The village wanted to move the water line from the spring we have been using for the last 4 years to another spring that flows year round. This new spring was actually the spring we wanted to use from the beginning but the lady that owned it wanted an outrageous amount of money to use it. Recently she sold the land the spring was on for much less than what she wanted us to pay just to use the spring!
The school was also asking us to help bring water to the school. They have tried digging wells over the years but they always dry up and are not very close to the school. There were some bathrooms built with toilets and sinks with faucets but there was no water going to the building to use. There are about 140 students that go to school there 8 hrs a day and they don’t have access to water. We wanted to help and moving to this new spring would make it doable for them.
After a meeting with the parents of the students and meeting with the people of Paradi, a plan was in place to pull the line and move it to the new spring. It looked like it could be done in 3-4 days. By half way through day 2 only half the men were still there working and even less showed up on day 3. Many of the men were getting busy with harvesting their corn and after ‘putting in their time’, didn’t come back to help.
It is very normal for the people here to live with little water. They don’t think anything of it. But our families are very used to using water. It is hard to go with very little water to use to clean, bathe and drink. We started with each of our 2000L water tanks full. It rained the first and second night after the water line was disconnected which kept our tanks full. But after 4 days of work on the line and still no water, we went into severe conservation mode. We bathed only if necessary. We flushed only when really necessary! We used water from the village pump behind our house to wash dishes and for bathing. We limited the cleaning in the house too. By day 6 of no water many of the village wells were without water. The one behind our house was running dry by mid morning. We started thinking of needing to head to town. We didn’t want to be a burden to the village supply of water for those that have to live here. But the guest house was full of people. If we needed to go out we would have to stay in hotels. We took each day as it came.
We used the water left in our tank to just filter water for drinking and cooking with. The kids enjoyed our stash of pop and juice boxes. We stopped baking extra goodies and made simpler meals to use less dishes. We ate off paper plates as much as we could. (Cereal on plates doesn’t go over so good!) And we prayed.
Chuck and Dennis spent everyday up in the bush working on the water line. There was one problem after another. The old line had dried mineral build up that came loose in transferring the hose and it kept clogging the line. Couplings would break and they would have to go back and find them. The spring box that was dug out wasn’t in the best location and couldn’t keep up with the demand of water to just fill the line. And then the final hill to the tanks was just about 20 feet to high to allow gravity to push it over the hill to the tanks.
The spring is 2km above the village in this bush. Chuck would come home at 6pm and then end up going to help fix a pump in the village. He would bathe in the very low water in the river and bring home buckets of water to help the rest of us get by. The kids were going to the river to get water in pails to bring in to flush the toilets. They also took turns filling up pails for dish washing and bathing. It was getting very stressful living like that. We watched every drop of water and almost shed tears over spilled water. The Easton’s had a harder time than we did. The river is further from their house. And so are all the hand pump wells. Plus we have boys in our house. They can carry heavier pails than little girls often can. Many people were praying for us in this time.
On occasion a few men would show up to help out but it was never guaranteed to happen. Finally on day 12 from when the line was first pulled out, we were able to get water to the tanks but then the flow stopped. We were tired and left it for the day. We knew water get there but now we just needed to fix whatever problem was stopping the flow of water. Praise the Lord that on night 12 it poured rain all night long. It filled out 2000L tank to overflowing in less than 1 hour. We then filled every basin and barrel we had with water. Everyone bathed and we all rejoiced! By the end of day 13 Chuck and Dennis had water flowing to the tanks above the village. There were several cracked couplings in the line but once they were replaced water started to flow abundantly. By evening it was topping up our tanks with water! The next day was spent getting things tidied up and working well. What should have taken a few days work took 2 weeks of hard work. Chuck lost 15 lbs in that time. He was exhausted. I spent 2 half days with him up there and not in the hardest spots and was exhausted and sore for days after. I think I’m not in very good shape!
There is still a lot of work to be done to bury the line as it goes across many fields. But that will be done in the weeks ahead. The line to the school still needs to be finished also. School is out for the summer now so there isn’t too much pressure to get it done until June.
I am so thankful for our husbands that worked day after day to get this working for us so we can stay here with thoughts of sharing the Gospel with the Ga’dang people soon.