Water for Kirinda

For three years now, we’ve been slowly working towards our goal of getting clean water to our friends in Kirinda, Uganda. We were so excited last January when our small well-drilling machine departed in it’s container for Uganda. 

But then, Covid happened. 

It’s not easy to ship internationally during a pandemic, it’s even harder when it’s your first experience at international export. The container that was to arrive in the village by April didn’t get there until September 2020!

It’s finally there, safe in our village! 

Neither official shipping documents nor containers traveled efficiently during the pandemic. Every delay cost money in storage fees. We were also traveling through two countries whose transportation system is greased with bribes. Because we weren’t complying with the bribe expectations, our container was often held in retaliation – and charged storage fees. 

While the Good News is the drilling machine finally made it to its destination . . .

The Bad News is we STILL can’t drill the well. 

Our budget for the well install equipment and supplies was totally eaten up by the $7,500 in extra storage/inspection fees that we were charged above and beyond the price of shipping.  

We’ve been using the money generated by the coffee sales to fund this well project, but the domino-ing issues caused by shipping in the pandemic ate up all our budget for the remaining well supplies. 

It cut our hearts that our machine was still floating in the ocean last spring/summer when the lockdowns in Uganda resulted in severe food access issues.

But now that machine sits in the village, mocking us, and the village children cast wondering eyes at it each day as they walk past it with heavy jugs of water on their heads; walking uphill for two miles to the next hand pump.

Last year, we shared with you the food access issue that the lockdowns were creating in Uganda. You all responded so generously and helped provide 2 weeks of meals to over 300 families! That truly helped folks survive through the dark days of the pandemic.

But we’d like to address the issue that’s central to all health issues: Clean Water.

We’re so close to establishing a practical, convenient, AND sustainable source of clean water for everyone in the village of Kirinda. So close.

It will take $3,000 to fund the drilling and get the well operational: $2,500 for the Grundfus Solar Well Pump; $300 for a Crestank 5,000 liter Storage Tank; and $200 for the needed well casing.

If you’re in a position to help us  jump start the Water for Kirinda project – after all the challenges of the past year – please add a donation to your next order! We’ve added the donation option back in the shop and you can click on your chosen level of support below and it shows up in your cart.

Water for Kirinda

For three years now, we’ve been slowly working towards our goal of getting clean water to our friends in Kirinda, Uganda. We were so excited last January when our small well-drilling machine departed in it’s container for Uganda. 

But then, Covid happened. 

It’s not easy to ship internationally during a pandemic, it’s even harder when it’s your first experience at international export. The container that was to arrive in the village by April didn’t get there until September 2020!

It’s finally there, safe in our village! 

Neither official shipping documents nor containers traveled efficiently during the pandemic. Every delay cost money in storage fees. We were also traveling through two countries whose transportation system is greased with bribes. Because we weren’t complying with the bribe expectations, our container was often held in retaliation – and charged storage fees. 

While the Good News is the drilling machine finally made it to its destination . . .

The Bad News is we STILL can’t drill the well. 

Our budget for the well install equipment and supplies was totally eaten up by the $7,500 in extra storage/inspection fees that we were charged above and beyond the price of shipping.  

We’ve been using the money generated by the coffee sales to fund this well project, but the domino-ing issues caused by shipping in the pandemic ate up all our budget for the remaining well supplies. 

It cut our hearts that our machine was still floating in the ocean last spring/summer when the lockdowns in Uganda resulted in severe food access issues.

But now that machine sits in the village, mocking us, and the village children cast wondering eyes at it each day as they walk past it with heavy jugs of water on their heads; walking uphill for two miles to the next hand pump.

Last year, we shared with you the food access issue that the lockdowns were creating in Uganda. You all responded so generously and helped provide 2 weeks of meals to over 300 families! That truly helped folks survive through the dark days of the pandemic.

But we’d like to address the issue that’s central to all health issues: Clean Water.

We’re so close to establishing a practical, convenient, AND sustainable source of clean water for everyone in the village of Kirinda. So close.

It will take $3,000 to fund the drilling and get the well operational: $2,500 for the Grundfus Solar Well Pump; $300 for a Crestank 5,000 liter Storage Tank; and $200 for the needed well casing.

If you’re in a position to help us  jump start the Water for Kirinda project – after all the challenges of the past year – please add a donation to your next order! We’ve added the donation option back in the shop and you can click on your chosen level of support below and it shows up in your cart.

Where did this well project start?

It started in 2017 with our first visit to Kirinda, Uganda.

Each day we witnessed hundreds of children struggling up the hill to their village hauling water. . . some with jugs weighing up to 40 pounds on their heads.

