It’s been a little more difficult to find time to blog lately. One of the best things about our life and work in Soddo last year was the flexibility of our time. We were busy and had lots to do, but we mostly controlled our time and when we worked. Those days are over now that we’re back at “real jobs” in the city.
Nonetheless, we wanted to give a little blog update on our well drilling project. For those of you who followed our fund-raising campaign at www.glassofhope.org, you’ll know that we met our goal of $80,000 by the end of September. We were amazed at all the generous people who gave to the campaign. It was a real “Obama-style” fund-raising campaign with lots of people giving $100 or so until we reached our goal. Again, we want to say a huge thank you to all who supported the campaign.
So now that we’ve got the money raised, it’s time to get this well drilled. We’re working steadily towards that. As with everything in Ethiopia, projects tend to move a little slower than one would like. We’ve been delayed recently ensuring that we have the best drilling location selected and the best drilling company for that location. Our originally selected location for drilling, recommended to us by the hydrogeologist, was in the gorge below our compound, about 20 meters outside of our lower fence. Before drilling, we wanted to compare costs with a drill location within our compound, which would make it a little closer to pipe the water to our storage tanks and would make it a little easier for the drill rig to access the site. The problem is that now that we live and work in Addis, many of these arrangements take a little more time to coordinate and they involve long day or weekend trips down to Awassa to meet with Water is Life or down to Soddo to meet with the hydrogeologist.
(And as a side note… These trips aren’t any easier when you have to pay a police bribe in order to make a meeting on time because the officer insists that your right brake light doesn’t work, even though it was working fine that morning and still working fine later that day. Or when you rent a car that doesn’t have a functioning fuel gage, and you end up out of gas on the side of the road in the middle of rural Oromia, 50 km from the nearest fuel station).
Our exploration of this alternative drill site revealed that drilling within our compound fence would increased our depth estimate considerably (from 180 meters to over 200 meters), which meant we had to reach out to some other drillers with the capacity to drill to greater depths. The companies that operate these larger drill rigs are considerably more expensive because they are purely for-profit drilling companies, they use more expensive equipment, they use larger drill bits, which drill a larger borehole, and they come from Addis. So, after 6 weeks of exploring this other option, we have concluded that our original plan was the best plan.
We are now hoping to be drilling within the next month. We lost our slot in line with Water is Life during our exploration of the other option, so we have to again wait for them to have their drilling equipment available. We also need to secure a written agreement from the Soddo municipality to drill on the public land outside our compound (we currently have a verbal agreement, but are still awaiting on the formal written agreement).
So despite the delays, we’re still very excited about this project and moving forward with it. If all goes well from here forward, we still hope to have the project completed by mid-dry season so that the Children’s Home doesn’t have to suffer through months with no water again this year. Thanks again for all your support. We’ll continue to keep you updated and once the drilling does begin, you’ll be able to track the progress with pictures on our facebook page (www.facebook.com/hainesgotoethiopia).
We were able to spend the week in Soddo last week. Spending the week with the kids again reminded me why we’re doing this project to start with. We’ll close with a couple of pictures from last week.