Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lining the Well

Good Saturday Morning to you all. I hope you do not mind, but will continue the water theme a bit longer. Today's picture is from 1941 and it shows men lowering a concrete culvert into a water well, to serve as a lining for the lower segment of the well.

This is what we are intending to do, so the picture serves as a nice segway into an update on Project HAO. Well, I am sad to report our project has hit a major setback. The concrete culverts were delivered today. The well hole diameter is 37 inches. The concrete culverts have a diameter of 37 inches. The snag is both are Inside Diameter measurements. So, the hole is 37 inches wide and the inside diameter of the culvert is 37 inches, but the outside diameter is 41 inches. The culverts will not fit in the well hole. Now you might be thinking, just return them, but in Africa all sales are final, so we must make the larger ones work. This means Jacob must re-dig the entire hole to the proper dimension. He must re-enter the well, and recut the hole to the larger 41 inch size. Then perhaps we can have a nice photo like the one above, of the culvert actually going down into the well hole.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Water for the Army

Today's picture was taken in 1864 near Fredericksburg, Virginia. It shows a soldier from the Army of the Potomac drawing water for the troops. It looks like his cart has water barrels, so he probably has a pretty big job each day drawing the water. I would imagine providing water for an army with tens of thousands of troops was no small logistic feat.

OK, now for the moment you have all been waiting for . . . the results of Project HAO . . . wait for it . . . waaaaaaaait for it . . . . SUCCESS

Yes, we struck very good water down at about 75 feet. Now the next step is that we have to lower concrete culverts down the well to serve as lining for about the bottom 15 feet of the well. Then, the question is, do we let the children draw their water with a plastic bucket or do we provide them with a dandy hand pump, allowing them to not only have water for themselves, but perhaps also provide water for needy folks in the area.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Drawing Water

Today's picture shows a woman drawing water from a shallow well. How nice it must have been to be able to hit water only a few feet deep. The picture was taken in 1937 in Minnesota. 

The tension is so heavy in the air here you could cut it with a small hand spade. The children have become optimistic that we are about to his water. So optimistic in fact that they have completely turned over their 1/2 acre garden, and have planted new seedlings.

The moment of truth has arrived! A bucket is being lowered on a rope to the bottom of the well, and now is being drawn back out!

Tune  in tomorrow when we will learn if there is anything in the bucket!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hauling Water

Back in the day, getting the water to the surface was just part of the problem. You then had to haul the water to the house. This picture shows a Hispanic woman near Taos, New Mexico hauling water to the house. You can see the old style bucket well in the background.

Project HAO continues! First, I should do a little book keeping . . . our contest was to guess the name of the well digger. Myrtle was the first with the correct answer, his name is Jacob. Interesting! So, this could be called "Jacob's Well", and the ladder inside . . . "Jacob's Ladder".

I am pleased to report we are now 70 feet deep. If you look at the well hole, Jacob is no longer visible, but you can hear the faint "thump, thump, thump" of his hand spade digging ever deeper.

As we started getting deeper, the issue becomes oxygen. The carbon dioxide exhaled by Jacob settles in the bottom of the well, so soon there is no oxygen in the lower regions of the well. Jacob must judge when he is losing consciousnesses, and come up for air. People on the top drop banana leaves down the hole. Supposedly the leaves give off oxygen, but I  also wonder if perhaps the big leaves stir the air  on the way down and mix  some oxygen down to the bottom of the hole. Perhaps we should rename the project, "Dig to China". Actually, China is not opposite Kenya, so this would be "Dig to US".

Woman at Well

Today's picture was taken in Oklahoma in 1939. It shows a woman at a very primitive well. I say primitive because it does not have even a hand pump, and the water bucket/rope system does not even have a crank to make drawing water easier. I am coming to appreciate more and more just how huge of a deal it is to have easy access to water.

Now as far as project HAO, the project continues without a hitch. On the contest to guess the well diggers name, we have had no winners yet, but some good guesses. I will leave the contest open one more day. Myrtle was the closest, in fact she was very very close with the guess Issac, but that is not the Bible figure associated with a well, but it is close. Also, notice in the picture there is both a Well and a Ladder.

Here is the picture of progress for you today.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Drilling for Water

This is an interesting picture of a man drilling for water at Pie Town, New Mexico. He is using a technique of drilling by impacting. A large bar with a bit like device on the end is lifted up and then dropped. When it hits, it shatters rock and compacts them out of the way to the side. Then the bar is lifted and dropped again. The engine he is standing next to is used to lift the bar. When the guy sort of tightens the rope of the spinning pulley, the bar is lifted, when he loosens the tension it drops. Eventually, with a little luck, he will get down to water.

