Fresh Water in Oltorotua!

Dan Odero, our hydrogeologist, sent an e-mail with the good news at 2:55 EST this afternoon:

Hi All,

Newsflash started drilling today hit water at 72m this evening. Will keep you updated.



Seventy-two meters is 236 feet, a deep well, but, as Steve King said when he phoned me, “At least they hit water!”  In Kenya’s bush, it could have been a lot deeper.  Or nonexistent.  Although Dan, who did the original hydrogeological study in January 2011, believed water would be found under the village, we couldn’t be sure until digging began.  Now digging will go on for two more boreholes that will serve the needs of Oltorotua’s almost 1000 people.

I cried. Literally. Couldn’t stop.

The journey has been long, with frustrating curves in the road that slowed us down. On the other hand, I made new friends, especially Steve and Karen King and their family, renewed old friendships and saw the U.S. through Kenyan eyes when Jackson visited us.

Way back in February 2008, we were made honorary Liaram family members for our help supporting Jackson during his studies to become a safari guide.

On that trip I realized that raising children when you spend much of your day walking miles for a few gallons of impure water is just plain awful. No other way to describe it.  Clean water really is a basic need and a human right.


My Unitarian Universalist congregation was very supportive, but clearly we needed more money than our membership could contribute. We also lacked expertise in the well business when it involved a village half-way around the world. Jerry Kruhm, my Rotarian brother-in-law, suggested that I link with Rotary District 7620 in the Maryland/DC area.

On December 22, 2009, I received my first of many e-mails from Steve King, who wrote:

Our Rotary District Governor asked me to assist you with your proposed well for the community of Oltorotua, Kenya.  I am the District’s international water and sanitation service project coordinator.  My responsibility is to assist district clubs with identifying and developing international projects that they can participate in, including financing.

Today, over four years later, the wait seems worth it. Not only did borehole #1 spout water but congratulations came within a few hours of my Facebook posting from Germany, Thailand, Alaska, California, Ohio, Washington (to us in DC area, the one out West), Florida, all over the U.S. northeastern coast, and Kenya. Amazing! Below are the photos Jackson sent. Jerry jokingly wrote, “Hope those village women don’t get in the way of the drill team.” He added a serious and very true comment: “Surely, they are the real ‘winners.'” Which is why I especially love the photo of their watching every move of the “drill team.”


Jackson labeled these photos: Driller arriving on site and Crew setting up the drilling machine. Then:IMG_3779 Drilling in progress and Oltorotua residents watch the driller work


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