This year, we as Living Water picked two ‘zones’/areas to work in. The idea is that we could really focus on the needs of that area, and saturate them with God’s word, health and hygiene lessons, and provide clean water. This works much better when we can work with a whole community, or area. We go in and talk with the local kasaks, or mayors, and work with them hand in hand. This helps the whole community see and understand that this is in fact their well. They decide where they have the most need in their zone, they decide who gets the first well. They work with with the local church, as we always try to drill on church property. This helps the ‘government offices’ to work with the church, and allows the church to see what we are doing as an extension of the body of Christ-in addition to church then being able to use a new well as a tool to reach the lost in their community.
All that to tell you one zone we picked this year, based on a map of where there is high need, was St. Suzane. The problem with that pick, is there is a reason it’s rated such a terrible zone for clean water-it’s way up in the mountains. So we in fact, cannot use our drill rig there. We had to contract out, with another reputable organization, who has three giant, uber manly, rough and tough drill rigs. Over the last few months, they have been able to drill SEVEN wells. That is pretty amazing. And our ‘software’ team has been working with the churches we are drilling at, and the surrounding schools holding health and hygiene lessons. It’s a beautiful thing. Something we have been working towards for a long time. To see it in action, happening the way we had prayed and hoped it would, is just, well, exciting.
But there is a place called Sarazen. It’s on the way to St. Suzane, a few miles before the heart of the little town in the mountains. Just when we thought St. Suzane was desperate for clean water, God lead one of our Haitian staff to this crevice in the mountain. Brandon describes the road as following an obscure donkey trail. The first day he went to check it out, he told me the road was sketchy. One of the worst, scariest roads he has ever been on. Time out. I have traveled some seriously intense roads with him that are on the side of mountains-one slip and we fall to our death-have to get out of the tap tap we are on because the extra weight of passengers tipped us up onto three wheels and we had to walk a few blocks while the truck drove empty ahead of us. So for him to say that, made me a little uneasy.
And when he described the need there, my heart sank. One of the downsides of living in a very, very poor environment for a while is, sometimes your heart can be desensitized to the needs around you. They become the new normal. But in a good way, it does allow us to see the levels of poverty too. When we first came to Haiti we thought everyone was poor and destitute, but now we can see that is not the case. Believe it or not, there are varying levels of poverty. God has allowed us to find and work with the people and areas that have the biggest need. So for Brandon to say this community was in need, in major need of clean water, let me know the situation was pretty bleak.
Brandon consulted a map that shows where water may be underneath the ground. (A pretty amazing map let me tell you!!) It’s not always accurate, and just because it shows water doesn’t necessarily mean we can get to it. But this map showed a small area, in Sarazen, that didn’t have as much rock, and he thought maybe, just maybe, we could try drilling there. It wasn’t possible for the burly rigs that we contracted out to get there, the road was too narrow. So Brandon and our two head drillers, Deriber and Daniel, decided after one visit, they had to at least try it.
The next day they drove the rig on the ‘donkey trail, and thankfully made it there without incident. They set the rig up and went to it. They were able to get down about 40 feet the first day. Not huge progress in one day typically, but deeper than they thought they would get considering there is rock all around them. So the next day they went back and got down to 80ft. Things looked good and they decided to case it, and see if they had found water.
They formed a new plan. They decided to move down the road a bit. There was a very small area on the ‘water map’ that showed a possibility of water, so they knew they didn’t have much wiggle room. They went back the next day. Mind you, to drive that awful road. In addition to that terrible stretch of road, it’s about 1.5 hours from our house/office in Cap Haitian. So these poor guys were commuting three hours a day, on a road that makes any healthy back cringe.
The drilling went a little quicker in this new location, and in one day they went to 100 feet. This was great news. The next day they went back to case (the large pipe that encases the pipe that will pump the water up). They got stuck at 50 feet. After trying every trick they knew possible, it became clear that the casing wasn’t going down any further. The amazing part was, Deriber was able to get the casing back up the hole. That rarely happens! Usually they push, shove, wiggle it so much to get it to go down that it won’t ever come back up again. And the super cool part? Deriber, on his own, decided he could not walk away from this well. He could have. He could have said, ‘we tried’, we gave it our best effort. Which they did give it a huge effort. But he wasn’t ready to give up yet, seeing the desperate need for clean water.
And so we prayed.
God is the one who provides clean water, He simply allows us to be the tools in helping to get it. So we gave it back to Him again. Trusting that if He wanted a new well here, it was no big thing for Him to make that happen. It’s been heartbreaking the few times we’ve tried and tried for a new well in a community that needs it, only to come up dry again and again. But we are reminded that God is big, He is faithful. He has a plan for those people and of course knows their need. So when a hole comes up dry, while it can be so hard to walk away, we have to trust that God cared for and provided for them before we got there, and will continue to after we leave. But it’s not easy let me tell you.
The next day, they started fresh. They re-drilled the same hole, hoping to clean out whatever had blocked the casing. Once that was done, they once again attempted to put casing down. It went all they down, perfectly, to 100 feet. And only now, after all that, could they see if there was even any water there.
It came out gushing. It was pulsing and flowing through the casing, as the people from the community yelled, cheered, cried and praised the Lord. Brandon said it seemed like the whole community was there-hundreds of people from the beginning were there watching, waiting. It’s common to attract a crowd in our line of work, but usually the more white people we have, the bigger the crowds. Ya know, it’s good people watching fun for them! But this time, everyone was there for two reasons. One, to see a huge machine that many of them had never seen the likes of before. Second, to see if our staff really could find water.
And God provided. The water came forth and He was glorified in that place!
It’s a rare thing to get Brandon on this blog. He’ll tweet his witty 120 words, but isn’t real fond of the long posts. So here are some thoughts he put down on paper I’d love to share with you guys…
I’m not sure what to call this other than a miracle. I’m hesitant to use that word because I’m overly logical, but Jessica continues to encourage me to call it what it is, a miracle. After sending out an last email asking for prayer, we moved the drill rig about 300 meters and tried to drill again. Nothing went our way. We blew out a bearing and hydraulic seal, the hydraulic gage exploded, one of our staff crashed his motorcycle (he is ok, the only thing hurt is his pride), and it rained cats and dogs. But we drilled 100′ in sand and gravel without ever hitting a singe rock! We developed the well (photo below) and we have a good producing (30gpm) well that puts out cold,clean water.
God is good! God is faithful.
Some photos to come…