Well, Well, Well

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Those who pay monthly water bills will appreciate our monthly water bill over here: $0. When we built a house in the village, we were able to hook up a pipeline to the government well and have reliable water.

Welllll, most of the time.

You get what you pay for. After our third daughter was born, we got a water tank, because by then, the water was only on at night. Then it trickled down to nothing. After speaking with municipal workers “busy” playing solitaire on their computers who laughingly promised to come fix the government’s pump in our area, but still having NO water three weeks later, last week we finally purchased a well!

Going without something really increases your gratitude when you get that thing back again! We are so thankful for our new well. It was like having a field trip in our own backyard to see the big trucks come in to drill the well. We had a light school day so the kids could follow the process. Would you like to see?

Carson was a little frightened by the big drill for the well. He's hiding out here in the garage--able to see the action from a safe distance while still enjoying a snack.

Carson was a little frightened by the big drill for the well. He’s hiding out here in the garage–able to see the action from a safe distance while still enjoying a snack.

First, the owner of the company walks around holding a V-shaped tree branch in both hands in a particular manner pointing in front of his chest. When there is water underground, the V amazingly points downward of its own accord! Thankfully, they found water right under our driveway so that we didn’t have to cut our fence to allow the truck into the corner of our yard.

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This truck has the drill on the back. We barely fit the truck into our driveway and had to remove our beautiful honeysuckle-lined arch (without a new drill my husband had just bought to put up a security door against our neighbor thief, who just stole the drill two days before–isn’t that ironic?)

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The hose going over to the right is connected to a second truck, which hosts the compressor for the drill. It’s the power source for the drill.

When the drill begins, the engine of the compressor roars, and black smoke fills the sky.

When the drill begins, the engine of the compressor roars, and black smoke fills the sky.

A shovel near the drill catches some dirt that they measure out onto our driveway in piles representing one meter further down each. The rest of the dirt is scooped into a wall to direct the water down the road for when we hit water. It’s neat to note the difference in soil colors for each meter further down.

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I had Caleb draw different kinds of soil for his nature journal. Each pile represents one more meter drilled for our well.

I had Caleb draw different kinds of soil for his nature journal. Each pile represents one more meter drilled for our well.

Water at 21 meters!

Water at 21 meters!

The soil got wetter around 20 meters, and then we hit water! That is excellent! It should have saved us money, since you pay based on how many meters are drilled; but the company owner suggests that all customers go down to at least 60 meters. We went down to 55.

Then they put in the “casing.” This doesn’t go the full 55 meters down, only about 35. Inside that goes the pipeline and the pump to pump the water up to our tank. From that an electrical line is run into the house, mounted in a box on the wall, and attached to a plug. Whenever we switch on the plug, water fills our tank. We had a manhole cover made to cover the top of the well.

55 piles of dirt show 55 meters down.

55 piles of dirt show 55 meters down.

After they found water, water was constantly running down our yard into the road for the rest of the day. The boys made a dam, as well as "bricks" with the slag and rock unearthed from beneath our driveway.

After they found water, water was constantly running down our yard into the road for the rest of the day. The boys made a dam, as well as “bricks” with the slag and rock unearthed from beneath our driveway.

I was surprised that well water isn’t necessarily clean. After getting the well, we’ve still struggled with water so dirty that I felt I couldn’t cook with it and would be embarrassed for people to think that our dishwater or toilets are always that dirty. We’re still figuring out why the water is dirty: perhaps the casing wasn’t welded properly, or perhaps we will have to pump water for a while before everything settles and becomes clean. Well anyway, we are so grateful to God for our well!

The high drill could be seen far into the village and was the main attraction once the village kids got out of school that day.

The high drill could be seen from afar and was the main attraction once the village kids got out of school.

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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2 Responses to Well, Well, Well

  1. That was very interesting to read and see the pictures. I’m so glad you have a well, but I hope your water will be clean!

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