A few weeks ago we met a man in a village who told us he had built his own ram pump. When he showed it to us it looked like it was the real deal. We did not know the dimensions of his pump but we wanted to give him a pipe to get a pump going on his land.
This past Thursday we took one of the pumps we had built at the office and drove out to the village. On the way out, we bought extra 66mm iron pipe for the “drive pipe,” along with a roll of smaller HTP pipe for the “supply line.”
When we arrived, he led us to the spot where he wanted to install the ram pump.
His proposal was to get water from a “Juey” (or canal for waste water) and feed the water downhill to the ram pump, which would then pump it uphill to an orchard he wants to begin growing. We were excited to help him setup the ram pump that we had built earlier. After he had walked us through his proposed pipe path, we noted that the drop in elevation to the pump may not provide enough power to transport the water uphill far enough. We were determined to try and make it work. We began the setup which involved shoveling dirt, moving rocks, and constructing support structures to stabilize the pipe. Halfway through the setup, it began raining and steadily intensified.
The villager invited us into his house for tea, lunch, and conversation till the rain subsided. This provided a great opportunity to learn about his life and share about ourselves with him. Once the rain came to an end, we finished setup and used some nearby rocks to provide additional support to stablize the vibrating ram pump.
Our boss submerged the end of the drive shaft tube and began the process of feeding water into the pump. The ram pump began quickl, with only a few priming strokes needed. Although the startup was smooth and worked properly for a few minutes, we quickly encountered some difficulties. The ram pump was not able to keep a cycle due to faulty gaskets in the new valves we bought, an unfortunate error that we could not foresee until we put our pump into action. Although unfortunate that we couldn’t get it working on our trip, we’re hopeful that our boss can make another trip out in the future and fix the faulty gaskets in the pump valves. While our pump did not work properly, we were informed that later that night, after we left, the villager installed his own pump into the pipes we’d provided and his did work! While not everything worked out as planned, we definitely learned a lot, had a blast getting our hands dirty, and are hopeful for future relationships with this villager. Our boss is considering partnering with him in designing and welding pumps for future projects.