During my quick trip to Guatemala in October, I had a chance to check on the progress that is being made on repairing our equipment for the coming drilling season. During the season, we are continually faced with the prospects of breakdowns and the resultant delay to our drilling progress. Our drillers come to drill and when they have to stop and make repairs, it is disappointing to them and to us and to the villagers who are waiting.
To address this issue, we decided to hire someone to focus on repairs to our rigs and trucks during the off-season. After some discussion, we decided to employ Edgar Lopez. We have known Edgar for several years and have taken our machines to him for repair many times. He and his wife and family live about one hour away from Poptun toward Santa Elena. He has a small shop beside the road in the village of San Juan.
He is familiar with our work and very supportive of our efforts to help his people. One of our workers, Jon Hansen and his wife Chis, stayed with him while Jon drilled a well several years ago. While the well is one of the few on private property, when the villagers of San Juan have no water, as sometimes happens in the dry season, Edgar’s well and water is available to all. He pays the electricity for the well and allows people to get what they need.
At the end of last year drilling season, Jon had a long list of things that needed to be done to the various trucks. The list was not complete, but did have many things that needed to be addressed. Edgar and Berny had been working their way through the list all summer, and I could check on the progress they were making.
One of the rigs, the oldest one, needed several things. One of the necessary repairs was to address the severely worn bushings and shafts on the sheaves that guide the cable for raising the derrick. They were worn so much and the grooved wheels wobbled so much that there was a real danger of the cable jumping out of the groove and jamming in the pulley. It had to be fixed.
Edgar brought another of our trucks he had been working on and drove the rig to his place with Berny and I following. When we arrived, Edgar immediately began working on it. It was so hot that I could barely keep my hand on bare metal in the sun, but Edgar climbed up the mast and removed the parts. Then Berny and I took the parts and headed on up the road to Santa Elena to find a machine shop to make the repairs.
We went to one shop but it was closed and so went to another. They looked at the work and said they could have it tomorrow. Berny asked if they could please do it today and they told us to come back in four hours. That was good and we went to lunch and then off to a village nearby to check on the pump that was working there.
At about 2:30 we came back to the shop and waited a bit till the machinist was finished. The new bushings were in and the new shaft machined to the proper diameter. We paid the money, about $150 US dollars, and were on the way back to the shop so Edgar could reinstall the sheaves and get on to other projects.
One more task completed in the list to prepare for the coming season. We hope we will be able to put our volunteers to work drilling immediately when they come and not be delayed by having to make repairs. If you have an interest, contact us. We can put you to work. Perhaps on our new rotary rig or maybe on the old cable rig. It will be up and working when you get there.