Location, Location, Location: The community, together with their MMM Field Officer selects a site that is close to the village and more than 30 meters from open water holes, toilets, or animal corrals.
The Top Slab: Once the well has been sited, the next step is pouring the top slab. A ring of bricks 1 meter in diameter is laid on level ground to form the mold. A galvanized steel socket with attached steel reinforcing bars is placed in the center (this is where the pump will screw into the slab). Concrete is mixed and poured to the height of the bricks. Before it dries the date and the words “Glory to God” in English and the local language are written in the cement.
Digging the well: A six-foot diameter pit is dug until there is at least six feet of water in the bottom. Villagers use a treadle pump or buckets to bail water as they dig. Sometimes they encounter rocks or loose soil or there’s not enough water, and the community has to change the location of their well. Once the well is dug and has adequate water 6 inches of stone are put in the bottom. This acts as a filter as the water is drawn up and helps keep dirt and sand from being pumped into the casing pipe.
Lining with Bricks: After the well has been dug, a certified MMM builder lines it with bricks made by the community. The first five rows of bricks are laid without using mortar, allowing the ground water to filter in through the soil and brick. After the fifth course mortar is used to strengthen the walls of the well and seal it from surface contamination. As the builder reaches ground level, the bricks are “cobbled” to a smaller diameter to fit the size of the top slab.
Capping the well: After four rows of brick are laid above ground level, the well is ready to be capped. With the help of the villagers, the builder places the top slab on the well and seals it. Cement is used to plaster the outside of the well. Before it dries, the date, well depth and water depth are inscribed in the plaster.
Pouring the apron: Once the well is capped, the builder adds a concrete “apron” around the outside of the well with a drain to keep surface water from entering the well. Bricks are used to form a mold for an apron extending one meter around the well with a three-meter drain to carry runoff away from the well. As the apron is poured with a mixture of cement, sand, and gravel, the builder ensures that surface water flows away from the well. Gravel and bricks are placed outside of the apron, preventing erosion and chipping. The apron is covered to protect it while the cement cures for several days.
Installing the pump: The final step to building a well is installing the pump. The installation team, made up of a Field Officer or Installation Supervisor, a U.S. volunteer, and the local builder or maintenance person, installs the pump. Information is recorded about each well, including a GPS reading, the name of the village, the number of people served by the well, the date, and a picture of the new well. Once the pump has been installed, the well is dedicated to the glory of God. The villagers are reminded that the well represents the love of Christ and symbolizes a partnership between themselves and Christians in the United States.