For many years, I traveled the world teaching water well drilling and now our son Chris (known as “Piglet”) continues in my footsteps. Like myself, he loves the travels, as well as meeting new people while experiencing their cultures and some of their foods. Teaching well drilling in other countries isn’t for everyone, as it requires lots of patience and usually a trusted local translator. Most experienced drillers, after experiencing a few days dealing with the country, local politics or religious manager’s local people, give up and return home in short order.
Last year, Piglet traveled to Tanzania to teach cable tool drilling. Despite all the combined above problems, he persisted. He completed and installed one submersible pump at a school, then returned home to the United States. Shortly after, another U.S. driller traveled to Tanzania to take up where Piglet left off. This driller and his wife stayed one month, drilled two holes and installed no casing or pumps. They became frustrated and came home disappointed. Piglet’s driller students contact DCI almost daily requesting him to return to Tanzania to assist them with further instruction.
Since March 23, Piglet has been in various parts of Haiti working with groups and as of this writing, only one project has been totally successful. Others had improper equipment for the geological area or lacked the day-to-day supplies when required.
Most recently, these eight students had not been properly managed or taught to work as a team for eight years. The driver only drives the drill truck. He didn’t know how to operate the drilling machine. The driller operated the drill. However, he was only experienced with drilling with air rotary. In many areas they should have been using mud rotary, which they had, but had never been trained to use. The other six employees did very little and had not been cross-trained, nor trained to work as a team.
It’s almost impossible to teach an old dog new tricks or teach a person to drive that hasn’t been taught properly in the first place. It’s more impossible for a new guy (Piglet) with a poor interpreter to reteach students. It would have been more practical to allow Piglet to qualify his own student/drill crew, then cross-train them to drive, drill and work as a team. That way, one man not showing up doesn’t shut down the project and everyone knows who’s in charge. Only two groups to date have allowed this to happen. It worked very well and the students would like for Piglet to return.
The months of June and July are the rainy season in Haiti. Many days, the streams are flooded and become impassable. There are no bridges so if they ford the streams and it rains, they can’t get across or back for maybe days. One risk is that there is sometimes no lodging or eating places on the other side of flooded streams, so you are stuck on the wrong side for days.
Most truck drivers in Haiti aren’t experienced. When they are outside of the large cities they tend to drive fast and have many accidents, some serious. Piglet has been in a few but, thankfully, other than some soreness and a few bruises he hasn’t been injured.
We’re anxious for Piglet to return home for a time. We have several contracts pending in several countries.
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