Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Well Update: Giving a hand up?

I have some VERY exciting news!

As a background, please recall the previous well update wherein I had lamented that the wells broke so quickly. Although I wanted to get to fixing them, we had almost no time and were working furiously to get ready for classes and move into our new house. I also knew that Ron had promised to come back very soon to help fix them.

About two weeks ago Ron did indeed come back and with an expert hand guided us through the repairs. We had a lot of help again from Lucien and the guys and managed to fix both wells in less than 24 hours! The rest of our time was spent attempting to "fish" a pump out of the bottom of a well hole. Because the well is over a 100 feet deep, this was not an easy task. In fact, if you know how to accomplish such a thing, we'd love to hear ideas!

Unfortunately, both wells broke down by the time last Tuesday rolled around. Unlike last time, Andrea and I now have our feet on the ground here. Ron had generously said that we can use all of his specialized tools to repair the wells. These tools are VERY expensive and losing one is not acceptable.

Lucien tracked me down last week and asked when we could repair the wells. I had to teach morning and afternoon everyday but Friday, so we waited until then. On Friday, we went to work. Lucien and his crew have begun to get a handle on the common mistakes and quickly had the well disassembled and the problem (a broken pipe) diagnosed. This we replaced and had the well back together in less than 3 hours! I could not be happier.

On Monday, we had no gas for the generator and I couldn't teach my afternoon computer science course. Instead, Lucien and I went to work and soon attracted the attention of the students who had come for the course. Though I am certain they were disappointed not to have a class, they never once complained and even helped us to fix the well. Once again, a pipe had broken, which we replaced; once again, we lowered the pump back into the ground as the sun began to set. Lucien took the reins for the last ten minutes and guided the helpers through reassembling the well.

In less than one week, Haitians (Lucien specifically) took initiative and fixed the wells. True, my presence was necessary when they didn't measure pipe sections accurately and to enable the use of tools. But generally, I think this is a big step to giving the citizens of Ste. Suzanne the ability to repair their own wells!

Lucien has already mentioned trying to set up a time to repair any of the other 5 broken wells!




  1. Good news! :)

    The part about your students helping made me wonder why my computer science teacher never said "So class, we're going to be fixing a well today.."

  2. Now I understand what my professors used to mean when they'd say, "Well, this is what we are going to do today". Like a jackass I always stayed in my seat with my friends instead of fetching tools for fixing the well. Hmm...that could also explain the grades I got.
    On a more serious note, it might be interesting to get the name of the person who runs the well-drilling class that Ron attended and email him with a question on the frequency with which pipes can be expected to break. If your experience with these wells is the norm, no problem. If not, then he might be able to suggest some logical path to root cause.

  3. David has a great point. Seem strange that the pipes keep breaking. What are they made of?

    70 and sunny in Milwaukee today!! Packers lost to previously winless Tampa Bay. Shaping up to be a very long and very bad season for the Green and Gold.

    Dad Koczela

  4. The only way I can figure out how to post things to this blog is to select "anonymous". Is that right?
    Dad Koczela