I’m so sorry for the delay in writing this blog post, but it is for good reason! In the last 2 months, we have bought a drill rig, learned how to use the rig, identified and trained a drill team of 10 people on the rig, drilled 4 boreholes, completed 1 electro-resistivity survey, completed 3 pump tests, provided pump and plumbing consultation to 3 clients, driven too many kilometers, slept in an empty village church, hotels across Uganda, and an empty medical clinic, and so much more! Take a look! We have…
…picked up the drill rig and got it stored in my garage (July 31-Aug. 5th)!
The tanks and drill rig (under the tanks) on the truck to head to Gulu!
The drill rig, in pieces, in our garage.
…completed a electro-resistivity survey for a medical clinic (Aug. 10th)!
Conducting the electro-resistivity survey. L to R: Tim, Jesse, and a local WASH practitioner.
…drilled our first borehole (Aug. 21-23)!
First borehole in Abwoc.
…drilled our second borehole (August 24-26th)!
Second borehole in Pajaa. We hit rock and had to use our rock ram (the red jack) attachment. Worked great!
…trained our new drill team during those first two holes!
Drill team, trainers, and Rachel (Tim is taking the photo).
…finished our first two hand pumps (Aug. 31 – Sept 1st)!
Finished hand pump in the dark at Abwac.
Installing the riser pipes at Pajaa.
…completed a pump test at a theological seminary (Sept. 6th)!
Pump testing an abandoned borehole.
…drilled a borehole for a child sponsorship program (Sept. 11-20th)!
Drilling borehole #3.
…drilled a borehole for a medical clinic while Lumi installed the solar (Sept. 25-30th)!
Drilling at a clinic in Masindi District. You can see Jesse and Lumi co-workers on the roof behind the truck!
Jesse took the same photo about the same time, totally unplanned. Notice all of their bare feet!
I think the last 2 months have been the busiest two months of my time here in Uganda so far!
So much has been a process of figuring things out as we go, like meeting people through friends of friends for supplies (like gravel, truck rentals, etc), inviting trainees for the drilling team and hoping people show up, and looking for rig parts with no idea if they exist in town!
As I told my mother, “I went WAY outside of my comfort zone and was totally worried so much of the time, but here I am on the other side, and it worked out. I’m so glad that I jumped in (or waded in slowly), and got to be a part of this. I’m so lucky. I just have to thank God that He let me be a part of this.”
Setting up this company has been the most stretching experience I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Jesse was Willy Wonka in a expat community rendition of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory!
Jesse as Willy Wonka. Charlie is with him in the bottom right photo.
We have had extreme rains here which lead to our compound wall (the wall around our yard) to collapse and flood our neighbor’s house…TWICE in one week!
The second time that wall collapsed (in the exact same place) and flooded the compound. The neighbors (whose house was flooded) and Jesse and I fought the flood for about an hour in the dark (maybe 4am), and then made some pancakes!
We picked up a second vehicle, which actually belongs to Lumi but had been in storage for a while. This has been great, but we have had two flat tires, a brake caliper fell off (right after we got to the mechanics shop!), the radiator overheated (maybe it is leaking?), and a wheel bolt is leaking grease! We’ve named the car “Bowser” after the evil enemy in Super Mario Brothers (a video game we played as kids) because we think it is out to get us!
We’ve had issues at the house again, as well. The drain out of our kitchen sink is completed backed up, but it is the pipe in the ground, so we are digging it up. The pit where we burn our trash is about to be totally full. It lasted 2 years. Time to dig a new one, or excavate the waste out and dump is somewhere. Lastly, the pinching ants that were living in the house have moved back in, but at least they aren’t in our room this time. We realized they were moving in when about a dozen of the flying males flew into the kitchen from the hallway! They have tried to move into the guest bathroom and the garage. Hopefully we can keep them at bay.
Lastly, we had a few issues with WET. The most time-consuming one was that our submersible pump we bought for pump tests never worked well from the beginning, even though it was brand new. After struggling with it for weeks, we finally got it replaced while drilling at the clinic and the new one works great!
New pump in the shop in Kampala.
Lastly, the borehole at the clinic in Masindi District was bone dry. This was definitely discouraging, but we were suspicious that the hole would not have enough water for the clinic based on our electro-resistivity survey and the client wanted us to drill the borehole as a test to know for sure. Apparently, there are almost no function boreholes in that town because it is notoriously dry. Now we are working with the clinic to help identify another water source. As one of our drill team members said, “Other drillers would hit a dry hole and run away. If we hit a dry hole, we stay around to help them. That is WET Consulting.” I have to say that I felt pretty good about our company when he said that!
Bone dry bottom of the well at the clinic. Now to find another water source!
Despite all the stress and struggles, one thing has been encouraging me as I work with WET; I have LOVED working with our drill team. They are such hard workers, they have all had experience drilling with other manual methods and are always giving us insight into local practices, hydro-geology, and typical drilling contracts for the area. I am learning a lot about Acholi (the local tribe) language and culture as well. Lumi had a mix of tribes in the office, so we always spoke English, but with WET, everyone except for Tim and I are Acholis. I have learned a lot of words, figures of speech, and even new foods! I love learning more about life here and especially what life is like in the villages. I wish I could show you what it was like to sleep out in Pajaa. I will never forget drinking sugary lemongrass tea around a fire, surrounded by fire flies, under the glow of stars and moon, and singing songs with the local community.
- Our term with WorldVenture expires in July 2018, and our work permits expire a bit later than that. That means it is time to start talking about what comes next. Jesse and I have been prayerfully seeking guidance and vision for our next season. Please pray for us to have clarity of vision for our next journey and for wisdom in deciding what is right for us and our work here.
- We are both completely swamped. It is not a sustainable pace of life. We are struggling to find a work/life balance while managing two rapidly growing companies (Lumi has been flooded with big solar system requests, which is great). Pray with us that we find a good rhythm and don’t burn out. We are trying a new work schedule with WET this month and Jesse has just wrapped up a big project (the clinic) which should both help.
- We are both so grateful for safety while driving and working. Working with big heavy machines and electricity, and climbing on roofs and working in unfamiliar places sometimes far from medical care can be dangerous. Both Jesse and I, and our colleagues have been healthy and happy, and we are SO thankful to God for that.
- One thing about living abroad is the other expats come and go quite frequently, but the relationships go deep quickly, too. Jesse and I have been lucky to have great friends here, including our neighbors, who are going back to their home country at the end of this month. They have been such a support and encouragement to us and we will miss them dearly. Pray with us for wisdom in what to do with the empty house on our compound when they leave (if we should rent it out to another family?) and for encouragement as we grieve loosing them as a daily part of our lives.
- I am SO grateful to be drilling! After fundraising, planning, preparing, investigating, and everything else…we are drilling! Thank you to all of you who have been a part of this with encouraging emails, financial support, and prayers. We thank God that it has call come together!
Thank you for following our journey!