Malawi, 2012 – Katambala Village

Dear Friends,

The first village our team visited for a well repair and to share the gospel in 2012 was the smallest village I had ever visited – roughly 100 people. I suspect it was relatively new. They had dug a hole in the ground, and there was a bucket they lowered down to retrieve water. Since that time they had dug another hole in the ground – maybe 30’ deep – by hand! It is very hard for me to imagine how anyone can dig a small diameter 30 foot vertical hole in the ground by hand.

This was also the shallowest water table I had ever witnessed. The village had requested Child Legacy to set casing and install the Afridev pump “guts” into it so they could have a safe drinking water source. So, by the time our team arrived CLI had run and cemented the casing into place. All we had to do was install the riser pipe, pump rods, and surface hand pumping head. So, unlike a typical well repair, this was a brand new well for the village.

It was a fascinating little village. All these villages are unique. There is always something different and new to learn about the people of Malawi and their culture. The following photos of Katambala Village were taken by myself except where noted.


Pastor Lester Nikoma, with Child Legacy, inspects the hand dug water source.

Note the pieces of wood used to cover the water source and the rope attached to the bucket that ends up on the ground. I would not want to drink water from this well!

With farm animals wandering around, this alternative water source is clearly contaminated.



This was something new for me. In all the villages I have ever been to, I had never seen turkeys before.

There was a pair of them at this village – a Tom and a Hen.

Not growing up on a farm, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them.

I was quite surprised how defensive the Tom was as I got close to them. He was obviously guarding his Hen as he put on quite a physical display with his feathers and vocal chords!

He was quite frightening actually. He was very agitated and stood his ground very effectively.



Another unique aspect of this village was this stilted structure that contained several doves.

Not sure what the purpose of the doves were – eggs (awfully small) or meat (only 4 or 5 doves).

Pastor Lester and team member David Schultz check out the birds in side.



Malawian well repair crew member “Sho” shows (from left to right) Josh Agnew, David Schultz, and Joe Holmes how to install their 1st Afridev water well pump system in Malawi, Africa!



Meanwhile, while the well is being completed, my daughter Rebekah Blanca shares a bible story with the villagers, with Pastor Lester translating.

At the end of the story time the villagers are always given the opportunity to follow Jesus.

Photo by Alex Blanca.



Once the well is completed the villagers give it a try.

Katambala Village was 210th well to be completed in 2012 by Child Legacy. CLI documents every well that is repaired, refurbished, or completed. This well was finished on the 25th of June, 2012.

We had the great privilege of bringing safe, clean drinking water and the message of the gospel to this village for the first time in its history.


Great photo of the kids by Mitch Halquist, experiencing safe, clean, “running” water for the first time in their lives!

A new well usually costs $5000 to drill, cement, install, but since the water table was unusually shallow and the villagers were able to dig the hole themselves, an expensive drilling rig was not necessary, so the cost was far less than normal for a new well.



We always like to leave a little treat for all the village kids before we leave.

Pastor Lester and Pastor David supervise the village children while they receive chewable vitamin C and gumballs from my wife Jennifer, my grandson Elias, and my friend Steve Eckhart’s son Barrett.



Before we leave we always try to get our team with some of the villagers together for a photo opportunity.

Can you find our 14 adults and 6 kids?

And then, unfortunately, it is time to say good bye.

It is tough to leave after such a short amount of time.



It is tough to leave after such a short amount of time. But it is always good to see the villagers with smiles on their faces.

The people of Malawi always love visitors, even when we can’t always do a well repair.

Another great shot by Mitch!