At our farm, we just DON’T say “Somebody should do Something.” That Somebody is usually ourselves.

So in 2018, a well drilling expert was commissioned for $300 to assess the best location for a well. And there was great news. . . The local community center sits 300 feet atop an aquifer of clean water! That’s a perfect depth, as some wells need to be drilled 600 to 1500 feet.  And you definitely don’t want too shallow of a well or the water is easily contaminated. BUT the best part is that the community center site is up on a hill with the village is just downhill! No more lugging heavy jugs UP a hill.

Then we got busy pricing well-drilling services. The rigs come from the capital city Kampala, a four hour drive, and cost $6,000. [ Ouch! ] Or, we could buy a much slower, but still capable, machine in Georgia for only $500 more.

The answer was clear. Instead of just renting to drill one well, we’d establish a community-owned drilling machine. After testing the machine at our farm, we exported it to Uganda in 2020.

During our return trip 2019, we walked and biked into the surrounding 20 villages, looking at all of the working and non-working wells.

Out of 11 wells, only 2 were operating. Some were very recent wells that non-profits had came in, drilled, then left without giving any contingency plan nor training for maintenance. The wells that were in good working order – one of them 30 years old! – were community-owned and operated, complete with each village having a board representative, and maintenance fees that were democratically agreed upon by the village members.

The answer was clear. “Our well” needed to be community-owned.

We went early to the well pumps and observed the lines of schoolchildren arriving and attempting to operate the heavy pump handle. Some were so small that they had to hop to move the pump handle! Our observation session quickly turned into a “pump for the little children” session. We walked back uphill, as healthy grown men, exhausted from the exercise.

The answer was clear. “Our well” needed to be powered by a solar pump.

The solar pump really increased the costs by $2,000, but we couldn’t in good conscience install a hand-pump.

So for three years now, we’ve been slowly working towards our goal of getting clean water to our friends in Kirinda, Uganda. We were so excited last January when our small well-drilling machine departed in it’s container for Uganda. Along with the Bore Master drilling rig (made in Alabama), the container carried 500′ of metal drill rod and drill bits for sand, stone and clay soils.

Where did this well project start?

It started in 2017 with our first visit to Kirinda, Uganda.

Each day we witnessed hundreds of children struggling up the hill to their village hauling water. . . some with jugs weighing up to 40 pounds on their heads.

At our farm, we just DON’T say “Somebody should do Something.” That Somebody is usually ourselves.

So in 2018, a well drilling expert was commissioned for $300 to assess the best location for a well. And there was great news. . . The local community center sits 300 feet atop an aquifer of clean water! That’s a perfect depth, as some wells need to be drilled 600 to 1500 feet.  And you definitely don’t want too shallow of a well or the water is easily contaminated. BUT the best part is that the community center site is up on a hill with the village is just downhill! No more lugging heavy jugs UP a hill.

Then we got busy pricing well-drilling services. The rigs come from the capital city Kampala, a four hour drive, and cost $6,000. [ Ouch! ] Or, we could buy a much slower, but still capable, machine in Georgia for only $500 more.

The answer was clear. Instead of just renting to drill one well, we’d establish a community-owned drilling machine. After testing the machine at our farm, we exported it to Uganda in 2020.

During our return trip 2019, we walked and biked into the surrounding 20 villages, looking at all of the working and non-working wells.

Out of 11 wells, only 2 were operating. Some were very recent wells that non-profits had came in, drilled, then left without giving any contingency plan nor training for maintenance. The wells that were in good working order – one of them 30 years old! – were community-owned and operated, complete with each village having a board representative, and maintenance fees that were democratically agreed upon by the village members.

The answer was clear. “Our well” needed to be community-owned.

We went early to the well pumps and observed the lines of schoolchildren arriving and attempting to operate the heavy pump handle. Some were so small that they had to hop to move the pump handle! Our observation session quickly turned into a “pump for the little children” session. We walked back uphill, as healthy grown men, exhausted from the exercise.

The answer was clear. “Our well” needed to be powered by a solar pump.

The solar pump really increased the costs by $2,000, but we couldn’t in good conscience install a hand-pump.

So for three years now, we’ve been slowly working towards our goal of getting clean water to our friends in Kirinda, Uganda. We were so excited last January when our small well-drilling machine departed in it’s container for Uganda. Along with the Bore Master drilling rig (made in Alabama), the container carried 500′ of metal drill rod and drill bits for sand, stone and clay soils.

2019 Trip: People and Places

People we met on our 2019 trip to Uganda
People we met on our 2019 trip to Uganda