Thursday, May 29, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Posted by Hello...My name is Kareah... at 6:27 AM
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Today is Friday, our free day in El Salvador.
The well is complete.
We leave tomorrow.
Nothing left to do except have a little fun and see what there is to see. George & Annie went to meet Joselita, a little girl that George and his family have sponsored through World Vision for the past 3 years. Stan was preoccupied with Salvadoran Intestinitis. Greg & Joni decided to take it easy and enjoy a walk in the woods. But the rest of us figured it would be a good idea to hang suspended 375 feet over a Salvadoran coffee plantation that lies in the valley of a volcanic mountain range...
With a knick-knack, Patyrak gave the girl a custom luggage tag...
Terrible, I know...I just couldn't resist...
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Thursday - Day 4 on the well
When we showed up this morning the concrete slab was all set and ready to go. The task at hand in order to get the well completed was to drop in the galvanized pipe that the water will actually feed up through. Then we had to put the whole hand pump together. Dropping the pipe into the casing is no small feat, let me tell you. Our well was about 90 feet deep and we had to carefully feed 10 feet of pipe in at a time and then connect the next pipe onto it. And the longer the pipe gets and the deeper it goes into the hole, the heavier it becomes! Stan and Stephen told us that this is usually where communication and nerves begin to break down. Keep in mind that we had all been together for 6 days straight now!
We each had a specific role in this job. Mine was a little less intense since I'm not nearly as strong as the strapping men on my team. But it was still important. I got to be the tool pusher and make sure everyone had the proper wrench at the proper time and to make sure that everyone is communicating with everyone else. If one thing went wrong, we could lose it all in the blink of an eye. It's no fun to think of dropping a heavy pipe down a 90 foot hole! I'm not sure how (or if) you could even get it back out and start over!
It took some serious concentration and a lot of muscle to get that part of the job done, but I was really proud of our team! We all communicated very well and we only had one little slip up that scared us! I think I may have taught a couple of those lovely Salvadoran children a new word in English in that moment. Ooops.
After the pipe was in and the pump was put together, it was back to the hotel to get fed, washed and rested for the dedication ceremony that afternoon. It was nice to go back to the school without 60 pound mud-encrusted work boots strapped to my feet.
So many families from the community, La Planta, came out to the dedication. All the girls had on their nicest clothes...some of them even in frilly holiday dresses. It was very exciting to hear Lucia Alvarado Alvarado, the leader of La Planta, speak and thank our team and LWI for the gift of clean water. Then the principal of the school had the honor of pumping the first water in front of the children. What an beautiful moment. The children's faces were just glowing with excitement and they all started cheering as the water started pouring out.
It was just perfect. Everything I dreamed it would be.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
This morning when we got to the school, the first order of business was to blow all the bentonite (the muddy water that was used in the drilling process) out of the PVC casing and get it prepped for the pipes to go in. This was a really cool experience, because Estuardo blasts air into the hole and all the muddy water comes shooting out like a fountain. It is great when it begins to run clear and you realize that this is the first clean water these kids have had at this school ever! There are no parasites in that water that would make a kid sick! It was just so cool! I danced in the stream of water. Stan got the "money shot" but he hasn't emailed me a copy yet, so here's one of the Mosaic team that will have to do until I can put Stan's photo up.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Tuesday - Day 2 of Drilling
We got a lot done today. At the end of the day yesterday, we hit a layer of rock and it took us a few hours to get just a couple feet through it. But we started working at it again this morning and we finally made it through and were pleased to find that the next 30 feet or so were just small pebbles and gravel so our shifts of drilling in five feet intervals were pretty short. At about 70 feet down, we stopped for a delicious lunch of cold hot dogs (seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it?)...and after that I got up to go hold some PVC pipe so we could cut slits in it to make it into a filter to go in the bottom of the well. As I was holding the pipe, I felt a all the energy drain out of my body like a coke bottle turned upside down. It was the weirdest feeling. I went and sat down and it was all downhill from there.
