(Mark Nash) We only have four more days to work on wells, and this morning it began to look like the environment would win. The well site at Bokolimba has not produced any soil other than clay since the three or four meters. It is beginning to look like there is a clay formation in excess of thirty meters (98 feet) thick that runs throughout the entire western side of the country.
Our team has made exceptional progress in spite of the tough working conditions digging clay out of our tools every time we bring up the augers. And their knowledge and ability continues to increase at a very fast pace. We have been able to train on all the drilling tools, so we are not getting too discouraged at this point in time.
After the team was up and running this morning, Carmen, Jacques, Steve and I, along with Papa Lofasi from Rev. Bonanga’s staff went to seek out other drilling teams in town. There was a UNICEF crew over by Nuvelle City drilling a well using a rotary jet and we hoped they could tell us about something about soil conditions that we didn’t already know. We got there are found a contract engineer from Kinshasa who knew that they were at 30 meters, the bottom 28 was all clay, and that was it. They were stopping and casing the well at 30 meters. Not a lot of help there. But, it was interesting though to see that this well site was on the grounds of a Disciples of Christ church and school.
Next up, we went searching for the Oxfam (another NGO) water engineer. Oxfam doesn’t drill wells, but they do rehabilitate them. Before we got to Oxfam we made a short side trip and picked up four of the cutest little kids in their school uniforms. Then we proceeded on our mission with four kids under the age of six on our laps.
When we arrived at the Oxfam headquarters (which had moved since the last time our driver had been there resulting in an additional ten minutes on the road) each of us had to sign in at the guard shack at the gate. Then we sat in a covered patio area for some thirty minutes waiting to speak to the engineer. The four kids stayed in truck and every few minutes Papa Lofasi would quietly whistle at them to behave.
Finally we were told that the engineer was at lunch, so we loaded back up and headed off. He wasn’t at the restaurant where we were told he would be, so we headed for Papa Lofasi’s house and dropped off the kids, met his mother and then headed back to the well site. Steve and I are still trying to figure out if those were Papa Lofasi’s kids or grandkids.
The day did end on a high note. Reaching 12 meters and calling Matt back at Water 4 in Oklahoma City, we were told that with the top layers that we found and the depth of the water table that we could complete the well at this depth. Not ideal, but it will work. So we ended the day installing the casing and filter screen along with most of the filter pack. Tomorrow we start developing (cleaning) the well!