Chuck Nienow and Esther Tesh, Coordinators for the Clean Water Project, traveled to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua in January of this year and again in March. The project to bring clean water to remote areas of Nicaragua continues: a well-drilling machine will be replaced with a new one; plans are in place to drill new wells in more remote areas and into villages along the Rio Coco and soon rope pumps will be used on wells in the rural areas.
Prior to our travel to Nicaragua in January, Sister Amalia Bell, director of the Institute for Social Development of the Moravian Church in Nicaragua (ADSIM), had informed us that the team was having problems with the welldrilling machine. We found that it did not run properly and as the mechanic worked, it became obvious that some parts on the machine were badly worn and could not be repaired. The worn parts were removed and we carried those parts with us as we returned to the U.S. We wanted to be sure to purchase correct replacement parts.
In March we returned to Nicaragua with the new parts. After the machine was repaired, Jessy Downs, supervisor of well-drilling, and the team used the newly repaired machine to drill a well at the Herrnhut Moravian Church, in the Loma Verde neighborhood of Puerto Cabezas. Recently the team drilled a well in Krukira, located a short distance from Puerto Cabezas.
Although the team is using the repaired machine to drill wells, we are concerned about the obvious wear on this machine. It has had a lot of use! Therefore, a new well-drilling machine has been purchased for the Clean Water Project. The new machine, made by the Deep Rock Company, is similar to the old one.
Sister Amalia Bell provided us with estimates for nine wells that ADSIM would like to drill in Northeast Nicaragua. The proposed wells include:
- A well at Herrnhut Moravian Church, in the Loma Verde neighborhood of Puerto Cabezas
- four wells to be located in the communities of Krukira, Betania, Panua and Iltara
- two wells in Waspam, one at Moravian High School, one at the Moravian Church
- two wells in communities on the Rio Coco River ‚Äî San Carlos and Santa Isabel.
As we reviewed the list of proposed wells, we were excited to learn that ADSIM planned to drill wells in communities on the Rio Coco, a river which serves as the border between Nicaragua and Honduras. Chuck had always dreamed that the Clean Water Project would be able to drill wells in more remote communities needing clean water. The project’s current machine and the newly purchased one both fit easily into a long motorized canoe for river travel.
Drilling wells in San Carlos and Santa Isabel will require the team to be away from Puerto Cabezas for several days. To reach the Rio Coco, the team must travel three to four hours overland from Puerto Cabezas to Waspam. From Waspam they will travel by canoe on the Rio Coco for about five hours before reaching San Carlos and drilling a well there. An additional three hours of river travel will be needed for the team to reach Santa Isabel where they will drill the next well. It is gratifying to see ADSIM moving forward to make clean water available in communities along the Rio Coco.
ADSIM wants to use a rope pump on wells drilled in rural villages. Rope pumps are becoming widely used in Nicaragua. One manufacturer of these pumps is the Bombas de Mecate Company, located just outside of Managua. In March we visited their factory to verify whether these pumps could be used on wells drilled by ADSIM and cased with four-inch pipes. Imagine our excitement when the first well that we saw during the visit was a four inch well with a rope pump.
The rope pump technology is simple and works well in places where electric pumps are not practical. The pump consists of a continuous loop of rope with molded plastic or ceramic pistons (cups) attached to it. This rope passes over a large flywheel, and as the flywheel is turned the rope passes down into the water, then up through a vertical pipe which is submerged several feet below water level. The vertical pipe allows only a small clearance, as the rope and pistons pass up, thus permitting the pistons to push the water up and out the top of the pipe above the ground surface.
ADSIM is the social development arm of the Nicaraguan Moravian Church. As Director, Sister Bell oversees projects which seek to better the lives of Nicaraguan People. She is committed to the Clean Water Project and to drilling wells for communities in need.
Sponsored by the Mission Society of the Moravian Church, South, this project is supported by the donations of many individuals and churches through contributions to the Mission Society (designated for Clean Water Project). Project funds will support several of the proposed wells (two have been drilled already). Other wells will be drilled as additional funds become available.
Esther Tesch and Chuck Nienow are members of Friedberg Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.
From the July/August 2012 Moravian Magazine