Remember how we were slowly chipping away at the rocks in Butenga? Our daily routine looked like this: Drill, get stuck on a rock, hand-dig out the rocks, shovel them into a bucket to be dumped outside of the pit. Find softer soil, drop the drill into the pit (thinking that perhaps we had passed the final layer of rock), get stuck on another rock layer, take the drill out, grab picks and shovels, start digging rocks out again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. We progressed 15′ in 6 days. The work was exhausting, but the enthusiasm remained. Every man lowered into the pit worked like he would be the one to break through the rock once and for all.
When starting a project, we get as much information from locals as possible to determine if we should attempt drilling. Latrine pits in this area are very deep (50-70′) and give us a lot of information about the conditions underground. We had some data from latrine pits nearby where rock was not present. We also had encouraging information about a water spring near one of the pits dug for their surface water collection. With that information, we kept chipping away at the rock thinking we would reach water soon.
After our 6th day of work, we had a meeting with a local borehole pump mechanic, Fred. We were consulting with him for the site of our second project (a village school). After we finished getting information about the soil conditions near the school, we asked Fred if he knew anything about Butenga. It turned out that he did! The two boreholes nearby (about 1 and 2.5 miles away) reached water after 200′! A lot can change in the subsurface over the course of a mile, however we decided to use that information to move to “Plan B.”
We found a central location, a church, in Butenga with a roof that could be used for rain catchment. The roof needs to be finished before we can install the gutters, but we are in the process of moving all the needed materials to that site. Butenga is in “the bush” so it takes time to get everything we need on site for the rain catchment.
Fred, the borehole pump mechanic, is a great resource for us now and we are glad to have connected with him for the school project. With his existing borehole data, we can consult Fred when we get project applications in the Nakasongola District to get general water depth and soil conditions.
In the meantime, we are starting to drill at the primary school in Kyansinbi and finishing the latrine project at a primary school in Kakooge.
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