As the sun rises over the rural Ugandan valley, a group of 12-year-old girls are getting ready for the day ahead. Instead of reaching for a backpack for school, each girl takes a 5-gallon jerrycan that will hold the water her family needs for the day. While 12-year-olds in other countries are thinking about the latest fashion trends, sleepovers with friends or after-school activities, these girls from Uganda must sacrifice their schooling and any dreams of the future for a life sentence of carrying water.
The girls walk a few miles to get to the nearest water outlet — a 30-minute journey one way — and wait in line for everyone else to fill their jerrycans. Once filled, they carry the 5-gallon jugs, each weighing around 40 pounds, by hand because the terrain is too rough for wheelbarrows and other tools to lighten the load. Each of the girls comes home exhausted from the trip, but the day has only just begun.
On the other side of the world in Los Angeles, John Foley was searching for a new direction for his career. He was drowning in paperwork as the general contractor for a construction company he had started. After a trip to Uganda, Foley realized how he could focus on construction work and give back at the same time. He decided to begin to create new opportunities for water in Africa.
Foley founded JF Well Works Africa to help change the way of life for Ugandan girls and their families. Foley’s business focuses on drilling wells in the African country of Uganda. As one of the most densely populated countries in Africa and with 48% of the population under the age of 14, Uganda had a tremendous need for clean water which was critical to the health of their people and a key to addressing the poverty issues afflicting the region.
Before Foley could start drilling water wells in Uganda, he needed to find the right drill for the job. Through a simple online search, he came across the LST1 water well drill from Lone Star Drills and decided to give it a try. The drill offered an affordable price and the ability to transport it with a four-wheel drive pickup. As he used the water well drill, Foley discovered it not only provided easy portability, but also exceeded his expectations when it came to reliability.
Since starting JF Well Works Africa, Foley has been able to master the process of drilling water wells. “When it comes to deciding where the water wells should go, we pick the areas with the highest need,” Foley said. “We work with local government officials and subcounty officials and go through about 20 different steps to determine which communities need water wells the most. We never have to worry about moving around with our drill because the LST1 is so easy to transport from one location to the next.”
“The thing about drilling water wells is it’s not labor intensive, so you don’t need massive crews of people to do it,” said Foley. “The drill does all the work which gives us the opportunity to refine the process and find the most effective methods to increase our efficiency.”
Since his start in 2018, Foley and his team have drilled more than 220 new water wells with the LST1. The community members can save time and energy by not having to walk miles every day for water and save money on medications because they are no longer getting sick from dirty water.
Foley wants to take JF Well Works Africa to the next level by opening a training facility where he can teach people how to drill wells. The goal with this is to reach those who are already doing the work with other non-profit organizations and to find a standard way of doing things to increase productivity.
He aspires to create tutorial videos on what tools to use, what to do and what to avoid so crews that don’t have access to in-person trainings can still get the resources they need. Uganda is one of many countries in need of water and Foley realizes his work has only scratched the surface.
Foley comments, “It’s such a rewarding experience to provide something for 600 people in a day and see them turn their lives around with something so many of us take for granted.”
Learn more about how the LST1 water well drill has been the right fit JF Well Works Africa. Find The Right Water Well Drill for Your Remote Drilling Job