Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kalima Well-Drilling

August 18, 2013:  I went to Okanagan lake with my friend Landon, who was determined to teach me how to stay above water on a wakeboard.  Mission accomplished - then I'm on my way home to pick up my bags and head to the airport with my parents.

August 19, way to early in the morning:  I'm stuck in the conveyor system in the passenger processing plant known as the Toronto airport.  My bag isn't showing up on the screens as having passed US customs, and it's almost time for my next flight.

August 21:  having repeated my prayers for a jet-pack and helmet so I can avoid airport terminals and dozen-hour flights, I step into the Kigali, Rwanda airport.  Now the guys in uniforms aren't letting me through to the baggage claim, since I don't already have a visa.  Finally I talk to the right guy, who goes through the simple process to give me my travel visa.

I finally get out to the arrival area, where Nathan, his mom Alvina, and girlfriend Starla are waiting for me.  There's no need to look for my bag on the baggage conveyor, so we rush off in an attempt to catch a run-away bus west.  We catch up to the bus at a stop just outside the sprawl of Kigali.  We relax, and watch the well-farmed hills of Rwanda pass by.

Rwandan hills - it was dark before we go to the nice, jungle-covered hills on the border.

 Great company: Nathan and Starla above, Alvina being herself below (photo by Starla)
After a night at a border- town in Rwanda, we cross the outflow of Lake Kivu to enter D.R. Congo.
It's so hard to let little old ladies carry our heavy bags on their backs, up the hill to the DRC customs building.
Views of Lake Kivu from the part of Bukava we were lodging in

Fishers on Lake Kivu above, boy showing me a common past-tome beside the lake below
A man arrived at our hotel to sell his paintings.  I had no need of paintings, but he needed enough money to travel and see relatives.

We had a week to waste in Bukavu, so I asked Fevrier about a trip to Kahuzi Park.  Therefore we spent a morning waiting at Biosadec University for permission and arrangements.  Some of the Biosadec staff decided to take us on an outing.  We didn't end up in the park, as far as I know, but we did make it out to a rural area where we delivered a huge lunch of peanuts and bananas to a semi-tame baboon.  Then we saw some other Biosadec projects.  At a little farm of theirs, it was obvious that the caretaker would have benefited from the baboon's meal much more than the spoiled baboon, but all I had left were a few squashed bananas.

The professional way to fix wiring
Yes, they do fly - I saw them
We finally made it to Kindu.  There, it took a couple days of waiting in offices and banks for Nathan to receive payment for wells he'd and his crew had completed.
Views from the river ferry at Kindu
The journey to Kalima ended up being quite a story - thanks to a semi-reckless driver with no spare tire.  We sped / bounced past a truck loaded with people - then the van we were in died.  The truck driver lent us his battery to get the (diesel) van started again.  We again sped past the truck - then blew a tire.  The truck driver tried to help us get the van going - it was painful watching them try to put on a tire and rim of the wrong size - and with a different bolt spacing.  Anyway, the truck driver offered us a ride to Kalima, then stayed around while Nathan's crew fixed the van's tire, then took Azaria back to the van with the tire, then came back.  It was sure nice of him to spend half his night helping us.
Kayumba pumps a recently-installed well in Kalima

It's good to see the well getting used well - you'll see this same well later

Kalima church - you should have heard them sing

talented bird

It was great to learn how to use the little trailer-mounted drill rig.

This was my favorite job.  In the African heat, I didn't try so hard to avoid the spray

view near drilling site

There was usually a crowd supervising

Family I walked a couple miles with when I was on a Sabbath-afternoon stroll.  He spoke a bit of English.  They still had hours of walking at this point.

 Michel, our host's son, took Nathan and I on a tour.  We passed through an abandoned Belgian settlement - now it's a school.


Same well as shown above, during a repair.  If you expand these pictures and look closely, you can see the PVC pipe.  We took it out as one piece by directing it up over a jackfruit tree and down into the neighbours' yard.  We broke it when we tried to put it back in, so still had to do some gluing. 

Starla and Alvina got some good pictures of well-drilling that I missed - I'll try to post some of them soon