How long does it take to drill a well?
About 5 days, without any major problems. Well 2 in Balatsit is now complete to 51 meters, cleaned and a little late.
How long does it take to install a pump and piping, and wire a solar controller?
Approximately 4.5 hours. FORAX finished cleaning the well the day I had to leave village, in fact the day of my flight out of Cameroon. I arrived at the second site at 6:30am. My flight wasn’t until 10:50pm. It started to rain. Well drilling belongs in the category of ‘Dirty Jobs’ for a reason, but I think it’s even messier in Africa because of the clay. The drilling had already saturated the land around the well. For spatial reasons, we had located the tanks and panels uphill from the well. Not only were we stepping through shoe deep mud around the well to lower the pump, but also climbing up and down this small, wet mound to get to the tanks and panels. So in order to get down this mound to get one of the million tools partially sheltered from the rain in one of the boutiques, I would plant my feet and slide down, snowboard-style...except not that graceful. To get up it, I had to have someone pull me with a length of PVC. It was mildly hilarious.
Rain. rain. rain on my parade.
We finished everything but wiring the float switch and covering the trenches by 11am, at which point I had to leave to catch a five-hour bus to Younde. Janvier will finish the wiring and cover the trenches and Nura will report on how the system is operating.
Two moto rides, one five-hour bus ride, three taxis and two planes later, I arrived at home. The last question on the airport custom’s form asks if you are bringing soil into the country. I lied. I had changed my clothes before boarding, but there was nothing I could do about my shoes. My shoes are caked in mud and when I arrived in Newark International Airport, I think it was fairly evident from my appearance that I installed a pump in Africa this morning in the rain, in spite of my efforts to clean the mud off my arms and legs with wet wipes.
It didn’t occur to me that the next time I had internet access to post this news would be after I had hugged my family, ate a cheeseburger and took a hot shower. My skin no longer has a red-orange tint, but I feel like maybe I lost something more than just the clay engrained in my skin. I already miss Bamendjou.