Operation HAO Update:

To all you naysayers out there, I am pleased to report that operation HAO is ahead of schedule. We are making phenomenal progress. I should say that I do appreciate all the notes of encouragement and offers to help. Unfortunately, there is not really a good way for you to help me. A number of you have indicated a desire to possibly provide financial support for the project, but it really does not make sense. If you were to paypal me $50 to help with the project, IRS would consider that reportable income, and I would have to pay taxes, so your $50 contribution would net result in only $30 help on the project, so while I appreciate the offers of help, it just makes most sense for me to cover costs of this project. 

You can see that we are deep enough now that we actually have to use a rope to get to the bottom.  Also, would you all like  to  hazard a guess as to what the Well Diggers name is? It is perhaps the perfect name for someone digging a well.

The picture below better shows the hole. Notice how round and perfectly straight the hole is . . . all without any measurement tools. Also notice how he has carved himself a ladder is the sidewall of the well, making it easier to get in and out.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Water Well

Welcome to Water Well Week here at OPOD. We start with this fine photo  of a couple of guys installing a hand pump on a newly dug well. The picture was taken in Missouri in 1938.

I guess I had never appreciated how important water is until recently. When we think of poverty in Africa, I had always thought of it from the perspective of the need for clean water to prevent disease. As I have spent the summer here, I have learned that there is another critically important issue . . . how far you are from clean water. You see, the further you are from the well, the longer it takes to carry the water to your house (more accurately, mud hut), and the less time you have for other critical activities. If a woman has to walk 45 minutes to the well, and 45 minutes back, that is 1.5 hours consumed just to have water. If she has a well in her village, she could use that 1.5 hours to perhaps raise a few more vegetables, and instead of just barely having enough to eat, she might have a little excess produce to sell, hence obtaining a path to break the cycle of poverty.

Funny we should be talking about water . . . a few days ago I was in the market in town, and ran into a very poor local African guy who has started his own orphanage. The orphanage has 1/2 acre of land, a mud brick dormitory with tin roof and no doors (just openings). He has taken in 20 kids which he takes care of there. He has no support from anyone. The children survive based on the kindness of very poor neighbors. Perhaps a farmer drops off a cabbage for them, or someone gives them a bag of maze. He was eager to show me his operation, so  I went with him to check it out.

I was happy to see that the children were relatively well nourished, and had reasonable clothes. The man who is doing this, Charles, told me that he and the children really wanted to support themselves, but that their biggest problem is that they had no water. They have a garden, but the garden does not produce, because they do not have water. The children have to walk a long distance and carry water, enough for drinking and a little cleaning, but not enough to operate a garden. He said that if they had water, the soil was fertile and they could produce much of what they needed to eat themselves. The children all get up at 5:00 AM each morning, and spend  2 hours reading their Bibles and in prayer. Then they walk to school. They attend a poor public school down the road a ways. In the evening, they go for water, and have a little time for play. Their rooms are completely empty. They each have a bed with a horrible rotted mattress. There is nothing else in the room except beds and mattresses. The food is cooked outdoors on a little jiko wood stove. It really does not get much poorer than this, but thankfully the children are getting food.

I am thinking someone needs to dig them a water well. Oh well, hopefully someone will come along and help these people.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wild Cow Milking

We wrap up Milk Week with this picture of cowboys milking a wild cow. The picture was taken at a roundup in Montana in 1939. I would think gravity would be working against you if you tried to milk a cow laying down, but perhaps they are just catching her and will stand her back up before milking.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Milk Man

Today's picture was taken in 1903 and it shows a milk delivery wagon. The picture was taken in 1903, and looks like a similar cart to the one pictured yesterday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Milk Delivery

Today's picture shows a milk delivery cart. The picture was taken in about 1900 in New Orleans. I wonder how long the milk would stay fresh like this, back in the day before refrigeration.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Girl Milking Cow

Today's picture is from 1902, and it shows a small girl pouring herself a cup of milk . . . right from the cow. I love the look of the old guy in the background. Is he not a real backwoods kind of guy or what?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Milking Tunes

Today's picture is  from 1923 and shows a man milking a cow. What is unique about this picture is that the man has rigged up a radio, antenna and headphones so he can listen to the radio while milking. Also note he is using the technique of feeding the cow to keep the cow pacified while being milked. Wonder what he listened to while milking.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Milking Cow

If this is going to be Milk Week, I guess we better get started with some pictures and info  on milking a cow. This picture was taken in 1900, and shows a wonderful mountain scene with several pioneer women milking a cow. I love the trees and old log cabin in the scene.

