio_Kent, Grammy, Rachel

My Uncle Kent, Grandmother, and me in Ohio.

Then I flew to Boston, and was picked up by the CTO for Lumi, John. He has been our boss, but also a great friend. We drove from the airport to New Hampshire to meet with a water engineer and water well driller. I spent several hours with them discussing our developing drilling work here in Uganda. I learned a lot from them and am happy to have their contact information for future consultation.

Then we finished the drive up to my brother’s. John dropped me off right at his front door, which my sister-in-law had left unlocked for me. I walked right in and said, “James, you really shouldn’t leave your front door unlocked. You never know who might just walk in.” He was totally shocked! It was awesome and worth all the travel and secrets!

To make sure my brother didn’t find out, we hadn’t told anyone else in the family (except the Ohio crew). That meant that each day, as a new family member arrived…my mom, dad, sister, aunt, grandmother…we set up a surprise. SO fun!

I was honored to be asked by my youngest cousin, who had been learning about Africa in her class, to come and share about Uganda. SO much fun! Reminded me of all the years (15, I think?) that I taught Sunday School!

giraffes get all the attention

“Raise your hand if you know the name of the animal in the picture!”

My brother (who is a genius as far as I’m concerned) graduated with distinction and earned an award. If I was only going to make one of his graduations, I’m glad it was this one. The whole visit was SO much fun, I will never forget it.

RandJ at Grannys

My brother and me on his graduation day!

Which is a bit impressive, because I came down with a horrible flu almost immediately after arriving in New Hampshire. I don’t think I have ever had a “cold” that strong before.


After about 10 days in the US, I flew back to Uganda. I completed my on-line WASH course project, and had just started to catch up on our drilling business registration process, when I became extremely weak and developed a fever. After several negative malaria tests, we realized I had come down with my first sinus infection. After about 6 days of antibiotics (which had worked against the infection), I had an allergic reaction to the penicillin (or something in the penicillin pills that I was taking). I don’t have any allergies, so it took a day or two to figure that out also. After a couple of days of rest and antihistamines, I finally felt healthy again. So, from the time I caught the cold/flu, to the end of the allergy, it was about a month of me being mostly out of it. I’m VERY happy to have been healthy during this last week! And I think Jesse is looking forward to some rest himself after taking care of me for so long.

WV Field Meeting

During this time, our agency had their Quarterly Field meetings here in Gulu. We had made arrangements to host the meetings at The Recreation Project (, which is an outdoor adventure facility used for team building and for healing activities (think “trauma counseling”) for post-war communities. We had a great time with the meeting times and the team building and prayer times.


Site Visits

As soon as I started feeling better, Tim and I went out to visit some potential sites for our first boreholes. Both are within an hour drive of Gulu town, but in villages. These were new places to me, but Tim knew them from when he completed his WASH assessment study a couple of years ago. One site, Site B, is very likely to be our first location. The first site we visited, Site A, is still under evaluation as there are few households in the area. These first two boreholes are being funded by an NGO for us to test our drill rig.

Obwac Church Site

Site A:  This site is the less populated site. This building is a church.

Pajaa Church Location

Site B:  This structure is another church building. Another group has tried to drill here before, but was unable to find water.

Site A has a near by water source, but it only has water during the rainy seasons, and because the well is not very deep, the water is often muddy and dirty. Site B does not have a near by water source. The nearest source is at the town center and is in serious need of repair.

Broken well_Obwac_edited

Contaminated water sources at Site A.

Broken well_Pajaa

Broken water source at town center nearest Site B.

Tim’s toilets!

One bonus to the visit, was that Tim (and I) were able to see the result of one of his previous projects. There are few sanitation facilities (“toilets”) in rural Uganda. This toilet facility is on Site B and was SO cool to see!

Pajaa toilets_edited

Toilet building! These are squat-style pit latrines. You had to duck quite a bit to get in, but could stand up once inside. Local materials were used and the slabs (the floor piece that you stand on) is concrete.

Women toilet symbol_edited  Men toilet symbol_edited


The photos on the left show the symbols drawn on the sides to indicate the men and women toilets. You can also see the toilet better in the “women’s” photo.




The rest of my time has been arranging the business registration. We officially have a name reserved. Water and Environmental Technical Consulting Limited, or WET Consulting Ltd. We have nearly finished our Articles and MOU document needed to submit our business registration. The Purchase Agreement for the drill rig has been finished and replacement pieces have been ordered from Kenya.

Paperwork for WET

Receipts, registration forms, MOU, oh my!

Next week will be starting to fill out our drill team and flesh out supply chain for borehole supplies.

Prayer Requests

  • Praise for Rachel’s health!
  • Praise for Rachel’s safe and awesome trip to the States.
  • Request for wisdom for Rachel and Jesse while making decisions for Lumi and WET.

Thank you all for following us and supporting us during our time here in Uganda!



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