Archive for Nicaragua Well Drilling 2013

Friday in Nicaragua

photoF1Friday we got to sleep in a bit and had our morning devotions at 7:00 instead of 6:30. After breakfast we said goodbye to the Living Water staff and our new friends from Nebraska and met our driver, Tomas. Tomas brought us to Matagalpa via the pottery village of Ducuale Grande in Esteli. After about two hours, we were in Esteli. Tomas didn’t know where Ducuale Grande was, so we stopped to ask some people on the street. They told us it was some kilometers north and gave directions to Tomas.  About one hour later, just when we were pretty sure we were almost in Honduras, we saw a sign for Ducuale Grande at the side of the road. We went down a dirt road and asked another person where the pottery store was. We had to ask another couple of people before we found it. Although there was a sign on the highway and one in front of the store, there weren’t signs at the other two or three turns you had to make.

At Ducuale Grande they make a special style of pottery from the indigenous clay with simple designs and fire them in wood ovens. The ladies were sitting outside near the ovens making the designs. We bought a few things and then got back in the car. We asked Tomas if he knew a restaurant in Esteli to have lunch. Tomas found a very nice Colombian restaurant with a view of the city.

After lunch we got back in the car for about another hour to get to Matagalpa. Tomas explained some of the sights along the way — tobacco farms with drying sheds, rice fields and other things. I understood most, but not all, of what he said. He did not speak a single word of English.

We arrived at Casa Materna in the late afternoon, settled in at the Casita and then walked into town for some wifi at the cafe and then dinner. We had pizza at the Italian restaurant we had eaten at last year. The weather is much cooler here-you almost needed a sweater.

Back at the Casita, we met another Dana who was visiting from Maryland. She was leaving the next day on the public bus to Masaya for several days of Spanish language school. We were impressed with her courage to travel alone on the bus.

Leslie & Dana

Thursday Well Drilling in Nicaragua

Thursday was a big day – the day of the well dedication. When we arrive at the worksite, the men had filled in the two pits we had used for the bentonite. Dana, Coleen, Kenya and I sorted and re-packed the boxes of hygiene education materials so they would be ready for the next group. Meanwhile, the men assembled and installed the hand pump for the well.

One of the Living Water staff dressed up as a clown and put on a show for the kids. He led them in several silly songs. The kids loved it.

Then we all gathered around the well. The Pastor said a prayer. Rosa, the community’s leader, thanked us for helping the community to receive a well. The five of us from the US each tried to say how blessed we felt to have been able to work with them to bring a well to their community. It was very emotional.

Rosa had prepared a delicious chicken soup for us. After lunch, we headed back to the Living Water house and then to the beach for dinner at a restaurant. The beach was lovely with a cool breeze. We walked along the beach, watched the surfers (including our Living Water staff person, Stu) and ate a variety of seafood for dinner. The sunset was beautiful.

Leslie & Dana

Saturday in Nicaragua

Saturday In MatagalpaSaturday morning we had breakfast at 8 am at the Casa Materna and talked with some of the staff. Then we walked to the Escuela Colibri School for our morning Spanish lesson which was a warm reunion with several teachers we met last year. The school and Matagalpa Tours has updated their entry area with fair trade crafts made locally. Leslie and Dana were distracted with shopping during our break!

After our morning lesson we meanderd to a little shop then ate lunch in a corner cafe. There we met two older Scottish men traveling by bus from Panama City to Nicaragua and back. We had a very interesting conversation with them. After lunch Matagalpa Tours took us to the Molina Norte weavers. This is a coop of five women who weave beautiful cloth into bags, purses and other items.

Dinner was enjoyed with our host Kitty at her home. Her cat had 4 two week old kittens who entertained us -so adorable!

The remainder the evening was spent reading, relaxing and preparing for Sunday’s activities.

Dana & Leslie

Tuesday Well Drilling in Nicaragua

Drilling the well

Drilling the well

Each morning we start with a devotion at 6:30am.  The air is cool and we sit in the patio at the front of the house. Dana led Tuesday’s devotion with a piece from “The Way” devotional about doing good works for God and not for show.

On Tuesday, we re-drilled the well with a larger bit, using the bentonite slurry.  We took turns operating the rig.  It was good that Angel, one of our leaders, stood right next to the rig to remind us what to do next.  The metal pipe was removed, a section at a time. Then the PVCcasing was inserted.  Each section was glued to the next, wait for 60 seconds for the glue to dry, and then lowered into the hole.  A sliding “stopper” held the wide junction of each section to keep the whole thing from disappearing down the hole.  The PVC was installed by lunchtime.  We had tuna salad over rice.  Some of the ladies in the community also made fish lunches for the crew.  Living Water doesn’t encourage the community to make lunches because it’s quite expensive for them to feed a whole crew.

