Well Repair

John and Austin are now moving into their third week in Kenya. They have repaired two wells and traveled yesterday to Nairobi to pick up Silas who will be joining them for two weeks. Below is their account of the Bonyagwanga Well repair.


On the 15th of July,  We went to the well at Bonyagwanga, in Tabaka and surveyed the well determining it was an African Development pump. The community members and chief came out and discussed with us repairing the well to be able to involve them in maintaining and repairing their own water source. After the initial survey we went to Kisii to buy the tools for repairing this kind of pump. Through a series of asking where tools were and following people through back alleys and streets to different shops,  we were able to find the tools we needed. On the 18th, we returned to the well with our plans for repair, the O-rings, the plunger, and the foot valve. Unfortunately, during our attempt to recover the foot valve, we discovered that the pipe going into the ground had broken off. Thankfully, these wells often have ropes tied all the way to the bottom and we were able to retrieve the entire section of pipe through a group effort from the community members and some good ol’ ingenuity. By cutting trees for “push poles” to extract the 76 foot long pipe, we were able to bring it out without bending it to the point of breaking. After the extraction we covered their well hole so nothing could be dropped in it and the community had an official village meeting, lead by the assistant chief, where we answered their questions and they thanked us heartily for what we were doing with them. After seeing what we needed to repair the well we documented our finds, and went back to Mash Park to rest. On the following Monday we went back into Kisii to get the materials to repair the pipe. Returning to the well, we tested all the joints, repaired the pipe, and then commenced to put the pipe back into the well. Once again through the help of “push poles” (cut trees with forks in them) we reinstalled the pipe and pump by 1:30 and joined in the celebration of the now working pump with the people of Bonyagwanga. This a milestone for SWO, because this is our first pump repair and after two years of no water from this well, the people had water again.


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