Living Water in Salama

The groups that work with Living Water serve on two teams.  The drilling team which focuses primarily on drilling the well and all that goes with that and the hygiene team that works with the local children and women of the village.  

Our drilling team was awesome.  You would seriously think they did this all the time by watching them.  A lot of that can be credited to the strong leadership and preparation from our leader Brad but also to the dedication and willingness to work hard from all the team members.  I will attempt to explain the drilling process to you.  Since I served on hygiene, I missed a lot of steps and also took a lot of pictures of steps that I am not sure what they are officially called.  I will do my best but please excuse my lack of expertise and knowledge on drilling terminology.

After devotion and breakfast each morning, the teams loaded up and headed to the individual villages.  Our team drilled in Salama, Honduras.  

From what I read on line Salama is actually composed of 8 villages with a population total around 7,000.  There are 3 more wells already in petition other areas of the village.  Our well is located a small school.  The school had 2 classes, a kindergarten and a preschool class.  I have now learned that the name under the school Lucila Gamero De Medina is the name of a famous Honduran woman.  She was one of the first literary figures from Honduras and her curriculums are taught throughout the country. 

drilling rig outside the school

When the team arrived, the rig was set up and the pits were dug. 

One of the first things to do is fill the water truck with water. This was used for drilling mud.  The water came from their main local source of water the "river" or small creek in the village.  One the way through the village we wound through roads with all kinds of animals roaming.  Chickens, pigs, dogs.  When we got to the river it made what we were doing so much more real.  Down stream there were little boys (who loved playing and joking with Poppy) swimming.  Ladies waded in with their baskets of laundry to wash clothes.  Trucks drove down in the water to be washed.  Animals grazed and watered.  

On one of the trips, a couple of members of the team were with Dennis, the local Honduran driller.  There were some little boys in the river.  One of them was maybe autistic but definitely special needs.  The other kids were making fun of him and bullying him.  Dennis stepped in and in Spanish told the kids to stop.  And they did.  When they returned to the river each time the same boy was there splashing and playing and they never saw him having any trouble again.  No doubt God placed him there and gave him "nudge" to say something.  

First day drilling went really well!  The team drilled 120 feet on the first day and found water.   Here are some pictures from that day and the process.

the sanitary way to drink water when your are filthy 

Using the shovel to keep the channels clear and flowing 

proper clamp technique

the test 

each layer they drilled too, the rocks were tested.  This is how they knew when they reached the aquafor. 

A hugely successful first day set the team up for a great second day.  And this time I got to join them.  The second day was the most crucial day. Reaming and casing of the well.    The first drill was smaller and the reaming made the opening larger so the casing could be put in.  Once it is reamed, then all the pipes have to be taken out again.  As they come up, they are broken apart with these really big wrench "things".. see super technical. 

pipe breakers 

Even Ashliegh and Allison got in on the pipe breaking!  It was tough work.  They kept asking me if I wanted to try, but I knew that it wasn't in the cards for me.  I mean, seriously? I couldn't even get the van door shut by myself!  Here are some pictures and then a video of our tough pipe breakers.  Take notes here.  Form, speed, working it. 

Allison breaking pipe 
Micah breaking pipe with back up from Femi

Ashliegh working the clamp 

James breaking pipe 

Nugget operating the drilling rig 

Poppy working the clamp 

Once the reaming is done, the casing has to be put in quickly so that the walls of the well don't cave in.  When the casing was going in, things got crazy.  Nugget was literally standing at the top on top of the "pole" or pipe.  There were 3 of our beefiest strongest guys pulling with all their strength and Dennis literally was hanging in the air from the casing to get it down.  Sometimes it is typical that not all the depth of the well is able to be cased.  Sometimes the walls and cave in and it has to be started over. There wasn't much I could do when the casing was being difficult but I was praying please Lord let them get this casing in!

bringing in the casing 

casing going up 

the glue 

Charlie handled the glue job 

waiting a few minutes for it to dry 

Brad handling the casing 

Femi's "one job" 

once dry, the water was needed

Look at all the muscles getting that casing in 

Nugget on top 

Dennis is literally hanging from the casing 
Guess what?  God answered our prayers and abundantly blessed us with completing all 120 feet of casing! That was enough to wear any driller out. 

After the drill was cased, the gravel was cleaned and packed down around the casing.  I even got to try my hand at cleaning the gravel.  We essentially through it in mesh nets and then dunked it down over and over in the drum of water until we just had rocks.  Then it was bagged and brought over to the drill site.  An arm workout for sure. 

"hard" at work these locals working on the gravel packs 
This day ended bizarre.  Here is what I heard.  I am walking back from putting something in the van and my dad looks at me and in the most serious voice says "get inside the school and shut the door right now."  I hear people yelling and everyone is running inside the school to shut the door.  I will tell you that lots of things ran through my mind.  Not one of them did I think bees.  Yes!  Bees.  Apparently a villager was walking up the road towards the site and somehow upset a bee hive.  She was stung so many times that she went into shock and was taken to the hospital.  These bees were angry.  I mean angry.  They literally cleared the streets and sent people running.  They were trying to sneak in the holes in the screens on the school.  We were worried about Brad's dad who has had a reaction to a bee sting before.  He did get end of getting stung but praise God and add it to our list of amazing displays of answered prayers he was fine.   This ended our work at the site that day as we all headed for cover.  That night, Brad brought  home an extra item from the grocery store!

