Tag Archives: travel

The Final Days


Saying Goodbye is always hard

I am sitting in the airport in Panama City, waiting to be called to board.

This last week and a half has been busy. Simon drilled another well and installed two hand pumps. I closed off a large sanitation project at Asilo (a home for the elderly/disabled on the main island).

I am excited to see my family and friends back in the States, but saying goodbye to my Panama-family and friends is still sad.

As usual (for me), I have a quick turn-around in the States. I arrive home this evening (Wednesday) and will be loading gear back in my dad’s car at 2am on Sunday morning. I am heading back to Haiti with the goat team.

I will be sure to update more on the project later this week, but for now – if anyone lives near me (Vineland), I am looking for twin sheets for the orphanages we partner with in Haiti.

Adios for now ūüôā



Simon working on a well in Shark Hole


Simon with a family near their well in Isla Tigre


Maria Isabelle is one of the residents of Asilo. Maria is an elderly schizophrenia patient. On this particular day, she was in a good mood and gave me some drawings. I really like when she is in a good mood, but I also don’t mind when she is in a bad mood either because my Spanish isn’t good enough to figure out what she is yelling at me about ūüėČ  



Filed under Hydromissions, Panama

Back to those slippery HILLS!


The creek leading into Valle Escondido is too shallow for our motor. Paddling is my favorite part of our commute.

On Thursday, Simon, Jim and I went back to Valle Escondido to work at Elia’s house. While we were paddling in, some men from the community were working on cutting down trees along the creek. A boy¬†in their boat was Omar-¬†one of the teens who helped¬†us carry equipment to Elia’s house on Tuesday. I don’t pay volunteers, however, on Tuesday I did. I paid the teens that helped us $2 each for carrying equipment and material in anticipation for Thursday. I knew we were going to be short on help on Thursday so I gave the kids those tips in hopes that it would encourage them to¬†return. We pulled alongside the boat and Omar¬†hopped over into our boat. I am grateful that he did – we had a lot of material to carry. Between Jim, Simon and myself, there was no way all the material was making it to Elia’s house in one trip (and no one wants to make two trips to her house – it is so far!).


Elia’s house on top of the hill.

The first well we drilled reached water, but once we started bailing the water out, the ¬†water recharge gradually decreased. It just meant we didn’t hit a very good source of water. We couldn’t drill very deep because of the soil, so we couldn’t create a deep enough column of water for good storage. It was quite disappointing to fill in the well, especially since it had water in it, but we had to cover it up and move on to a new spot.

We crossed over a¬†hill to a different spot to try drilling. We look for areas that already have little springs and try to drill nearby. We drilled in the second location and reached water. Again, we couldn’t go very deep because of the soil conditions. The difference with this location is that the water was flowing into the well quite fast. It was a very shallow well, however it would be enough for a single-family use. On Tuesday, we had installed a 55-gal drum for rain catchment. Now with the shallow well, Elia’s home has two nice improvements for receiving water.

Jim is drilling. Elia is on the left and Omar is cleaning our drill bit on the right.

On the first well, Elia and I drilled together. Here, on the second well, Elia is helping to replace the drill bits as Omar cleans them out.

The new well at Elia’s home!

I was feeling really worn out on the way home from Valle Escondido. By the time I got home, all I was daydreaming about was going to sleep. I had a few tasks to take care of that evening, however¬†before I could go to sleep, a stomach bug arrived. Three things were working in my favor; (1) the bug didn’t hit until I was home…not stuck in a boat during the hour-long commute (2) Jim and Kathy were still in Panama! (3)¬†I had planned a short work day for the next day with two relatively simple, albeit, strenuous tasks. ¬†Another cool note is a gal, named Ahvi, who wanted to help out. I had invited her to go on Friday since it was a short day. Even though I wasn’t there to work, it was a four-person team¬†since Ahvi and Kathy were going to help out.

Simon, Jim, Kathy & Ahvi returned to Buena Esperanza¬†(the community with the husband/wife drilling helpers). They met up with Hortencio and fully completed the well by installing a concrete pad¬†around the base of the well. We always install a concrete sanitary seal around the well when it is first drilled – that will keep contaminates from entering the well from the surface. On top of the seal, we¬†pour a 12″ diameter mini-concrete pad that is about 2″ deep. Sometimes it is a square, but lately we have been using 5-gallon buckets that we cut into a form. The concrete pad poured in Buena Esperanza was an extension of the original small pad. This is something we will usually return to do later in order to give the ladies space for washing clothes.

The final task that the team did was to install rain-catchment gutters on a house in Buena Esperanza. The house already had a large water tank, but their gutters were broken and leaking. It really isn’t an expensive fix (about $45) and it will supply rain-water to the two homes that share the large tank.