Now to be honest with you, I have never milked a cow, but I have seen it done and so can share some insight with you. The first key to milking a cow is to appease the cow. So, if you give the cow something good to eat in a bucket when you want to milk her, you will be starting off on the right foot. Then, the cow for some reason will want to either step in the bucket (right after you have successfully milked her) or will kick the bucket over. Because of this you will want to tether the back legs together to keep this from happening. Then, you will want to wash the udder, and finally get down to milking the cow. You don't want to mess around, you want to get the job done because the cow will start losing patience. If you have more experience or would like to add your  insights, please post your comment.

Here in Africa, it is amazing to me how many things are like stepping back in time a hundred or a hundred and fifty years. Yes, the cows are still milked by hand. Georgina works at Mattaw, but it is not her job to milk the cow, but she enjoys doing it, so sometimes she goes out and helps. The video below shows her milking the cow, and demonstrates expert form and results.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ice Cold Milk

Welcome to milk week here at OPOD. Nothing is better than an ice cold glass of milk, as this Oil Field worker knew. The picture was taken during the Kilgore, Texas oil boom in 1939.

I love milk, and there are somethings that are simply not complete without a big glass of milk, like apple pie, peanut butter and jelly, chocolate cake, and any type of cookies.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Black Children

Today's picture was taken around 1900, and it shows black children in front of a log cabin. While the children appear to be living in poverty, they do appear to be fairly healthy. Hopefully these children received the food they needed.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

North Carolina Log Cabin

Today's picture is from 1937 and it was taken in North Carolina. It shows a family on the porch of their  log cabin. The cabin appears tall enough that I would guess that it has a loft or some degree of a second floor.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Log Cabin Family

Today's picture shows a group of people in front of a log cabin. The picture was taken in 1903. It looks to be a family, and two additional men. There is snow on the ground, and everyone is dressed for cold weather. The location of the photograph is not recorded.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Log Cabin Scene

Today's picture was taken in 1895, and it shows an old black man by his Log Cabin. He is pouring himself a beverage, and a woman can be seen sitting in the window.

I like to look at the construction detail on these old houses.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fire Place Scene

Today's picture is from 1935, and it shows a gentleman and his dog sitting by a nice fire in a fire place. The scene is inside an old Log Cabin. The picture was taken in North Carolina.

I find it interesting to study the picture and find small details that give clues to this man's life. First, I notice a square and plane on the wall, so this man was likely a carpenter or craftsman. Also, note the violin case on the floor . . . apparently he was a country musician as well. The clock on the mantle indicates to me that he was able to enjoy a few of the nice things in life.


I continue to enjoy my time in Africa. I had a great time visiting the school at the Mattaw Orphan Village. It was like stepping back in time over a hundred years. The really striking thing to me was not the lack of technology, it was not the dirt floor, and it was not the old fashioned chalk board . . . the striking thing to me was attitude. The children were delighted to be in school, they were eager to learn, and they completely realized the profound privilege, blessing and opportunity it was to be able to receive an education. The children were extremely polite and well mannered. There was no cutting up, no sassing the teacher, and no horse play. Some children were working in workbooks alone, and some were working in small groups. At the same time, the teachers were happy, motivated, and appreciative of their chance to teach and improve the opportunities for their students. After spending some  time with these children in school, I really wonder if they might not be receiving a superior education to that from a US public school, at about 1% of the cost. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Old Log Cabin

Today's picture is another one from Montana showing an old log cabin. From the looks of the doors, I am wondering if it was converted to a barn or garage.

From the comments yesterday, it sounds like I am not the only one who has dreamed of living in a log cabin, and I am not the only one who decided against it because of maintenance issues. As I mentioned yesterday, we opted for a rock house instead. Our home is all rock on the outside, and it has a metal roof, so it is really very low maintenance. The only maintenance are the wood columns on the porch/balcony. They need to be painted once a year. One day I will figure out how to redo the columns where they still look good, but are in some other lower maintenance material.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Log Cabins

Welcome to Log Cabin Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at old log cabins all week long. Today's picture shows some of the details of construction at the corner of the house. This picture was taken in Silver Bow County in Montana. I always dreamed of living in a log cabin home. I am sure you have seen some of the brochures and advertisements for modern log cabin kits. They have some really beautiful, rustic homes you can make out of these kits. I looked into this at one point, but what I learned is that the exposed lumber in log homes will quickly look like the logs in this picture if you do not maintain the outside of the house. I think if you have a log home, you are supposed to treat the exterior exposed wood at least once a year. That is more maintenance than I wanted to do, so I built a rock home.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Making Ice Cream

Today's picture was taken in 1940, and it shows some children making home made ice cream. How many of you remember making ice cream in a bucket like this? I sure do and can tell you it makes the best ice cream. Now, a couple of things about the picture. When we used a bucket like this we filled it to the top with ice, and in this picture I see no ice showing. Also, on ours to keep it from tipping over as you turned the crank, you had to have another kid sit on the top of the bucket for weight. So, I suspect in this picture perhaps they are getting ready to make ice cream but are not really doing it yet.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Children Eating Ice Cream

Today's picture was taken in 1941 in Indiana, but it could have a been a picture from my childhood. The picture shows two children in coveralls sitting in the back of a pickup on a feed sack eating ice cream. Pictures like this really take me back.


