Today broke just as every other day has for us here in Mbandaka; music playing and babies crying at 5:45 AM. But, something was different this morning. There was a feeling of anticipation in the air. Not just for us, but for the drill team as well.
Our now quite experienced team of drillers was at the well site early this morning to continue cleaning the well. By 11:00 AM the well water being removed by the bailing tool was clear. The chatter picked up and a spring appeared to be in everyone’s step when the D4W team and Carmen returned to the well site after a planning meeting with Rev. Bonanga and his staff.
PVC had been cut and laid out for the water line from the pump up to the surface handle. The inner casing that holds the pump in place was in line on the grass, and the team was eager to weld the joints up and get this show on the road.
After one more lesson from Jacques, the welds were made and the pump lowered into the bore hole. Rev. Bonanga was invited to test the pump to ensure everything was working properly before cement work began. After two short strokes a small stream of pure clear water splashed out of the pump nozzle and onto the ground to a very loud cheer from the D4W team, the drill team and the community members who just happened to be there at that moment.
We have water!!!!!! A formal dedication will be held tomorrow (Friday) and there is still a bit of work to complete. Our drill team wasted no time in attacking the remaining tasks. The outline of the apron was drawn on the ground and shovels quickly turned small amounts of dirt to create the pattern for bricks and mortar.
Our mason on the drill team began barking orders and several other team members moved into position bringing small rock and sand to mix with the cement. Here is the sight which is quite different than the way we mix concrete in the U.S.: Cement mix is poured out in a pile on the hard pack earth that has been swept free of most of the loose dirt. Then sand is added on top. One person gently mixes these together and spreads them out in a circle about four feet across. A wheelbarrow then appears and dumps small brownish-red rocks (as opposed to gravel) on the pile. This is all mixed together and then water is poured on top. More mixing and then you have exactly what you expect to see… good quality concrete.
The team worked well into a rainstorm with four of the guys holding a tarp over the concrete work as our mason finished his job. It is truly a thing of beauty. This is what we have wanted to see since we arrived in Africa. Tomorrow we will dedicate this well and celebrate with the local community as they have a source of clean clear water at their church/school.
Oh, I almost forgot to say that the cistern is full at the annex so Steve and I got to take real showers today!!!