Monday, February 06, 2006

What Do You Do When the Well Runs Dry, Honey?

Well, if you are in Liberia, usually not much you can do, except find another well. The well that sits between our property line and Deacon Reeves’ is an open, uncovered well that serves probably twelve families. However, every year during the dry season, the well begins to produce dirty water as the water table drops, and sometimes families have to wait all day for the well to be used again. Thanks to a generous and caring family in Grand Rapids, the well is being deepened to a point where it no longer will run out of water. The process is interesting. The well is essentially a series of culverts cemented together and dug into the ground. However, to deepen a well, you can’t put culverts on the bottom of the well, so you start from the top. A worker goes into the well and digs at the base of the bottom culvert until the whole well begins to sink. As it sinks, new culverts are added on top, the top culvert is given a “cap”—not a cover-- and the well is back in business.

Now, it is still an open well, and tests have shown that while the ground water is good, the water gets contaminated by each bucket that gets dropped by line into it. The Reeds are fortunate in that we have a filter that all our water goes through. Our neighbors are not so fortunate, and while they are adjusted to the water most of the time, there still is a risk of contracting water born diseases. Hopefully, someday we can cover the well and put a pump on it. But at least now, our neighbors will have water, all the way through the dry season. Here is a look-see at the process--

This is what the well looked like before the work began. Hannah and I doing the daily chore of drawing and hauling 30-50 gallons of water.

Here is Mr. Sanfo and Son preparing the well for sinking. The cover has been removed and the collar busted up around the base.

Sanfo Jr. in the well digging out the sand underneath so the culvert assembly will begin to sink.

Pappa Sanfo holds the line over Jr. While Noah and Renita learn the trade.

The well has sunk, so...

... the first of two is cemented on top of the well. Meanwhile, the structure continues to sink.

See? First culvert lower, second in the wings...

...and put into place. Soon we will be back drawing water again. A mixed blessing if ever there was one.

By the way, we got a special request for a garden update. Here are the tomatoes...

Also, one of the pineapples. Now you've seen the garden, ma.