Tag Archives: well

The Final Days

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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 🙂

 

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Simon working on a well in Shark Hole


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Simon with a family near their well in Isla Tigre


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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 😉  

 

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No Sharks in Shark Hole

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Cloudy skies don’t make for the best days to go out, but Simon and I had two communities scheduled and it didn’t look too bad outside.

Simon and I headed out on a cloudy morning to go to two different communities; Buena Esperanza (Good Hope) and Shark Hole. Contrary to the name, I have checked multiple times and have yet to see a shark near Shark Hole (bummer!).

(The last time I was in Buena Esperanza was with the Healing Fund team. They went to Buena Esperanza to have a Medical/Dental Clinic and replace/install gutters for rainwater catchment systems. At that time, I helped both the Medical/Dental and the Water team, while Simon walked throughout the community with Phil (from the Healing Fund team) to learn about how the individual homes accessed water. After Simon finished, I went with him to look at an “ojo de agua” (eye of water) and sort out a plan for a well.)

The day before our arrival, I had called Hortencio (a man, from Buena Esperanza, who agreed to help drill the well) to set up our start time. Our “approximate” start time.

Simon and I arrived, walked up into the community and started asking around to find Hortencio. The first two people we asked did not know who we were asking for, so I was starting to get nervous. By the third person, I realized that I wasn’t pronouncing his name correctly (my jersey-spanish accent had accidentally dropped the “t” from his name). Once that mystery was solved, we were brought to the home of his mother-in-law.

Neither his wife or mother-in-law knew where Hortencio was, so we waited and chatted with them for a bit. A young boy sitting on the mother-in-law’s lap was a child I recognized from the medical clinic. Doctor Ron made a point to show this boy’s skin to all of us helping that day because of the severe reactions he was having to the bug bites. The young boy had an autoimmune disorder so he couldn’t fight the infections caused from scratching the bug bites. He was covered in awful sores. He was given a topical antibiotic (maybe an oral antibiotic as well, but I can’t remember). I asked the women there if they were using the topical medicine and if they had any of it left. They were out of the medicine. They showed me some of the healed sores where the medicine had been effective so I told them I would bring them more when I returned to Buena Esperanza. It is a really expensive medication so the hope is that they will use it sparingly so it lasts.

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The little boy sitting comfortably with his grandma

Hortencio arrived about twenty minutes later and we got to work. I was really impressed with Hortencio’s work ethic. He did a lot of the drilling on his own. As it got deeper, Simon and I helped, but Hortencio really worked hard and didn’t slow down. He had seen some of my wells last year and wanted one in his community. Now that we were there, he really demonstrated his desire for a well by his hard work. BUT, guess what was even better than Hortencio’s work?! His wife helped too! This has never happened with my drilling projects in the Ngobe communities. While Hortencio and Simon were drilling, I was disconnecting and cleaning out the drill bit during the process (once the drill bucket is filled, it’s lifted out of the borehole and the soil is dumped out. In Panama, the soil is very sticky clay so it is harder and more time consuming to clean the bucket out each time). Hortencio’s wife had been watching me while I was working and I got the feeling she wanted to try, but didn’t know how to approach her or offer her the job. It all worked out when Simon and I left for about 15 minutes to check on a water tank we installed with my first little team at a home nearby. When we returned, Hortencio’s wife had taken over my roll of cleaning the drill bucket. I was beyond excited! It was so great to see the two of them working together for their community well!

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Husband and Wife drilling team!

Since I lost my spot working on the drill, I went to one of my least favorite parts of the borehole well process. Cutting the screen.

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I really don’t love cutting the screen. I usually find a helper to cut half (I always bring two saws) but on this particular day, I did it all myself.

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Drinking coffee (or something that is made to look like coffee). It actually didn’t taste much like coffee, so it was easier to drink 😉

After we finished drilling the well at Buena Esperanza, Simon and I went to Shark Hole. On our way, we stopped off at Dejada to drop off our drilling equipment and 4″ pvc pipe. We weren’t going to be using those items at Shark Hole and needed a safe place to store them while we worked. Unfortunately, theft is very common. Simon had his motor stolen about six months ago. Since then, he has worked on weekends and saved his money for a new one. Simon was 3/4th of the way paid off when one of my teammates from the States and his wife decided to pay for the rest (and donate to his future boat!). It was a huge blessing to Simon and now we are hoping to get him enough for a new fiberglass boat (he uses a wooden Cayuco).

