Russ and our son, Samuel, are preparing to leave for Kenya soon and conversation in our home is centered around travel plans, vaccines, and a schedule to keep the family functioning in their absence. As we were talking around the dinner table recently, Rusty said, “Dad, I think you need to solve the problem of World Thirst.” Of course water is about much more than thirst, but there is no denying the desperate need people have for clean water.
The purpose of this trip is to train Until Then’s Kenyan partners to build simple pumps to place in the wells they are digging.
Did you know that there are between one and two million wells with broken pumps in Sub-Saharan Africa? Most of these pumps were manufactured in other countries and replacement parts are unavailable locally, rendering them useless once a small piece has failed or worn out. Furthermore, lack of understanding of how even simple pumps work, and failure to transition ownership of and responsibility for the pump to the local community prevents those served by the pump from attempting to fix it.
I can only imagine the hope that went into those many wells which at one time had fresh water pouring from them. I can also imagine the sorrow the people felt when these pumps failed and they were forced to resume walking long distances to fetch water from a dirty water hole.
Until Then’s previous trip to Kenya, which was partnered with Freewaters, focused on training our Kenyan partners in a simple, low-tech method of well drilling. The goal of this trip will be to check on the new wells, plan for future well sites, and teach our partners how to build simple pumps. These pumps can be built with “off the shelf” hardware supplies at an estimated cost of less than $10.00 per pump. Russ plans to spend time in the hardware stores pricing out the supplies to get a more exact number, but that is his best guess.
By teaching the people that will be served by the well how to build their own pumps, he will simultaneously be instructing them in how to repair the pump when a part fails. They will no longer be dependent upon an outside organization supplying them with a new pump, nor will they be forced to abandon a well when the pump fails. The people will be able to build it themselves.
Our son, Samuel, will be Russ’ right-hand man, teaching and building pumps alongside him. He is studying mechanical engineering and is one of those guys who has the great combination of an inventive mind and productive hands
With the ability to dig wells using low-tech methods and build simple pumps, we are excited that clean water will become more available to the people of Kitale. The adventure continues for our family and for Until Then.
I wrote this post for the Until Then website, but since we’re all friends here, I’m just going to add that while I am thankful for this amazing opportunity, I look toward it with some anxiety. I need to pray more and worry less. We planned the timing of this trip very carefully – the university is done, but my two school girls are still in school. They are both much happier when they have the structure of their school days, which I hope and pray will minimize the challenges for all of us. My mind is full of thoughts and plans, and my desk is covered with lists, schedules, menus, and more.
But before any of this begins, we have Mimi’s college graduation to celebrate this weekend! We have family coming to town to celebrate with us, which is going to be great fun. I’ll fill you all in later!
This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.