My teammates came over to check on me, and Katie (The LWI-El Salvador Health & Hygiene Coordinator) insisted that Stan (also an LWI guy, but from Houston) take me to the van and let me recline in the front seat with the A/C on full blast. I sat there for an hour and a half or so and Stan basically poured a few gallons of water, Gatorade and delicious (read: horribly and utterly disgusting) oral recovery blah-blah-blah down my throat. (Oral recovery blah-blah-blah: can't remember the full name, but as Stan would say, "It's what Gatorade should be, but Americans pump it full of high fructose corn syrup and other artificial chemicals." So in essence it was tepid H2O with salt and sugar...mmm...yummy.) So there I sat, concentrating on not vomiting until they decided it was best for me to go back to our hotel.
Abel (and LWI-El Salvador guy) drove me back to the Oasis (our hotel) and Stan came too so he could make sure I was OK. It worked out well since he had some writing to do anyway, and I was grateful to have someone on site who could understand English in the event I uttered some very eloquent last words. Side note: On the way back to the hotel, Abel saw a HUGE iguana cross the road in front of him and decided that the American girl on her death-bed could probably make it long enough for him to try to catch it. He planned on catching the lizard, wrapping it up in a big blue tarp, and putting it in Estuardo's (an LWI- El Salvador guy - He's so cool, you just don't even know!) room as a wonderful prank that evening. But as luck would have it, the iguana escaped Abel's grasp and probably went on to live a very happy life with his iguana wife and babies. I didn't even remember this happening until the next day. I actually sat up in the van and took a photo of the iguana and didn't remember it at all. Come to find out, dehydration feels a little like intoxication...
I ended up not dying (which explains my being able to do this blog-post). I did however sleep until my teammates returned. They had gotten a lot done without me. Doug (a Jedi-knight from Denver, CO) proceeded to tell Stan and me all the glorious things they accomplished in my absence. "We got the hole drilled to 100 feet, and we dropped in all the casing (the PVC pipe.)" I kind of got a little teary-eyed, because my biggest prayer (other than actually hitting an aquifer) was that God would allow me to fully experience the whole process of drilling the well and to keep me from getting sick. After Doug got up, Stan did one of the most sensitive things a friend could do. He completely minimized the work of my teammates. He got a pen and a napkin and drew a diagram of the hole. He said, "All they did was go down 20 more feet...big deal! You did that all day. Then they glued together five plastic pipes and stuck 'em in a hole. Who cares?! All the important stuff will happen tomorrow and you'll be there to see it and do it." I know Stan was just trying to make me feel better, and we both knew that our team busted their butts to get all those things accomplished. But it was really just what I needed at that moment: a friend who cared about me and didn't mind taking the time to help me smile again. Thanks Stan.
This is Katie. She is one of the most amazing girls I've ever met. She's been working in El Salvador for almost a year now. She's the poster-girl for learning a language through immersion! I just love her so much!
Here's George (a teammate from Mosaic) and Stan (in the background with dark hair) showing off some cool yo-yo tricks to an eager audience.
If only Abel could have captured this beast...
what an interesting post this could have been...
Monday, May 12, 2008
Well we're about 1/3 of the way down on our drilling (meaning we've gotten 30 feet down and we'll probably stop at 90). We got to the school at 8 this morning and it took a while to prep the site and get everything ready to start the actual drilling. Part of the prep included me being in a 4 foot deep hole up to my knees in mud. Needless to say, my new work boots don't look anything like they did yesterday! We were divided into 2 teams of four people and each team would drill down 5 feet before we would rotate out. Five feet can take 10 minutes or an hour and a half, depending on what kind of formation you are drilling through at the time. Each time a team is on the drill, the four people have a different job to perform. I think my favorite job so far (or at least the most entertaining one) is mud pit duty. Which is a nice way of saying that I get to lie on my stomach in mud while reaching into a 3 foot mud-pit to remove junk from the suction hose.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
In just a few minutes I'm putting these bags in the jeep and beginning the journey I've dreamed of for years...
This afternoon I'll land in San Salvador and on Monday, I'll throw on a pair of $4 jeans from Thrift Town, a ratty t-shirt and a new pair of Wolverine work boots lovingly picked out and purchased by my husband and learn how to drill a well...
If we have the good fortune to find an internet cafe, I'll keep you posted as I go...
If not, stay tuned and I'll share the rest of this story in the next couple of weeks.
I'm sure there will be lots to tell...
Wish me luck!