Thursday, May 23, 2013

Borehole, Part 2

No, this soap opera is not over yet.

After the drilling failed, the supervisor said he'd call whoever his boss was and tell them they have to come out and survey before he will drill anymore (they had about six jobs all over the Upper East).  Why he didn't demand that he get the survey data before he started drilling two boreholes is beyond me.  I still don't know who messed up, who did not do their job, but I think if you go in a drill without the surveying been done, you are at least partially to blame.
After meeting with the elders, explaining that they didn't hit water, he said that they'd get some surveyors out and then come back and drill.  I thought he was totally BSing us.  But two Saturdays later, Christopher called me to say that a surveryor had called him and they'd be out the next day to take data.  (Best part is that I am not the contact person, I'm not dealing with meeting people.  What a relief.)  This man and his team surveyed for about two hours, then he said it'd take a few days to analyze and then we'd see what to do.  The rains were starting to come, so I was skeptical as to whether drilling would happen again this year.
(While this is happening, I was in contact with Mary about the expenses that Christopher and I incurred when the drillers were here that we weren't forewarned about.  Like I mentioned in Part 1, the supervisor demanded lodging and food, but little did Christopher and know that they were not going to pay for anything.  Dinner, breakfast and lodging for a night for seven people is not cheap.  I smelled a rat.  Well, or I just smelled a Ghanaian who was trying to take advantage of villagers' generosity.  They had already rubbed me the wrong way when they first arrived in Kongo, so I had to clear up this issue.  Mary emailed me back right away and said she was not aware that the workers were not paying for their expenses.  She asked me how much we spent, and she would reimburse me as soon as possible.  So not only did they no do their job correctly, they took advantage of the community's vulnerability.  Christopher told me not to ask for reimbursement, he just wanted them to come drill again.  I told him, No.  No amount of dashing is going to get you water.  Not to mention they are getting paid for their work, its not like their volunteering their time, and they work in Accra with white people, they should know this is not appropriate and very unprofessional.  And the villagers already showed their appreciation with two guinea fowls and a bunch of pito, so no extra bribing was necessary by any means.  About a week later, I got the reimbursement from Mary.)
A few weeks after the survey team came, the same drilling team came out again.  I was shocked.  They arrived late from Bawku one night again, then drilled the next morning.  I was not informed of the progress of their work, but I frankly didn't care too much.  I had already see the drilling process once, and all you can do is sit and watch for four hours as pipe after pipe goes into the ground.  Not too exciting.
So I found out the bad news the other way.  I happened to call Esther about something else, and then I asked how the drilling went (Christopher's phone was off anyways, not like I need to keep reiterating that) and she told me they had already left Kongo.  The drilling failed again.  This time around I didn't feel so connected or involved or invested with the outcome.  My heart already broke the first time, and I'm glad I didn't have to go through that feeling again.
A very brief glimmer of hope was seen after the first drilling failed and a survey team came out...but still in the end, nothing.  But now this is no longer my deal, its no longer my project.  I tried, did what I could, but it failed.  I have no idea what the next step is now- try again next year in a completely different spot? Continue to deal with this as is?  I don't know.  Now its Christopher's turn to figure out the problem with his community.  I have many contacts for him to use, so now he needs to step up and work with the experts to handle the problem. 
I'd like to say it wasn't a waste of my time and effort and energy to try to get a borehole.  I don't know what I feel.  But I worked with Ghanaians, I worked with an NGO, I held meetings, I was a contact person and advocate for Go-nseung, I learned a lot along the way about development projects, and at least I can say that I did all that I could to try to make this project happen, at least I didn't just sit on the sideline and hope someone else would do the work, I didn't give up even though I thought about doing that a lot. 
Most importantly I remembered a very simple, poignant saying:  Shit happens.

1 comment:

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