by Rich Aram | Kingsland Team Member | La Bolsa, Nicaragua | 20 August 2013

God is good.

We saw more of our villager friends today, and their faces seemed to show some growing hope that this may actually be real.

We had another long day of hard work but made excellent progress. We finished drilling at 106 feet, cleaned out the hole, ran PVC pipe for casing, and started the gravel pack to stabilize the hole. We saw living water flow to the surface up the casing. Our villager friends’ faces changed to relief and joy. We will see more of that tomorrow when we do more to clean out the hole; I will explain that later.

Living water in Biblical terms or 3rd world country terms means moving water, fresh water, spring water, artesian water. Moving water implies a large amount that is replenished and clean, compared to stagnant water that doesn’t move and may run out. Jesus used the term in John 4 with the Samaritan woman.

We started the day by mixing 7 more barrels of drilling mud. Much of what we mixed yesterday was still in the bore hole where it belonged to stabilize the hole. The villagers had scooped out what was left in our two mud pits and cleaned up the pit walls. Then we ran back in the hole with a new bit, which means reconnecting drill pipe every five feet. The drilling assistant has to dab pipe dope, a heavy grease, on the drill pipe at every connection, then break (unscrew) the existing connection, hoist the heavy pipe into place, and then prepare for the next piece of pipe. We drilled fast all the way down because we already drilled it yesterday, although the new bit was a little larger. The hard stuff that gave us problems last night was still difficult. It was my turn as driller then, and the bit kept getting stuck. Frank took over and got us through, but the drilling continued very slowly. The drill pipe would jump up and down an inch or more, sometimes he was pushing down hard enough that the drill rig started to lift off of the ground. But we got it done.

The well flowed some fresh water up to the surface. The water zone is not artesian, meaning it does not have enough pressure to flow all the way up to the surface on its own. The water zone in this area is always that way, so we will install a hand pump. Frank says the way the rock is behaving here and elsewhere nearby means it’s not a great aquifer; it does not have excellent porosity and permeability so it won’t flow at high rates. But since all the wells here are completed with a hand pump with a limited flow rate anyway, the reservoir is plenty good enough.

I find it all slightly unsatisfying in a geologic sense. No well logs, no sample log, no drilling rate break, no names for the layers. The water-bearing layer is probably a volcanic sandstone. The hard rock is probably a lava flow. The cuttings are mostly black, fairly rounded, not like the white and clean sandstones that I usually see in the oil patch or in local rivers and beaches. But there is little or no source for quartz sand around here. I couldn’t tell that we were in a layer that carried water but Frank knew from other wells they have drilled nearby. I asked if they ever drill deeper (thinking like an explorationist) to find a better sand, but there is no reason for them to do that. There is no reason for them to science these projects like I am accustomed to. They got what they needed and that is wonderful!

Today’s health lesson was on germs and how to deal with diarrhea without medicine, make a solution of clear liquids, salt and sugar. It’s like Gatorade without the artificial flavors. Their health lesson included a craft again, where they all made little paper kites on short strings. Those were immensely popular, the kids were running and running circles and just crazy for them.

I brought a different kind of Frisbee today, the kind that is a soft plastic hoop instead of a solid disc. I had this delusion that they kids would like the variety from yesterday’s Frisbee, but in reality, the hoop was far easier for them to catch. They pretty quickly started hot-dogging by catching it by putting their arm through it, their head, their feet. I hot-dogged by bouncing it off the ground.

Jim brought tennis balls and showed them how to juggle. One boy stuck with it and improved a lot.

Our village friends have worked very hard to help us with our joint project. They have hauled water up their 60 foot well in five gallon buckets to fill 55 gallon barrels many times, and haul those 100 feet or so to us by horse cart, sometimes propelled by one of them instead. They dug a long ditch (8 inches wide, 4 inches deep) to carry off the drilling mud and tomorrow’s water. As soon as the mud started to flow down it, they moved their chairs right along it or stood close to watch it. The kids dipped their toes in the drilling mud.

I should clarify about our drilling mud. Water. Clay, mostly the mineral bentonite or montmorrilanite.  Devitritied volcanic ash. Those of us who have driven through much of the western US are acquainted with it, especially when the dirt roads are wet. Slick and sticky both. It swells when wet so messes with basements and foundations. Much of Wyoming and other flat parts of western States are mostly covered with Cretaceous shales that are loaded with bentonite. So our drilling mud has common natural materials.  It turns darker from passing through dark-colored sediment layers, but again, that is all natural. The kids like playing in it, but since their houses have dirt floors, it’s not such a big problem as it would be in our homes.

Tomorrow we trip back into the hole, connecting up five foot lengths of drill pipe all the way to the bottom again to continue to clean out the hole, and will try to get more gravel packed in the hole around the PVC casing. We want to seal off the clean water layer from shallower contaminated layers. We did some gravel work today: they mixed clean sacked gravel with water and bleach to make sure the gravel was clean.

The village will build the concrete slab and we will install the pump and dedicate it, I think Thursday.

I shot a photo of the license plate on the rig, “Yo Jesus”.  Yo in Spanish means “I”, the license plate has a heart between Yo and Jesus, so means I love Jesus in Spanish, but I like the English version too.

Jorge took us into town for ice cream tonight and to talk more. We think very highly of Jorge and everyone here.

Please continue to pray for success with the well and that we can help the people to better understand God’s love.