Conclusion of Ker Jain Pump Repair Project – The Gambia

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Wells Brown. To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was to repair a hand-pump well in Ker Jain.

Wells reports:

After considerable delays due to shipping errors and the month of Ramadan prayer, the Ker Jain project has been finished, and was more of a success than we originally thought it could have been.

After buying all new hardware, bearings, chain, pump repair kits, gaskets, springs, grease and threading silk, we were able to repair the target pump so that you would think it was brand new!

Before we dismantled the pump we decided to run an experiment in which we timed the rate at which the pump would prime, before and after, the work was completed. At the beginning of the day, it took 83 full pumps and 2 minutes 23 seconds for the water to reach the spout, hard work especially when you are not even filling a bucket. However, at the end of the day it took 13 pumps and only 19 seconds.

By replacing all of these parts we were able to improve the efficiency of the movement, create a stronger vacuum for lifting the water while also guaranteeing the pumps longevity.

Moreover, during the maintenance process we were able to salvage some of the old parts and swap them onto a second hand pump that had not worked at all for the last five months.

As for the actual repair process, once again the village came out to lend a hand in any way possible. The physical labor was donated by 6 able-bodied young men, working through the duration of the day in the hot African sun as women brought them water to drink and mangoes to eat. The watchful eyes of the village development committee (VDC) and the village elders closely supervised all of this.

Upon completion of the work I was immediately greeted by the village Alkaloo and Ustas, offering thanks and prayers both to me and the wonderful people who so generously donated money to help them repair their pumps. Most notably was when Ustass Ndure said, “Without water, and the generosity of strangers, we could not be here. Thank you for your kindness”.

This is a sentiment that I too share. However, it is also important to remember that although Ker Jain does not have money or parts to contribute, they did commit their time and their sweat to this project, as well as some fast talking by the VDC chairman to guarantee we had the necessary tools to complete the work at a basement bargain price of $0.

As for moving forward, the local shop owner has generously donated a lock and chain so that during non-water-fetching hours the pump can be locked and saved from the wear and tear it receives from ever-playful children.

We wish to thank Wells for completing this project, and again extend our gratitude to The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust for providing the funding.