Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Digging A Well

Thirsty? Start digging! Aside from a few neighbors who share a drilled well, each house has its own hand-dug well.


Find a high spot to dig your well, preferably not downhill from cow pastures, your latrine, or that spot in your backyard where you burn your trash. Get a shovel, rope and bucket. A typical well here is 8 meters deep, so I hope you’re not too thirsty just yet. Get some gloves to avoid blisters.


When you finish digging, you’ll build a concrete cap for the top of your well. You can leave mud walls as they are. If you have $500 to spare, splurge on a pump. If not, get used to that bucket!


If the water tastes funny one day, or if you notice bits of decaying rat in your bucket, you may need to clean your well. Drain it (good luck!) and pull out all the muck at the bottom. Hopefully you’ll find someone else to go down the well—although if you don’t mind toxic gases, claustrophobia, darkness and heat you can make a decent buck doing it yourself.


Water from your homemade well is “non-potable.”  I personally have had no problems. The Peace Corps volunteer here 20 years ago got Giardia six times, was medevaced to the States for a week, came back to find her house had been robbed, called the police, and is now happily married (with 2 kids) to the OIJ agent who came to investigate the robbery. She says she also lost a few pounds.

1 comment:

  1. This is too funny. I love your stories, and btw, are you drinking well water these days? Of course, "well water" can have different meanings, can't it?