Kilolo Star Well Drillers
Kilolo Star Well Drillers is a partnership of Ron Reed, an attorney from Chico, California, and Castor Sanguya, a well driller licensed through the Tanzanian Government. It was organized for the purpose of training young men and women to drill water wells to provide clean water for the villages of the Kilolo District of Tanzania.
In 2004, Ronald Reed began traveling to Tanzania. Reed saw the need for clean water and became determined to help Tanzanians drill water wells. To do this, he learned water well drilling by working with well drillers and taking well drilling classes. He is now a full member of The National Ground Water Association, the leading organization for well drillers in the United States.
In 2007, with the help of his sons and friends, he built three well drilling machines in his shop in California and loaded them into a cargo container to ship to Tanzania.
In November of 2007, Kilolo Star Well Drillers selected eight young men and two young women to train to be water well drillers. Reed paid the trainees 30,000 tsh ($25 USD) a month and arranged for them to work without cost with Saint Paul Partners, a Lutheran group that was drilling water wells in the Iringa area. The trainees worked hard and called themselves The Kilolo Star Well Drillers.
In June of 2008, the cargo container with the three drilling rigs arrived at Kilolo, and Reed, with his son, Ben, and his granddaughter, Kelsey, set up the rigs and taught the young trainees to operate them. The rigs were each named after African animals: Twiga (giraffe), Simba (lion), and Tembo (elephant). Ten more trainees, including three girls, were soon added. The first trainees were paid 50,000 tsh, and the new workers received 30,000 tsh.
A water engineer was retained to teach water well drilling theory and practice, and an experienced well driller was hired as a trainer. A truck was rebuilt, and a driver was then hired to transport the drillers and drilling machines to future drilling sites.
In July 2008, the first well was drilled by the Tembo team, and by June 2009, the Kilolo Star Well Drillers had drilled 50 wells and set hand pumps providing clean water for 12 villages.
In September of 2009, a fourth well drilling machine was added, and a drilling team of women proved that they could be well drillers. This fourth machine was called the Lioness or Mama Simba. This team of women has since drilled many wells and has greatly contributed to the overall water well drilling effort.
In February of 2011, a cargo container was loaded with five additional well drilling rigs in Chico, California. The cargo container arrived in Tanzania in April of 2011, and those additional five well drilling rigs are now in operation.
At the time of this writing, the Kilolo Star Well Drillers have drilled 130 wells which collectively provide clean water for 15 villages. The 23 Kilolo Star Well Drillers are now paid 120,000 tsh each month and take great pride in their contribution to the increased quality of life they are helping to provide for their fellow Tanzanians.
The cost to drill a well and to provide a hand pump varies, but it is approximately 3,000,000 tsh. Each village is asked to help provide food and shelter for the workers, and to pay 30,000 tsh per village each month to maintain the wells. Kilolo Star Well Drillers collects this fee and uses it to maintain wells and to improve health conditions.
Kilolo Star Well Drillers is not religiously based, nor is it part of any NGO or other charitable organization. Ron Reed and his associates in the United States provide the funds needed to support the project.
The goal of Kilolo Star Well Drillers is to help the people of the Kilolo District of Tanzania by providing water wells and training young men and women to become water well drillers. Kilolo Star Well Drillers hopes to drill 50+ water wells each year, and to continue to train young men and women to advance the effort. It is hoped that Kilolo Star Well Drillers trainees will eventually become employed as well drillers throughout Tanzania and Africa.