From the island he returned to Port au Prince (PAP), Haiti to catch a plane to Jérémie, Haiti. A plane wasn’t available that day so he traveled five hours by car to Jérémie to his lodging. The following day Piglet traveled by vehicle to the jobsite to view a problem with the power take-off clutch on a Buckeye 22-W. After finding the problem, they ordered the proper repairs.
While waiting on the repairs to arrive, Piglet was advised that they had several hand pumps that needed repair and asked if he could design and build a tripod or some kind of machine to pull those pumps. In searching the area he could only locate 1-inch thin wall square tubing to build a mast. He contracted a local gate builder that builds gates for the compounds to fabricate a mast and base frame. Once everything was on site, with Piglet’s engineering they commenced to construct a pump hoist on the ground — not an easy task on uneven ground. They were finally able to procure a trailer to mount the base and mast. While they were constructing the base and 24-foot mast, Piglet traveled back to Port au Prince to locate and purchase a 12-volt electric winch, cable, a snatch block and some sheaves and pulleys. He was only able to locate a small 3,000-pound all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) winch. This being done he traveled back to Jérémie to complete the construction. They took the pump puller to a jobsite, set it up and pulled their first well with it, and it worked great.
In about two weeks the clutch parts arrived. They installed the parts and got the 22-W back up to speed and finished the well.
He returned to Port au Prince and on to Gonaïves, Haiti, to teach local students to operate, maintain and drill water wells with an Ingersoll Rand T-3. Piglet observed the drilling practices they had been using. They were attempting to drill fairly soft soil with cobbles with air and a roller cone bit. At a shallow depth they encountered some water and this began to give them problems in that the water was washing the soil away from the cobbles, and the hole was becoming large and unstable. They need to convert to mud rotary since the well will be completed in a sand formation. The rig has a mud pump on board, but no suction hose or fittings. In the meantime, Piglet continues to muddle through with what they have.
Over the weekend Piglet and some of his students traveled by SUV to PAP to purchase supplies and groceries some five hours each way. Returning, it started to rain heavily so they slowed down. A semi-truck came up behind them fast and swerved to avoid a serious collision. In doing so, the semi jack-knifed, fishtailed and swatted Piglet’s vehicle and then the semi driver, attempting to recover, caused the semi-trailer to ball bat back and swipe their SUV again on the same left side. This action swatted the SUV into a pile of wood some 600 feet away from the impact. Luckily no one was injured. However, the SUV didn’t survive. The guys were a little sore but able to return to drilling the next day. Driving in most developing countries isn’t safe. The life that they take may be someone else’s.
The students continue with their drilling and learning from operating the equipment, sifting, sorting well gravel and slotting well casing. All supplies are scarce in all of Haiti.
Piglet’s goal is to return to attend the South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee in Myrtle Beach, S.C., July 25-27 and then possibly return to Haiti or other places unknown at the present time. If you do attend the show be sure to look up Piglet (and Porky in the green jacket) and say “Hi.”
For more Porky columns, visit www.thedriller.com/porky.
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