Continuing to stay busy in East Africa. Yesterday we spent at the Mattaw Orphan Village. I am going to help them revamp their WEB site so we spent the day visiting with house parents and taking pictures of them. During the day I got this picture, which I really liked, so wanted to share it with you. Mattaw is set up with 4 three bedroom houses. Each house has a mother and a father, six boys and six girls. A bedroom has three bunk beds, so six boys stay in one room, six girls in another, and the house parents have their own bedroom. Then there is a common area, like a living room, and a small kitchen. There is no electricity, so all food is cooked over little charcoal stoves. The houses are small, but it is amazing how comfortably they accommodate 14 people. They do not feel crowded at all. They also feel very much like a real family. The meals are delicious, yet simple. For lunch, each mother would cook a huge pot of Ugali (somewhat like "grits" in the south, but much firmer) and Sumuwiki (Kale sauteed in garlic,onion and a little tomato). This is a delicious and nutritious meal. Every day the menu is different, but it is always simple. Good nutrition, ample portions, simple and affordable. The kids take their food and eat wherever . . . some might sit on the floor, outside with friends from other houses or maybe sit with the parents or visitors. Everyone gets plenty and everyone has plenty of company to enjoy the meal with.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Today's picture is from 1938 and it shows an Ice Cream Vendor. The man is selling Eskimo Pies out of a box. The picture was taken at the Louisiana State Fair. I would think you would have to be a pretty good salesman, as you would need to move all your merchandise before it melted.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ice Cream Truck

Today's picture was taken in 1918, and is shows a Reid's Ice Cream truck. It was taken in Washington DC. I can remember as a child there was a milk man who would deliver milk to the house. He also had a nice selection of Ice Cream sandwiches, fudgebars, and eskimo pies. Very good ice cream and a very nice man. The man was Elmer Garlits.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ice Cream Cones

Today's picture was taken in 1917, and it shows children working in an ice cream cone making company. I am not sure how the device works that you see, but you can see it is making ice cream cones.


Had a great day out at Mattaw yesterday, meeting some of the new children. It is amazing to me how resilient children can be, and how quickly  they can be restored to being happy children. These two children were rescued out of unspeakable horror  about a month ago, and now look at the brilliant smiles they have. The smiles are not poses for the camera, but are a reflection of a joyous heart. The little boy on the right sat in my lap all day wanting to be tickled. He has the funniest little laugh. That is all he wanted all day was to be tickled. I won't share there storied here, but will say that to see the smiles on their faces, and to know what is in their past, I can truly say that God and the love of Christ are definitely at work in East Africa.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ice Cream Cart

Ice Cream Week continues today with this picture from 1900. It was taken in Cuba, and shows a man selling ice cream from a cart on the side of the street. I bet it was good ice cream, but I also bet he needed to sell it pretty quickly. I don't see a lot of opportunity for insulation on his cart.


Yes, I have arrive in Africa with the Lovely Miss EAM. We are at the last outpost  of civilization in Western Kenya. The first week we pretty much spent just getting settled in . . . getting water working, getting food, and finding our way around. Everything takes more time than you would like, and even something simple like getting  food takes all day. Anyway, we did get out to the Mattaw Village, and the children were so happy to see the lovely Miss EAM. The children knew that she was sick, and the folks had told them she was better and would be coming back, but I think some of the children had assumed the worse. Anyway, when we arrived at Mattaw, everyone ran out to greet her with hugs and kisses. It took several hours to just get through the greetings. Then Miss EAM wanted to get down to business to check on the health of all the children, but they had other ideas . . . they wanted to braid her hair. So, the rest of the afternoon was spent with her being a full size barbie doll.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ice Cream

Welcome to Ice Cream Week here at OPOD. With summer upon us, I felt it was appropriate to look back at people enjoying this summer time treat. Today's picture is from 1913, and it shows a child enjoying a bowl of ice cream.

We all know that the best ice cream is home made. Perhaps you would share some of your favorite ice cream memories and maybe even some ice cream making secrets.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bread School

We wrap up Bread Week here at OPOD with this picture from 1917. I love this picture and how diligently these boys are working on perfecting their bread making skills. The picture was taken at a trade school in Oklahoma.