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Dejada is where we stored our equipment for safe keeping while we worked in Shark Hole

While we were in Buena Esperanza, it had rained a bit, but not much. The sky remained dark as we travelled to Dejada and then on to Shark Hole. Once we reached Shark Hole and climbed up to install the first pump, the rain started. It was torrential. One of our volunteers immediately abandoned the project. He ran to a building to take cover. Simon looked at me and I decided to keep us going. I didn’t want to wait out the storm because it was already late afternoon. I didn’t want to get home after dark. We worked for about an hour in the torrential rain. My rubber boots filled up from water running down my pant-legs. I actually got cold – in Panama! We finished one pump, but couldn’t complete the second pump because one of the pipes I grabbed was the wrong schedule.IMG_1555

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We had a lot of bailing before we could head home (many gallons of water!)

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It stopped raining as we were bailing so we travelled home under dark, but not storming, clouds

I was freezing by the time we got home. With 90-degree+ days and 100% humidity, cold is not a typical feeling here.

All around, a really good day. One more well drilled (Buena Esperanza) and one pump installed (Shark Hole).

As you are reading this post, we should be on our way back to Buena Esperanza to install a pump in their new well and bring the medicine to the little boy with the infections. After that, we will return to Shark Hole to install a pump there and sort out where the next well will be drilled.

The list of projects is ever growing and I couldn’t be happier! I am so thankful that Simon LOVES working on wells and building relationships that lead to sharing the message of Christ’s love. I train, support and work with Simon so he can be the lead on these water projects. In the villages, I have him in the front, explaining the drill and explaining why we are doing it. I will leave in about a month, but Simon will keep on working in these communities and building relationships with those he is serving. Ultimately, we want those relationships to lead to more people living their lives to glorify God. Simon knows his own culture and knows that this is a long, slow process. He is the type of teammate that I am confident will continue to provide quality wells while gently sharing his testimony of Christ’s redeeming grace.

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Sun sets beyond Playa Hermosa (where we drilled a well with Jess, Zack, Pat and Kat in March)

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My Next 4 (0r 5) Countries

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South Sudan, 2011

In two weeks, I leave for an intense schedule of projects in Eastern Africa.

Am I ready?

Nope  đŸ˜‰    …but I will [have to] be in two weeks.

Uganda will be my first stop. I will be working with Washington, an awesome Ugandan national, who I trained with our drilling equipment in 2012. Washington has been drilling and managing latrine construction projects on behalf of Hydromissions for the past 4 years. We will be drilling two borehole wells – one in Butega village and one in Nyakadot village. At this moment I have funds for one latrine construction project for a school in Kiroza village, but if I raise more support, a primary school has been identified for another latrine project. The latrine projects require more material which makes them more expensive then the borehole wells.

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Walking to town, Uganda 2012. Washington is on my left, wearing the green shirt. I am guessing he is around 6’7″ – a massive man with a quiet disposition.

In addition to working with Washington, I will have two volunteers from the States for part of the time. This will be so nice! Besides the Gift a Goat project team (where we need 4-6 people), I spend most of my time traveling alone for the projects.

My first week will be with Jessica, a civil engineer grad from Rowan who has worked with me in Panama and El Salvador. Jess will assist in training national volunteers and checking on the well drilled in 2012.

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Patrick, Me & Jessica on our way home from our 2014 Panama project

When I drop Jess off at the airport, I will be meeting with John. John and I have worked together in Haiti on the “Gift a Goat” projects and he has worked on multiple bridge projects in Panama over the past couple of years. John will be working on borehole well drilling for two weeks.

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John, left, en route to Haiti with the Gift a Goat team in 2015

Another part of my travels will be visiting missionary friends serving in different regions of Uganda. The Rosser and Craig families serve for different ministries in appropriate technologies, education, well-drilling and farming. Jennifer, an amazing nurse, treats illnesses, responds to emergencies and, most recently, assists in many many births. I learn as much as I can from these visits and apply it to the training I provide in other communities worldwide. I am really excited to visit some of the Water for All drilling clubs started by the Rossers. The manual drilling method they use is different from Hydromissions, but I think it will be quite useful to incorporate in some communities – especially areas with harder subsurfaces.

Traveling to all the locations I have planned in Uganda will not be easy. The long bumpy buses will take up many days during my 5-weeks in country, but ultimately,  I will enjoy being back in “The Pearl of Africa.”

