It’s hard to put into words the incredible amount of success that we have experienced in 2013. Since importing the Schramm T64 onto the island of La Gonave back in the summer of 2007, we have experienced many challenges and acclimated to the pressures of drilling in such a tough environment.
This year was quite special in our history of sending drilling teams from Guts Church. We took on the greatest challenges yet, traveling to distant places such as Gros Mangles, and mountain peaks in Bua Bolie. But through it all our teams from Guts Church performed at their highest levels and we saw the greatest victories yet. I couldn’t be more proud of all the men from Guts Church who volunteered their time and money and risked their health to come and drill alongside Curt King and our Haitian workers.
My heart is filled with gratitude for our partnership with Curt King and his commitment to help us complete our goal of 100 wells on La Gonave. It is such an honor to work alongside a master craftsman who has spent his life drilling in remote places around the world honing his skills and now, seeing him at the peak of his career working with us is humbling. Curt anchors our teams and ensures we operate safely and productively, thank you Curt!
During 2013 we drilled 14 wells, nine of which produced fresh water in six communities that had no available fresh water sources locally. Collectively these wells produce fresh water for up to 9,000 people per day. At this stage we have drilled approximately 70 wells on our way to our goal of 100. Of these 70 wells, approximately 35 produce fresh potable drinking water daily. This translates for up to 35,000 people, or 1/3 of the population of La Gonave having access to fresh water locally every day.
Our ability to access some of the most dangerous and remote places on La Gonave is nothing short of miraculous. We can see God’s divine intervention working with us each day as we attempt accessing new well sites. Our hearts thrive on the challenge of attempting wells in villages who watch us, hoping with emotions ranging from excitement to desperation as they wait to see if the drill bit will yield it’s liquid fruit from beneath the surface. And many experience joy as we find water.
One particular town was La Cayene. A coastal town on the northern side of La Gonave, completely isolated by a rocky ridge and no quality roads which impede the ability for any organization to even want to attempt access. But this year we chose to try. As our well drilling machine crawled up the ridge, and we walked next to it praying the tires would hold out, I questioned why we would risk our equipment on this village.
At the ridge top, we looked down at the village within walking distance and asked the locals to clear us a spot. We knew that this was probably our best shot as drilling by the coast would produce only salty water. The locals worked for a day clearing a site, and we set the equipment and began drilling.
As always happens the crowd gathered watching, waiting hoping and praying. About two hours in, it happened, clear blue water shot from the ground, it was s gusher! Curt took the cup and tasted the water but his smile turned somber as he spit our salty water. We passed the cup into the crowd and their frowns confirmed our suspicion, unusable. With a clenched jaw and no small amount of anger I looked at our team and said “we are not quitting, lets go down the ridge and into the village.” It was a move that had no common sense, but there was no way we could pack up and leave. Curt and I have a “three strikes your out” rule, and he probably knew that’s what we needed to do. He held strong and the crew followed. Within a half mile we had a flat, and put on our last spare. The locals told us of fresh water that seeped from rocks just west of the town, maybe there we could drill. The crew was quiet as we arrived and set up the equipment and went about our work. The locals worked alongside, helping to arrange casing, after clearing the site.
Again we hit water and the crowd held its breath. This time Curt tasted the water pressed his lips together and smiled. The crowd erupted in laughter, relief and praise. I took my drilling hat and poured precious life giving water over my head. As the crowd partied on, Curt turned to me and said “there isn’t a geologist alive that would tell us to drill here, it’s a miracle.” I replied “lets drill another.” And we did, and hit fresh water again.