WFSS drills during the dry season in South Sudan, which is usually December until the rains come, sometime in May. So what do they do the rest of the year? Prepare for more drilling!
This year, our South Sudan team (Salva, Ater, John and Benson) traveled to WFSS headquarters in Rochester, NY for intensive meetings with our US operations team. They debriefed on the drilling season, and worked on processes for all facets of WFSS drilling, from equipment maintenance and repair to a storage system for spare parts at the WFSS compound in Wau. Communication between the US and Africa is not always easy. Internet connections are not consistent in South Sudan; cell phone service can be spotty. All agree that face-to-face communication is the best.
In addition, team members met with WFSS board members and some donors. Team members also were able to get physicals and needed medical care at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center in Rochester. As WFSS is not able to provide medical insurance for members living in Africa, it is crucial that team members get care here, to be able to go back to Africa and live and work in the environment there. Extreme heat is one challenge they face, constant exposure to malaria is another. Thankfully, team members were helped and went back to Africa in good physical shape.
The harsh conditions of South Sudan are a continual challenge for WFSS crews and equipment. Team members on both sides of the ocean have been working to repair compressors and be sure all vehicles are in good working order.
This fall, WFSS team members traveled from South Sudan to Uganda, where they picked up all drilling supplies for the coming season—enough pipes, pumps and spare parts for 40 new wells. In addition, WFSS-Rochester is preparing a shipping container to send additional parts and supplies to South Sudan.
“We are always looking for ways to improve operations,” says volunteer COO and Board member Don Fairman. “Each year we are able to improve efficiencies. We can always work better and smarter.”
Crew members have arrived back at the WFSS compound in Wau. From there, they will finish final equipment repairs and be ready to do assessments of villages that will receive wells this year. Then they will head out to the remote areas that WFSS serves. And, very soon, more clean water will be flowing in South Sudan.