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Waiting for my bus/van to leave in 2012. Hawkers will sell you anything through the bus window – even a live chicken!

After Uganda (with a possible quick stop in Rwanda), I will be traveling to Ethiopia to train a team in drilling, pumps and hygiene education, Kenya to visit former projects and teach pumps and Malawi to train borehole well drilling, pumps and hygiene education. Total time will be about 2 months for all of these projects.

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My 4 scheduled stops so far (with Rwanda as my possible 5th)

I will update you all as much as possible throughout the course of these projects!

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Panama Projects

 

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Home and cayucos in Shark Hole, Panama

Each Hydromissions project is unique because we work in many countries, most of which have different climates, languages and cultures within themselves. Every project has its own set of challenges, whether it is difficult soil conditions, limited material or uncooperative weather, to name a few.

While I don’t always make it back to each community where I manage projects, I try when possible. One of the benefits of multiple projects in Panama is that I am able to easily check on projects that I have worked on in years past.

One location I checked a few times during this last trip was the pipeline constructed back in 2015. You can read about the construction in this post- Pipeline. The line looked good with no visible holes in the pipe. The community leader assigned a family member to make sure all of the valves were closed in the afternoon to give the spring time to fill each night and manages any repairs if needed.

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The Pipeline from November 2015 is looking good!

One of my favorite Panama projects is the well that was drilled with the engineering students from Rowan University during their Spring Break in 2014. This well is used all day and sometimes at night too. I am so encouraged because the water flow (and pvc pump) has kept up with the demand for over two years now!

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Well drilled in March 2014 with engineering students from Rowan University 

I am grateful for the relationship that I have with the Wood family and Simon and his family. Those two contacts in Panama make it easier to coordinate and work on projects to serve the Ngobe communities.

Simon, a Ngobe himself, is now working with Hydromissions and The Healing Fund, part-time, to continue well drilling and sharing the word of God on the surrounding islands year-round.

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Simon starting a bore hole well on Isla Bastimentos

Please keep the Wood Family and Simon and his family in prayer as they work to share the gospel and provide for the physical needs of the communities surrounding them.

 

 

 

 

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5 Awesome Volunteers!

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Simon, driving the panga boat out of Shark Hole

One of the first projects in Panama was to check out a new community called Dejada for a potential rain catchment system. Dejada was described as being near another community that I thought was called “Charcoal.” It sounded like “Charcoal” or “Sharcoal,” but it was neither. It was called “Shark Hole.” I am not joking- I felt a little less excited about going in Simon’s cayuco when I found out the real name. I woke up to morning thunderstorms the day we planned to go so we cancelled it for the following week. I mean, who wants to end up in the water in “Shark Hole?” Not me 😉 Continue reading

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2015 Review

I am so excited to announce that WE REACHED OUR FUNDING GOAL for the “Gift a Goat & More” campaign! Thank you all for supporting and sharing the fundraiser with your friends and family!

As I am preparing for my 2016 projects, I realized that I almost forgot to highlight what we have accomplished together in 2015!

See the video below for a recap of some of my main projects.

Thank you all so much for your ongoing support of these water, sanitation, hygiene and livestock programs.

I consider you all part of my team as I would not be able to be working in the field without you all supporting me in many different ways!

Have a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

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December 24, 2015 · 12:41 pm

Isla Tigre has a new well!

New Well on Isla Tigre!

New Well on Isla Tigre!

Simon (pictured in red shirt), Raul & Chuck drilled a new well on Isla Tigre!

Simon, who I trained 6-months ago, has drilled 3 other wells previously on Isla Tigre.

This new well will serve a cluster of 3 homes (about 15 people), however each home can have additional relatives staying for long periods at any given time, so it is hard to get an accurate headcount. The wells we drill on the islands here in Panama produce a very good amount of water. We tap into subsurface springs and can’t even bail the water because it flows in so fast. The first well we drilled in March 2014 hasn’t run dry even though it is used day and night!

This particular well was sponsored by a donation from a non-profit made up of a community of givers called Gethrr. Thank you so much for your generosity Gethrr!

Praises: We had more rain on Saturday for our rainwater storage! My fever is gone! 

Prayers: Health protection for those who aren’t sick and healing for those who are – there is just a lot going around the village. Support from the community to finish the pipeline project. 

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