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Hosea Apeh is an educational psychologist with a doctorate degree who teaches in the Faculty of Education at Nigeria’s Abuja University. In 1999 and 2000, Hosea participated in a well-drilling training program organized by Lifewater Canada. After that, he suffered many setbacks but persevered in his goal of providing safe water to rural Nigerians. We hope Hosea’s “impact story” inspires you as it has inspired us.
After completing my Lifewater training, desperate to make a mark, I began attempting to construct a truck-mounted drilling rig. My thoughts were clear: I would drill commercially and plunge the profits into community wells for Nigeria's rural population.
I remember the trip to Kano to buy a Bedford truck and how, for three days, the truck continually malfunctioned. I’d been tricked into buying a truck that was not okay. There was collusion between the mechanic I trusted and traveled with and the seller. We were still in Kano when the truck began to give trouble.
This would be one of the most embarrassing situations in my life. I remember returning home without the truck and with just enough money to pay my fare. Weeks passed and God helped me to tow the truck to Abuja. Slowly, the truck repairs commenced while the rig was being constructed. Every bit of my personal funds were channeled into my new vision of a truck-mounted drilling rig.
After months of praying and working, the rig construction was finished and the truck was fixed. We moved to the first site and the rig could not drill without breaking down and needing repairs. Days passed and we were still there. The landowner decided it wasn’t worth the wait for his well, so I refunded him his money and returned to the workshop for badly needed attention.
I was an angry person and quarreled with everything around me out of frustration. More money was needed and I had none. Then I took out a loan and pushed that into the rig rebuilding. Months passed and the builder was sure the rig was ready. An uncle contracted me to drill a well for his hotel in Masaka. He paid in cash but it was another nightmare. The rig could not drill a hole let alone find water. The experience broke me physically and spiritually.
Dejected and very scared because I had debts to pay, I put the rig up for sale. Who would buy a rig in such a condition? Months passed before the first person showed interest. He said he didn’t have cash but would pay through three post-dated cheques. In a hurry to put the rig-building experience behind me and meet my debt obligations, I accepted his offer. He insisted he needed to take the rig away because he had urgent drilling jobs.
The first month ended, I rushed to the bank and presented the first post-dated cheque which turned out to be dud. It would take two years after the buyer took the rig away for me to get my money, and that was only after police threats and court action was imminent.
Earlier, I’d set goals for myself. I wanted to start by drilling three new wells each month while also repairing the broken hand pumps on another 10 wells.
But by 2018, after suffering so much failure, I decided there was no point in dreaming any longer about helping my people get safe water. Totally discouraged, I hung up my work boots and gave away my tools so I could focus completely on my teaching and family responsibilities. I was done with drilling.
Then in 2020, I crossed paths with Lifewater Canada again. This time, they were offering me the opportunity to form a small team, rent a drilling rig, and begin drilling wells and repairing pumps.
Since then, this partnership has flourished.
In only 20 months, our team has drilled 260 wells (averaging 13 per month), rehabilitated 414 broken-down wells (averaging 20.7 per month, and repaired about 50 hand pumps (averaging 2.5 per month).
Lifewater Nigeria is now a registered non-government organization with 18 employees working in partnership with Lifewater Canada from a dedicated compound with administration offices and secure storage for four vehicles, drilling equipment, new pumps, tools, and much more.
Our projects now include important health and hygiene training for each community. And this week, I will travel to Kenya to share my drilling experience with new Lifewater Canada partners there.
When I remember how discouraged I was in 2018, less than two years ago, I am overwhelmed and full of tears of joy. Thank you, Lifewater Canada and your donors, for being the answer to the prayer I stopped praying.
Hosea Apeh in his office, at Abuja University speaking to recent graduates, and at home with his young family