Repairing Our Well

In my last post about the rainy season, I told you that the support over our well had fallen down. I’m not much of a physicist, but I think I’m right in saying that every pulley you have on a rope system halves the effort need to pull an object. (If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will correct me! So when the pulley isn’t working, it’s much harder to pull the bucket up from our well, which is around 16 feet deep! And when all your water for drinking, washing, cooking, laundry, and watering comes from the well, it’s surprising how much water you need to pull! (If you want to read about how I got my drinking water clean last year, check out my post about it.)

So on Lamin’s return, one of the first jobs on his very long list of maintenance tasks was to repair the well. And it wasn’t just a case of the sticks falling down – the termites had munched through them, leaving them looking like powdery honeycomb.

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Thinking about water

Do me a favour before you start reading this blog post. Just stop and think about how and when you have used water today. In fact, if you really want to appreciate this post, you could try making a note of how much water you use throughout the day, including any machines you have that use water.

I’ve already mentioned that all our water at Balaba comes from the well, and needs to be pulled up with a bucket. In fact, almost every compound around here pulls their water from the well. A while ago, when people first started moving into this area, many didn’t have their own wells, so they would come in to use our well to get water, but now everyone has their own. Our well water is very good, and I can drink it without any problems, although I’m a bit more careful to use purification tablets if I drink water from anywhere else.

Our well is also quite deep compared with some I’ve seen, and depending on the time of year, it takes quite a few pulls to get the bucket to the top; at the end of the dry season last year it took 24 pulls. Lamin has rigged up a double bucket system, so that as one bucket is being pulled up, the other one is being lowered, which makes it all much quicker, but it’s still quite time-consuming, and takes a lot of effort.

Our well is very deep
Our well is very deep

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