After going to Tanzania and summiting Kilimanjaro last summer, I returned a second time to Malawi, this time with Jordan Beakley. I wanted him to have the opportunity to visit a couple of typical Malawi villages, help repair some wells, share the gospel, and see Child Legacy’s project site. This first village we visited together (my third of my overall trip) was a medium sized village whose water well had been broken for 2 years. Fortunately the repair truck was running well today and we experienced no breakdowns as before.
The following photos of Chiputu II Village were taken on my camera except where noted. I hope you enjoy them!
This village seemed more like a tiny trading center, where the people brought food they had grown to this central area to sell or exchange for the products of others.
This was the well we came to restore back to good use.
It was obviously broken. We were told it had not been used for 2 years.
Malawi is a dry and dusty place during their winter (our summer). But it is very nice and cool May, June, and July, since it is far south of the Equator.
I love leaving the 95 degree heat and 95% humidity of Houston in July and go to East Africa, where the weather is soooo much nicer.
This well was bone dry. Not a trickle of water running down the chute.
I later kicked myself for not getting a photo of the first stream of water after we completed the repairs!
As soon as we showed up, and it was obvious what our intentions were, many people gathered around to see if we were indeed going to be able to fix it.
85% of Malawians live by subsistence, which means they grow enough to survive. There are no jobs for this 85% outside of raising enough food for their families to live on.
This village had a good supply of maize (corn) to help last them through the dry season. Corn is grown during the rainy season, which is from around November to March.
The news this year (2013) is that this past rainy season produced a bumper crop of maize for the people of Malawi – awesome news.
I always try to remember to ask where the alternate water source is for each village or school that I go to. There were two in Chiputu village.
This woman is seen pulling up the plastic container full of water from this hand dug hole in the ground. She then dumped it into the green bucket to take to her family to use for cleaning, laundry, or preparing a meal.
This was the other alternative water source. The plastic container is lowered by rope through this very nasty sandbagged encircled hole in the ground.
Note that the plastic container is just laying on the ground when not in use. Dirt that probably has traces of animal feces in it sticks to the wet container and ends up in the water hole. This water is definitely contaminated.
Water from these contaminated water sources is used for all the basic needs in a village.
This woman is shown washing her clothes with it. Probably an ok use for this type of water.
But it is also used for preparing meals like in this family’s kitchen.
Here is the typical mode of transporting heavier items over significant distances – a couple of oxen and a cart with old car/truck tires.
Back at the well, one of the crew members (behind the well head) shows one of the villager men and a young boy how to dismantle the head. Pastor Lester Nkhoma is looking over the scene.
In this case the bolts had to be hack-sawed off because the nuts were literally rusted solid to the bolts.
Villagers commonly want to take ownership and help, but they do not have the expertise, tools, or funds to do the job themselves. If they were trained to fix the well, and it didn’t break for another 5 years, would they remember how to do it? Of course not. I certainly wouldn’t either. That is why it makes so much sense to have a well trained, well experienced, traveling crew of 4 Malawian men that speak the language and can get the job done in just a few hours.
Once the well head is off all the pump rods come out, then the riser pipe, made out of PVC is next. It has to be cut with a hacksaw as the segments have been previously glued together.
The always curious kids are wondering what is coming next in the repair process.
The kids soon see that sterilizing the well is next.
Before we opened the well up to pull out all the old worn out parts, the well was sterile. However, just the process of opening it up to the atmosphere and contaminants, on our hands for example, subject it to contamination. So, pouring a fairly concentrated bleach solution down the well bore before all new parts are installed insures that any contaminants are killed.
After everything is restored and sealed up, the well is tested, but the villagers are asked to not pump the well for 24 hours to let the bleach do its job.
New riser pipe is next to be put back in the well bore.
A rope is attached to the lowermost part of the riser pipe. It is used to lower (and retrieve) the riser pipe. It stays in the well bore. Another reason to sterilize the well. Who knows what all stuff has stuck to the rope while in the truck, on the ground, and in our hands before it is dropped into the well for the next 5 years.
Jordan assists two of the CLI crew and a couple of the village men.
The last of the riser pipe is placed in the well by two of the crew with two of the village men assisting.
The last step before the well head is put in place are the pump rods that go down the riser pipe (not shown).
The well head is put in place and secured by Jordan and one of the crew members.
While Jordan is busy helping to finish the well, I sneak off and get some photos of the children.
Now there is something you do not see every day in Malawi – look at the size of those earrings!
The little guy on the right wearing the USA shirt doesn’t think I can see him.
The other one thinks he is hiding behind his sister.
What can I say about this one. This little girl’s smile just melted my heart.
Everyone wants their photos taken!
Meanwhile I check up on Jordan. He and the crew just about have the well head cinched up.
And Happy Days…
We like to give a soccer ball and sometimes a volleyball to the village. We always ask Pastor Lester (right) to translate and explain to the village chief (left holding the ball) that we would like to see the ball shared and not dominated by one particular group or another as we know that can cause problems. We can only hope that he will insure that for us.
I hope you enjoyed Chiputu II Village and have a blessed day!
If you would like to see more villages like Chiputu II have their water wells restored to full functionality bringing clean, safe, drinking water back to their people, check out our fundraising link below and consider supporting! We would really appreciate it!