Jim & Kathy left on Saturday. It was sad to see them leave, but I am grateful that they were here and we got to spend a week working together. Jim & Kathy are great encouragers to me, Simon and everyone else at Agua Dulce. They are hard workers and enjoy sharing the gospel with others. They want everyone to have the joy of Christ that we have in our lives. I am grateful for them and for Sal, who left on Wednesday, for coming here to serve, to encourage, to bring treats (yum!) and to pray for the people they met along the way.

***Simon’s Boat:¬†Thanks to awesome friends, we are now only $400¬†from having enough to make Simon a new boat! I am not sure how long it will take to make, but I hope I am still here when it is completed so I can take lots of photos!***


Filed under Hydromissions, Panama

One step forward, two steps back 

La Croix, Haiti

I’ve mentioned before that for manual drilling, Haiti is extremely difficult. Even though it is hard (and has a history of blocking my efforts with the rocks that make up most of the country’s subsurface), it doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying different methods and supporting different teams with drilling here in Haiti.

Percussion drilling involved pulling and dropping a 50+lb drilling hammer into the borehole to break apart soil and rock

This time, the team is mostly volunteers from Trinidad and two from the US. This team of 13 people have really worked well together. Prior to my arrival, I only had email contact with the leader, Natasha, and didn’t know anything about the others. It didn’t take long for us all to connect as a family. Perhaps it was 13 people sharing two rooms and one bathroom that helped us connect quickly ¬†ūüėČ

(Update: we now have TWO bathrooms)

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Filed under Haiti, Hydromissions

Drilling in Chiduba (part 2)

In my last post, “Drilling in Chiluba (Part 1)”, I mentioned that my next post would demonstrate the pumps we built, however I still don’t have many photos, so I can just show a couple shots from when we were testing the pumps.

I haven’t been able to retrieve photos from my “mostly dead” phone yet (I’m still hopeful!).

I’m leaving for Haiti in a couple hours so I have a replacement phone now (thanks to some awesome people from¬†Hydromissions!)

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Filed under Hydromissions


It’s been tough to get a strong enough cell signal to update recently, so here is a continuation from the last post about Uganda (Down Goes the Pipe).

After leaving the Rosser family with my new awesome rock breaking tool that they welded from the leafspring, I spent 11 hours on buses and got to Kakooge in the evening. The next morning, the drilling team excitedly named the new tool “bulldozer.”¬†

It took over an hour to assemble the 90′ of GI pipe and lower it into the borehole to test “bulldozer.” It worked well to break apart the quartz-like rock, but lowering it into the Continue reading


Filed under Uganda

Sleeping takes talent…

…if you can manage to sleep in the bed of a pick-up truck driving down a [mostly] dried up riverbed.


I can sleep anywhere

I had a really long traveling day yesterday as I made my way from Haiti to Helene & Peter’s apartment in Princeton Meadows. I happily ate some of the brownies Helene baked me for my birthday before crashing on the air mattress a little before midnight. I came home from work today to more brownies in celebration of my birthday … I am beginning to think I might need to return to those mountains in Haiti to work off all my birthday brownies!

I am going to send out more info and pictures by the end of this week but I just wanted to let you all know that I made it home safe and sound. We did not reach water before we departed the mountain village but the community workers did so well and embraced the technology with such enthusiasm that I believe they will reach the water shortly. We ended up using the percussion method a lot in addition to the auger because we just hit large rock after large rock so the process of breaking through the rock was very slow. The cool part was that we continued to make progress – inch by inch! I will share more soon but I do feel like this trip was incredibly successful!


Filed under Haiti


My original flight would have brought me home very late tonight, but I was able to hop on an earlier flight once I got back to Kampala. P.S. My first breakfast in the States: brownies in chocolate ice cream! Such a healthy start!


Bus ride from Arua to Kampala/Entebbe

Arua to Kampala was an 8 hour bus ride. I was excited to book the trip on a large bus so I didn’t have to sit squeezed in as tight as usual on the mini-bus type taxi. One weird part of the trip was when we all had to get off the bus and walk through a check point and wait for the empty bus to come through to pick us up. No one even checked my passport so the whole event didn’t make sense.


Flight from Entebbe to London

I did my best to sleep during this flight although it started in the morning. I always try to force myself into the time zone of my destination during travel to help with jet lag.


Flight from London to Newark

I had over an hour to kill in the airport so I walked circles around the terminal to try to loosen up in prep for another long flight. I probably looked silly to the people working near my route who saw me walk by about fifteen times before my flight left. I did my best to stay up during the flight by watching hours of cheesy comedy films and sitcoms.


Car ride from Newark to Vineland

My AWESOME dad picked me up with yummy baked goods packed in the car for me : )

Above are my most important post-Uganda essentials. My lovely sister’s first words to me when I got home were “gosh, you stink!”


Filed under Uganda