By DOC WATSON
Special to the Herald Times
MEEKER | “Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” So goes the old saying that comes from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” in which the speaker, a sailor on a stranded ship, is surrounded by salt water he can’t drink.
A similar situation exists in Africa, although in this case, there is far less water, and the water that is there is contaminated. Millions of people in Africa—usually women and girls—walk miles every day to have access to any water at all. Worse, the sources are streams and ponds that are usually full of disease.
Meeker native Charlie Day, 17, wants to help. As part of Mothers Without Borders—a non-profit organization working in Zambia developing communities and providing support for orphaned and vulnerable children—Day went to Zambia last year to help in the orphanages. Seeing their need for water, however, and since his family drills wells for a living, he plans to return with a special drilling rig that he will train the locals to use.
This drilling rig is a marvel of engineering simplicity. Dubbed “The Village Drill,” it was designed for organizations like Mothers Without Borders that are helping to provide water for the one billion people who lack access. With a team of 4–6 operators, this manually-operated rig can drill up to 90 meters (295 feet), complete a well in about three days, and then be quickly disassembled and loaded in the back of a small truck. It drills a well for 75 percent less cost than a typical drilling rig.
“You’ve heard the old saying: give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” Day said. “That’s the concept we’re applying here. Those who drill wells down there are way overcharging for them, so with The Village Drill, the locals can have their own business.”
As one can imagine, the funding for such a project is the major obstacle.
“We’ve raised about $25,000, but we still need more to train the people and ship the rig,” Day said. “With adequate funding, we also will be able to get hand pumps so the people can easily pump water and the well doesn’t become contaminated.”
Accompanying young Day will be his dad Travis, who started training his son when he was only 6 years old. Help also comes from a third generation, Travis’ dad Fred Day, who, in turn, learned from an uncle and also taught his son those skills very early. Charlie plans on taking over this multi-generational tradition, but wants to continue working with Mothers Without Borders as much as possible.
“Mothers Without Borders is a great organization,” Charlie said. “Many organizations take your money but don’t show you what your money does. Mothers Without Borders gives you the step by step. So, you can be sitting in your chair donating and be as much a part of this as I am when I’m setting up the rig.”
The impact of this project, in fact, will be enormous. It will provide water for 500 Zambian families within the first year, create employment for up to five families, and then drill several wells each year that will impact more than 1,000 people each.
If you would like more information on Mothers Without Borders, or perhaps donate to help provide water for the people of Zambia, see their website at: https://motherswithoutborders.org.
By DOC WATSON