Elephant Damage

January 27, 2011

These two pictures show damage done by elephants to a spring box. Originally we had made plans to do a repair to the hand pump, damage done by elephants previously.  Before we could do the repair, the elephants returned and literally ripped the cement platform off the spring so they could get to the water below.

The hand pump is mounted on a spring box, or a container which sits on top of a natural spring which provided a source of water for over 600 families.   Once the elephant damaged the pump the lid to the box was opened up and left open so that people could dip water out of the box. This led to the water being contaminated and unsafe to drink. The villagers continued using it as it was the only source for over four miles. (An interesting note:  when we arrived to assess the damage done by the elephants the first time, we were informed that a hyena had gotten in the spring box, gotten stuck and died.  You simply cannot imagine some of the situations locals face in trying to find clean water…even when the clean water source is nearby.)

Our plans had been to rebuild the broken hand pump with one our ministry partners, and one of their visiting teams, within two weeks’ time. The pump top, handle, and inner components have been sitting in the garage of our partners, repaired and ready to reinstall.

Before that repair could be done, we received a call that the elephants had returned to the scene of the crime.  Now the repair is much more extensive. You can see the pedestal where we removed the damaged parts is now the only thing holding the entire top of the spring box from falling the ten feet into the box!  We will work with our ministry partners, and their team, and attempt to drill a new bore hole near this spring box and put in an elephant-proof pump to provide a safe water source.

We wanted to share this with you just to give you an idea of some of the challenges villagers face in getting water each day.  It also helps give you a glimpse into the issues we deal with in finding solutions to clean water problems – no two are ever alike.

Join us in praying that the elephant does not decide to come back while we are working on the new borehole pump!

[The pictures below show “after” and “before”…the first one shows the situation with which we are currently dealing.  We will actually be working on this project this week – 27 January 2011.]


Clean, Safe Drinking Water for Gathiga Hope Children’s Home

January 12, 2011

Gathiga, Kenya

In November I was asked by one of our ministry partners to look at a hand pump at the Gathiga Hope Children’s Home near Gathiga town. The Afri-Dev hand pump that had been installed on one of their two 100-foot, hand-dug boreholes had stopped working and needed repair.  When we arrived at the home I was quite shocked at the condition of the home. It was obvious that the home did not have a large donor base and was desperately in need of funds. As we stepped out of the vehicle we were greeted by 100 happy children who call this place home. Even though the condition of the home was not the best, it was clear these children were happy and well cared for. Read the rest of this entry »


Trip to Kajiado District and Masai Mara

December 7, 2010

Update from our November 15, 2010, trip to Kajiado District and the Masai Mara area of Kenya

Monday morning we left Ngatataik in Kajiado District for Nairobi to pick up Camille and then drive to the Masai Mara area of Kenya.

On the way to Nairobi we made brief stops in Bissel and Kajiado town. By mid-morning we were back in Nairobi and had somehow avoided the horrendous traffic jams for which Nairobi is known.  A quick stop at our compound to pick up Camille and some clean clothes for the rest of the journey and we were on our way again.  Our travels today would take us northwest of Nairobi towards Limuru town, down the escarpment into the Great Rift Valley then to Narok and the town of Talek in the Mara.

Kenya has some terrible roads by any standards, but over the past couple of years we are starting to see some improvements.  Today we traveled on a new section of road that has been very improved.  We did notice that the rains had started and the landscape was much greener than Kajiado District.  When we arrived in Narok town the first thing we noticed was that the main street is now paved.  In the past, the town had pot holes that could easily swallow a small car.  After a quick Kenyan lunch we headed to Talek on good roads that would only last for a few kilometers.  Once we turned off the main road onto dirt roads the ride became bone jarring and rough due to the poor condition of the road.  This part of the trip would take us two hours and right through the Mara area.  Even though we were not actually in any game park we could see many wildebeest, zebra, Thompson gazelle and giraffe.  Our destination where we would be staying for the next six days was a tented camp just outside the town of Talek.  We would also be joining part of the CPCC medical team and clean water team that arrived on Saturday while we were in Kajiado.

In Kenya when someone says they are going on safari it doesn’t always mean they are going to a game park to see animals.  Sometimes it means they are taking a trip up country (outside of the city) to one of Kenya’s many rural towns.

Tuesday morning after a hearty breakfast and a night of monkeys jumping on our tent we headed off to a CMF clinic in Talek, and a primary school and another CMF clinic in Endoinyo Erinka.  The CMF clinics were in the process of getting started with the Pure Water for Maasai program.  This program uses rain water that is collected or harvested during the rainy season.  Water is collected from the corrugated metal roofs so widely used here in Kenya.  Rain gutters divert the rain water into large concrete or poly tanks for storage.  This rain water is great for bathing, laundry and general washing but is often not safe for human consumption.  Using a simple device called a chlorinator to produce chlorine this rain water can be treated for drinking.  Clinics can now offer clean drinking water for patients who need to take medications with water that will not make them sicker than they already are.

The process is the same at schools where students and school staff need clean drinking water.  By providing this clean water at schools, students can stay healthy and avoid missing so many school days due to water-related illnesses.  This program also encourages students to take this education and knowledge on clean water home to share with their families.

During the rest of the week we visited several clinics, schools and communities in the Mara area that had clean water solutions in place or were in need of implementing a solution that would provide a source of clean drinking water.  Several of the locations we visited had some kind of water infrastructure in place that had become non-operational.  It was disappointing to see this and learn why things were no longer working.  We learned that sustainability at the local level is key for implementing long-term impact in the water sector.

It was a good week and by Saturday we were able to view some of the wildlife for which Kenya’s Masa Mara is so well known.






After a short flight back to Nairobi we returned with lots of new friendships, memories and stories to share next time we see you!  We praise God for the wonderful partnership we have with CMF and look forward to working together to bring both physical water and the Living Water to people here in Kenya.


(Goodbye in Maasai)


Video from Kenya

November 12, 2010

Trip to Kajiado District and Masai Mara

November 10, 2010

Nairobi, Kenya

Update from our recent trip to Kajiado District and the Masai Mara area of Kenya Part 1

First, we love being back home in Kenya and have had the opportunity to connect with many friends and clean water ministry partners since our return.  Our transition has taken longer than we thought it would but we are finally catching up. Read the rest of this entry »


Mark and Camille Return to Kenya

September 29, 2010

Camille and Mark are en route to Kenya! They left Denver Monday night. I’m sure they will let us know when they are safely home.
Please continue to keep the Puringtons in your prayers. Here are a few prayer requests I am aware of:

1. travel mercies (jetlag would be minimal)
2. smooth transition as they return to their Kenyan routines
3. comfort as they miss Sara ~ this is their first return to Africa without her

Thank you so much for your continued prayers!


Click here for more information about Eleos Project. Please visit Mark and Camille’s Shepherd’s Staff web page to learn how to financially support them.


Hand Pump Starts Church in Maasai Tribal Area, Kenya

September 2, 2010

Back in April we had the privilege of working with an outstanding group of Kenyans and Americans to repair a broken mechanical hand pump at a water well in a rural Maasai tribal area in Kenya.  Hand pumps are used for water wells in remote areas of developing countries where there is no electricity.  These pumps use human power to bring life-sustaining, clean, safe drinking water to hundreds of vulnerable people every day. Read the rest of this entry »