Wednesday the plan was to develop the well, get the concrete work done, and get everything cleaned up.  The plan is usually that the concrete "team" is comprised of local village men, usually the older men that aren't out working in the palms.  This time though, the village provided a group of cute, well dressed, teenagers!  I don't think any of those kids had an idea of the hard work they were in for when they woke up and got dressed in sparkle jeans and flip flops that morning.  

Brad and Nugget welcoming the team and giving them the game plan 

a few of the girls 
Developing the well is essentially just cleaning out all the dirt and getting the well ready. I could act like I knew how this work and say things like hydraulic pump and water pressure but I really don't!  All I can say is it is messy, wet, and dirty fun.  Or they made it look like it anyway :-) 

attaching the hose 

when Nugget turned on the pump, the pressure would shoot the water out the pipe
 So at one point when we first started, the seal did not hold on the top.  James in the white shirt below was standing holding the top.  I was trying to get pictures and all of the sudden the seal blew and muddy water was shooting literally straight up.  James never moved.  Not kidding you. He held that pipe solid.  Praise God that he had his safety glasses on because his eyes could have literally been shot full of mud. People were running everywhere.  After a deep breath and praise that James was okay, everyone was able to laugh about it.  whew. 

A few minutes before the seal blew 

Charlie and the girls holding the pipe on the other side 

the picture I got as I took off running when the mud started flying 

James. Holding steady in the mud 

After the blowout 

Repairing the seal 
The water that was blown out was at first very muddy but soon was shooting clear, clean, fresh water!  We used the water to fill and wash out drums, hoses, the rigs, drilling parts, and all the equipment.  And us! 

cleaning hoses 
washing the rig  
clean up 

clean water!
getting in on the cleaning action 

See the sky in the back of this picture, oh yeah.  Dennis starts pushing everyone to go faster, faster. The rain is coming.  The thing about Honduras well all of Central America is the rainy conditions.  Thank God for the rainy conditions because the heat with lack of air would be just brutal for these people without the cooling daily rains.  This wasn't just a daily mist or sprinkle coming though.  This was a heavenly downpour headed our way.

And then it came.  The team was so hot, dirty, and sticky that the rain from above was refreshing even if it did make the work a little harder.  This day for me was the most inspiring day watching our drilling team work.  There were so many challenges and I promise you not one bad attitude or comment to be found.  They may have internally been growing but they grouped together each time, encouraged each other, gave each other rest when needed, and pushed through. Praising God for the water from the well, living water, and heavenly water from above.

working in the rain  

moving in the form for the concrete  
mixing concrete in the rain 

Brad brining over a load of concrete

he really like the hard hat more than the work :-) 

the line brigade bringing in the rocks for the bottom of the well platform 

Charlie on concrete work 

the rocks were collected early in the week from the creek -  I love they are the foundation for the well 

Pumping the pits 

Nugget and Charlie working on the base of the well 

foundation before rest of concrete was poured 

The team's attitudes were such a direct reflection of their commitments to the purpose and to live their lives for Christ. When it was apparent that the concrete team of teenagers just couldn't handle it the extensive work,  they pulled together and handled the concrete work.   They were exhausted.  They were wet and tired.  And I have to tell you, that wheel barrow full of gravel was no joke.  The pushed through, they did it.  And even smiled about it.  My daily bible verse that morning was from Colossians 3:23  "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."  The whole day as I watched this drilling team work this verse became more and more real to me.  

These guys were tired.  And rightfully so  

A heavy load 

making the mountain to mix the concrete 

dumping concrete loads into the platform  

Proud team captain 

Faithbridge and Living Water in Salama, Honduras for generations to come 
Concrete was poured, the rig moved to the next location, equipment cleaned up.  The next day Thursday was well dedication day!  Each team member got to sign the inside of the well cover.  Our permanent mark that a piece of heart was here in Honduras. 

The well dedication ceremony was incredibly special.  The ceremony or maybe we should call it celebration was in both English and Spanish.  Dennis and Nugget both spoke and translated.  They gave a brief overview of Living Water International.  Felicia spoke to the community on keeping the well clean and sanitary.  The director of the school spoke and shared how much this meant to her school and community.  She shared how they prayed for the funds for this and how God provided.  As team captain, Brad got up and gave a speech.  I must say I didn't think it possible but he was so moved by the experience that he got choked up.  Then I cried too and some of the other team members.   Although the men will swear it was sweat in their eyes :-) The pastor and "mayor" also spoke. The pastor delivered a passage about the women at the well and shared the message of the Gospel with a call for those who wished to know Him.  

Dennis and Nugget started the ceremony  

Felicia on proper use of the well 

with some of the kids 

The director and staff from the school 

Brad pumping the first water 

The director pumping the water 

The pastor pumping the water  
Poppy and the well 

Such an honor!

Our team!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! 
A song that Emilio taught us on the bus sums up perfectly our well drilling experience.

We dig a hole
We dig a hole 
We dig a hole 
And we put the casing in.

We did a hole
We dig a hole
We dig a hole 
And we put the casing in.

God made water,
He put it in the ground.
We pump it up and 
We pass it all around

Jesus is our Saviour
We know He is Our king
We want to Praise Him
And that is why we sing. 

While the team was hard at work drilling, I was blessed to spend time on the hygiene team and with the women and children of the school and village. I will share those experiences on my next post!

The Riley's