From the Field

A day in the life of a Malawi water drilling team

Sometimes the best way to understand what people do is to shadow them as they do their jobs. Descriptions that can feel meaningless on paper come alive as you watch them work. The hardships captured in reports become real challenges. And a water drilling team, such as the one that serves Malawi, goes from being an entity without personality — a thing — to a group of incredible people with names, identities, families, wishes, hopes, and dreams.

The drillers, Edwin Tsetekani, 47, Moses Manda, 34, Salmo Brazio, 40, Golden Bhikha, 49, Raphael Kamparilo, 55, Howard Malamba, 36, Lilongwe, and Stafford Labani, 39, are part of a 10-person team that has worked together since 2011.

They work 90% of the year on the road, away from their families. They cook their own food. They wash their own clothes, always covered in mud after a long day at work. They live in tents and sit on overturned buckets instead of chairs. And yet the drilling crew wouldn’t have it any other way.

World Vision photographer, Jon Warren, and writer, Kari Costanza, spent five days with the drilling crew that installs and rehabilitates boreholes all over the country to find out what their lives are really like. Videographers Ben Chandler and Max Moser were there to provide sound.

Jon, Kari, Ben, and Max were inspired, not only by what the drillers do but also how they do it. How their work is bathed in prayer but also in laughter. How they are able to fix the problems that occur on every drill site with ingenuity.

The team members are more like brothers than colleagues — led by Golden Bhikha, part team leader and part father. The team names every campsite, “Mr. Bhikha’s village.”

For the next 10 years, these remarkable men will work together. It’s hard, but it’s something they love. “We provide safe water to children,” says Stafford. “We are proud of that. Water is life. We provide life given by God.”

Water is life given by God. And with your support, one of those children receiving safe, clean water will be 8-year-old Ireen, featured in World Vision magazine this spring.

Spend a day with World Vision drillers in Malawi. It’ll open your eyes and your heart.

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