On December 7, 2005, a container was loaded at the Bartholomew’s yard and headed to Poptun, Guatemala. It contained a well service truck, steel forms for a concrete water reservoir, generators, spare drilling tools, a spool of cable and other equipment; 40,000 lbs in all!
The container’s journey was long and difficult. It went by truck to Seattle, then by rail to Long Beach, then by a ship of the Maersk line to Guatemala and then by truck again to Poptun. The transit was to take about 3 weeks. The container was not delivered until January 17th due to “problems” with paper work; issues between the main office of the shipping company and the Guatemala office. After days of negotiation, faxes back and forth and the payment of some “adjustments”, the container was released.
All cargo was intact. Lynn Bartholomew immediately set to work placing steel forms on the concrete pad which had previously been constructed. After 2 days of hard work the forms were ready, but the weather was not. Rain every day disrupted the schedule. Lynn decided the best course of action was to wait until April for the pouring of the walls.
While Lynn had been working hard on the reservoir project, Gary Bartholomew and volunteer Brian Bot of Halifax, Nova Scotia, worked drilling a well on Los Pinos property. The drilling went well until at 280 feet the cable broke a few inches above the thimble. They prayed and then went “fishing”. They were able to extract the tools. They declared that hole completed and the rig was driven to the shop for some maintenance. After some repairs the rig was driven 10 miles to Ixobel, a “suburb” village of Poptun. (If “suburb” can describe 300 homes and hovels with no water or sanitary facilities of any kind) You can see things swimming in the only water that is available outside of a bottle.
The mayor of Poptun indicated he wanted the well to be near the new school and assisted us by providing security for the rig at night and support during the day with water, soda pop, food, shade and interest. Men carried the bailed water away in order to keep the drill site dry and clean as possible. The mayor has promised to pay for casing and a pump.
As of this writing the drill is at 187 feet in limestone that does not have the clay layers we have seen previously. The well is cased to 120 feet with steel. There is plenty of water in the hole. Yesterday 43 feet was drilled. A good day in the life of a 1942 GMC 22W rig far from it’s Oregon home in the highland jungle of Guatemala.