IN August of 2022, Naomi travelled to Malawi on a Hope4Malawi team trip. She spent three weeks visiting some of the charity’s latest development and education projects.
Naomi had the opportunity to watch as the first water was struck at the site for Hope4Malawi’s new Skills Training Centre. The centre will eventually provide secondary school leavers with the tools they need to start businesses, work in trades, or gain skilled employment. This is Naomi’s story.
The opportunity to drill a borehole
We headed to Chimwembe for an extensive 9-hour day. It all started with a pile of dust and ended in celebration as we watched a 60m borehole being drilled and clean, fresh water coming up.
Surprisingly, you need a lot of water to make cement, hence the requirement for a borehole. It will significantly speed up the building process and also means that women in the local community won’t have to pump water and then carry it to the site each day.
Having undertaken water surveys on the land, the site team understood the ground and knew where to dig. Digging down to 60m means the water table won’t dry out and sufficient water will be available all year round.
The drill was on a lorry and almost looked like a crane. Levelling the lorry so it didn’t fall was important! With a level lorry and ‘x’ marking the spot, drilling began.
A drill attachment was placed, looking somewhat like a Philips screwdriver just much bigger heavier and stronger! The drill was then connected to extension poles roughly 15cm in diameter, 3m high and weighing 100kgs!
Each pole was manually lifted onto the drill. When drilling had reached 3m deep that pole was then held in place by the lorry and another pole was attached, making the drill longer and heavier. At the end of the process, the lorry was holding over a ton of weight!
Because of the significant force each pipe is put under they slowly lose weight. At 95kgs they are no longer suitable to use as would bend too much – and no one wants a bendy borehole!
Hitting rock at 12m
From the initial survey, the site team had expected that the ground type would change. At 12m down all the poles had to come back out of the hole to swap the drill part for a hammerhead, to pound down to the water.
What was really interesting is that for each metre dug, one man was taking soil samples and making little mounds of earth to identify the deeper soil.
Finding finer soil was important, as it meant that the water being collected would have worked its way through a natural filtering system into the borehole, removing any nasties.
At 35m deep the dust from the drill stopped and a clay-like substance started to form little rivers, which the children enjoyed playing in.
Once all the poles were safely retrieved, the pipes used in the borehole – like a drainpipe – were inserted. Using the air compressor that had driven the hammer, an almighty blow of air was sent down the hole creating a huge roar as fresh water was sent 6m high in the air!
We did it!
All the workmen celebrated by having a cup of fresh clean water and many of us joined in as well! It brought a day that I’ll never forget to an end.
A few days afterwards a water tank was installed, roughly 10m above the land, along with a solar pump. This means that water can now be pumped continuously into the tank, and there is a tap for the builders to access water.
Living in the West, water is something we so rarely think about as we just turn the tap and expect clean water to appear. Yet as we stood on dry land, quite literally in the middle of nowhere with vast hills and valleys surrounding us, 60m below there was everything we needed.
Now through the sun that God rises every morning, the community will always have clean, running water.
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Thanks to the kind support of our partners, sponsors, fundraisers and volunteers, Hope4Malawi's school building, resourcing projects and student sponsorships continue to provide life-changing opportunities for children growing up in rural Malawi.