A Team Effort

A Team Effort



Today we got an early start, hoping to find the air compressor fixed and functional and the drillers ready to drill when we arrived in Mphero. After saying good-bye to our VIP friends, we managed to fit all of our equipment into our car and rode to Mphero. We were surprised to find tents by Rodu’s truck – whether or not it’s normal that well drillers sleep on site, this really touched us. As the drillers got started, huge clouds of dust rolled out from the hole. Villagers watched as the drillers added pipe after pipe, interrupted only by an issue with the belt in the air compressor and lunch. We were further touched by the fact that Richard, the owner of Rodu, operated the drill for most of the day, while he had multiple other drilling sites at the same time.


Shortly after lunch (nsima, chicken, pumpkin leaves, and mustard greens), Curt and Meredith went with Joe to buy needed supplies, while Bill, Megan, Emma, and I continued to observe the drilling, take notes and photos, as well as collect and analyze samples. Not long after the three left, the collected samples started to become wet! Of the three students there, only Megan had seen a drilling rig in action before, and it was mud rotary, so we got pretty excited at the prospect of seeing water blown out of the hole. Some drillers started digging a mud pit and a path between it and the borehole. My heart was pounding as I waited to see water come out! The big moment finally came at around sixteen meters in, as mud splashed out. Curt, Meredith, and Joe returned when they heard what happened, anxiously hoping that the amount of water coming out would increase. Two flow rate tests using a bucket in the mud pit were done and we hope the flow rates tomorrow will increase even more.


But just seeing water come out of the ground sent waves of energy through the village. The Chief’s wife helped to bail out the mud pit, as other villagers helped keep the kids back from the rig. The drillers smiled and laughed as the villagers danced and celebrated when huge spouts of mud were blown out of the hole. At one point I stood with Bill by our backpacks at the side of a house a safe distance from the drilling rig. The drillers stopped drilling and as they cleaned out the hole, and then a particularly massive spout exploded over everyone and everything nearby, including us. That seemed to signal to the drillers that it was a good place to stop for the day, also because they began to run out of fuel, so they shut down the engine and compressor and lifted the drilling pipe. A huge dance and celebration followed, which was really fun, and which Liz came just in time for!


I really, really hope that this hole will yield a lot of water, enough to supply Mphero throughout the year. The sincere and genuine happiness of the villagers makes us all the more determined to keep working to bring access to potable water to this community!


Tionana Mawa,



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Malawi Project
Malawi Project
The Malawi Project Team is currently partnered with the community of Mphero in Malawi, and is investigating how The Engineers Without Borders, University of Delaware Chapter, can best aid the community.
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  • "President" Bob

    Great work team! Would have been fun to be there with you for the dancing and celebration. Praying for your success.

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