It all started out just fine! I get a call from “Friends in Action” leader Mark Collier. He had a group 6 guys coming in from his home town in Northern Ireland, and said that he could use an extra hand. They had 2 wells to drill deep in the bush. Great! Here is the next adventure! Living out in the bush, bad food, hot water to drink, and mosquitos the size of eagles! Sounded good on that day. After a slow start, got on the road a little before 6 am to meet Mark in a village about 5 hours away from Yako. The roads were rough, but passable. One ditch I hit accounted for the two water jugs I had securely attached to my roof rack to go flying off ahead of me. I eventually caught up to them…..
I meet up with him and he starts leading me back into the bush. After about an hour of rough riding, and a fervent prayer to remind myself to bring a kidney belt with me next time, we nearly reached our destination, but there was this large drilling rig stuck down to it’s axles on the path! Yep, our drilling rig. After about 6 hours, 50 Africans 2 winches (one that worked), and 5 blisters from shoveling, the truck began to move. All our excitement was ALMOST loud enough to not hear the loud cracking of the rear differential gear snapping as the truck was trying to climb out of the hole. Well, back to square one. Few more hours and a few more Africans, we were out of the hole, but unable to move. So by 10:00 pm were dropping the rear end of the truck and tearing it apart. Next day we head back to Ouagadougou and do the repairs. Unable to get a rebuilt gear we weld the broken one together and hope for the best.
Next day were back at the site, and putting the truck back together. A crunch here, a knuckle there and were rolling. Behind schedule, but rolling. To make this story shorter, after 7 flat tires, a rear end, a clutch seal and some bad potatoes, we were drilling wells. From 6 a.m. to sometimes 2 a.m. This team flat out worked. Tired beaten up, and talking up a storm (which I could only understand half of with the accent) we got water at the first site after drilling the full 300 feet our rig could handle. Second site we hit great water at 170 feet. This was a village that had NEVER had water! They were walking about 5 km each day just to survive.
I am always amazed at even in the most remote areas of the desert, God had already provided all the water a village would ever need! All we have to do is go and poke a hole in the ground. I am in awe of the work ethic and the compassionate hearts of this team from Northern Ireland. I love those moments that I am certain that I will remember when I am 80 years old. This was certainly one of them.