Dana and Colleen’s morning hygiene lesson was about germ transmission.  They had a quite realistic little plastic piece of “poo” to demonstrate how a fly (mosca) lands on the poo and then spreads germs.  They also had a great craft activity with the moms where they made a mirror frame by decorating a paper plate and had a bible verse attached.

Fun crafts


Kenya is our interpreter. She studied English in Leon and has been very helpful. Dana is trying to use her limited Spanish and learning to use a few words during hygiene instruction. Wednesday’s topic is nutrition.

We brought little homemade dresses to give to the girls in the community and will be purchasing something for the boys.

Dana and the kids


In the afternoon we put the smaller PVC pipe into the well and flushed it until the brown water turned a much paler color. We had quite a crowd watching and helping. There was plenty of good natured teasing and joking going on. We returned to the guest house for showers and another great Nicaraguan dinner.

Wednesday Well Drilling in Nicaragua

On the way to the worksite we stopped to buy t-shirts for the boys since we had brought donated dresses for the girls. At the worksite, we flushed the sand out of the well. The men from the community carried buckets and buckets of water from a nearby shallow well until there wasn’t any more water. Later we were able to just use the compressor to flush the water out until it had no more sand in it.
Meantime, Dana, Coleen and Kenya entertained the kids with the hygiene lessons about tooth brushing and food groups, with some songs and stories mixed in. After lunch, the kids played games -including Kirk standing in as a basketball hoop. We helped them make bracelets with pipe cleaners and then each child got a dress or shirt and toothbrush with toothpaste.
The concrete pad for the pump was made by the men from the community with our leader, Angel, providing instructions. They seemed happy to have a task to do since there’s not much to do while the well gets flushed. It’s kind of like watching paint dry.
After dinner we went into town for ice cream. Leon has a university with lots of folks milling around at night. We stopped at the cathedral built in 1747. Then we came back to the team house to rest up for our final day at the worksite.
Leslie and Dana

Monday Well-Drilling in Nicaragua


It feels really good to be in Nicaragua again. This is my third trip to this beautiful and friendly country. Leslie and I have three other teammates from Nebraska – Coleen, Kirk and Jason. Coleen and I are helping our interpreter Kenya to teach hygiene to the children and mothers of our community. Leslie, Kirk and Jason are helping to dig the well. We have two wonderful Living Water leaders, Stew and Angel, leading us.

Today the team drilled 120 feet with the help of some of the community men. The  hygiene lesson was about how to wash our hands properly and what germs are. In the united states we are taught by our parents and teachers about proper hygiene but in poorer countries this isn’t always the case. It’s an eye opening experience.

We begin the day with devotion at 6:30am, eat breakfast and drive to the community where we are working. It’s very hot and humid too! A cold shower is so refreshing after the day.

At the Living Water volunteer house where we are staying three women cook delicious meals for us and make our lunches. I am smelling a delicious dinner being prepared as I am writing these words! I am looking forward to what each day will bring and can feel everyone’s prayers at home while we are away.


We arrived in Managua yesterday and were picked up by Living Water staff. At the Houston airport, we met Colleen, Kirk and Jason, who are part of our team from Nebraska. W we met in Managua by Stu, our Living Water staff leader, who I had met last year when I came to Rivas. We went out to a Nicaraguan fast food chicken lunch at Tip Top and then we were on our way to Leon. The guest house is very nice with tile floors and, best of all, air conditioning in the bedrooms. We had a great dinner and went to bed early.

This morning we had devotions on the patio at 6:30am. I chose a reading from The Way devotional about letting your light shine so that people can see God’s love. That’s what I hope we do on each mission trip. We packed up and headed out of town to the worksite. It’s in a little farming community. They grow herbs and cassaba for sale and lots of chickens, cows and pigs to eat. The well will serve about 60 people. They have an open, hand dug well now that does not provide clean water. We got a tour of the houses in the community. Some are substantial structures made out of concrete block and some are tacked together scraps of corrugated metal and tarps.

The well drilling equipment was already there and two pits had been dug. The pits are to hold a bentonite slurry that circulates to bring the cuttings up out of the well. It’s different than the air drilling rig that we used in Rivas. Not quite so messy because the dirt isn’t getting shot into the air.

We made the bentonite slurry, put the first section of pipe on and started drilling. The pipe sections are five feet. We took turns running the rig, putting the sections on and shoveling the mud from the exit channel. It went pretty fast. We had drilled 140 feet by the time we had lunch. Some of the men from the community worked with us to shovel the exit channel and other tasks.
During our breaks, we wandered over to see how the hygiene lessons were going. Dana and Colleen were helped by Kenya from Living Water. It looked like they were having a great time.

At the end of the work day, we came back for showers and rest and another great dinner. We’ve had 3 kinds of fruit juice in 3 meals, perhaps we’ll have a fourth tomorrow.