After morning devotions and breakfast, we got on the bus for the one-ish hour drive to Nueve Mendes. Time as an –ish means that I’m not really sure how long it took. We arrived at the church to be met by several men, women and children. The site of our well is in the corner of the church’s property. It is a simple one-room church with a polished cement floor, several pews and an outhouse to the side.
We greeted everyone around and then Nuggett began teaching us the drilling process. Since we have seven drillers (four from Dayspring and three from the east coast) we split into two groups.
Group one manned the drill: one person (the driller) controlling the up and down lever of the rig, one person (the assistant driller) doing the pipe fitting, one person checking the cuttings every five feet to see what kind of earth we were drilling through, and one person recording the results.
Group two prepared the “midnight” (that’s what they call it). It is a strange concoction of water and cement that is very liquid, but hardens to help shore up the borehole. We rotated through every position throughout the day.
The morning had started with the kind of mist rain that we are familiar with in Oregon, but soon it didn’t matter whether it was raining or not. Between the water from the drilling process and the water from the sky, the drill area became a slippery mud pit…worse with each passing hour. It was impossible to stay dry, and an exercise in futility to even think of worrying about the clay/mud mixture that would come up from the ground and spray all over our clothes.
Nuggett told us that the goal today was to drill down 120-ish feet. If you read yesterday’s blog you’ll remember that I said they expected a total of 160-180 feet.
We found our aquifer at 120 feet, and continued to drill down to 150 feet. We had 30 feet of perfect aquifer for the well.
I didn’t think we could be wetter or muddier, but as we took off the 5-foot lengths of pipe, water and mud sprayed us in places we didn’t know we had.
With only an hour and a half left in the workday, Nuggett decided that we would put on the reamer (the drill bit that would widen the hole to the casing diameter), and try to ream out the first 40 feet of the well. We made it 50 feet before stopping for the day.
While the menfolk were doing the manual labor, the women began their day by teaching hygiene to the many kids who showed up for VBS. In theory, they would teach the same material (in an adult way) to the women of the village in the afternoon, but the women all showed up for VBS as well.
In the afternoon, with the help of Felicia (the head hygienist), the women sat and shared their testimonies with the women of the village, and vice-versa.
Larry, you’d be proud. I ate stuff that was new to me (but sadly, no peppers). I don’t love plantains. The empanada-like pastalitos were yummy. Ryan, are you sure you want your boots back? We were served real Coke for lunch. Yes, I drank it. I did bring two real Diet Cokes from home to help me break my DC fast tomorrow. I have had some Coca-Light, Michelle said it didn’t count (there aren’t many choices, and it doesn’t taste anything like Diet Coke).
Tomorrow I believe that the plan is to ream out the rest of the well and begin to place the casing in it. I’d guess we are ahead of schedule, but who really knows? Everything’s an ISH.