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Ibrahim has already transported all the building material by the well and this morning he has brought his team there and they have started to prepare the camp where they will stay until the work has been completed.

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Ibrahim has put his gun in the car, for hunting rabbits. It will certainly be better than the dry fish that they have bought for cooking the sauce for the rice. It does not seem very appetizing to me.

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We went into the desert to buy a sheep from the Touaregs, because the tradition needs that the works should not start without the sacrifice of a sheep and having a good meal with it.

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For the Touaregs it is done as a good omen of success in finding abundant water, and for the well diggers it is done for a good omen of completing the work without accident, because their work is a dangerous one, and sometimes one dies from falling down the well or hit by falling earth or stones, in wells that go down up to 90 meters down the earth.

Our well is 31 meters, and we shall dig a further 5 meters, in sha Allah, as one always says here.

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How does a well in the sands work?

The wells in the Sahara are dug by hand unless they is rock, in which case they are dug with explosives.

Every meter that is dug, the wall of the well is constructed in cement until water is reached.

At that point, some prefabricated cylinders of a smaller diameter are sent down the well one upon the other to form the walls of the underwater part, and the well diggers dig under the water in apnea.

In the end, a perforated cement tap is lowered down to seal the bottom and the water flows through the holes to fill the well.

This is how this well was built and this is why there is so little water.

The holes in the bottom are not sufficient to let the water flow, and they have been obstructed by sand and clay. The Touaregs have then removed the tap and the sand has started to come up filling the well.
They have emptied it of sand but again the sand came up. The sand that came up has left big empty caves around the well, threatening it to crumble.

Ibrahim has to rebuild the underwater part of the well with modern technology that will allow to drain much more water and to stop the sand from filling the well.

He will have to extract all the cylinders that are underwater and to lower down in their stead perforated cylinders that will permit the water to enter into the well from the walls as well as from the bottom.

In order to avoid that the sand enters through the holes, Ibrahim will lower down together with the cylinders a column of gravels from the Niger river, that will be all around the walls like a filter.

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These gravels are quite expensive and it is also expensive to transport them from the river into the desert, this is one of the reasons why local well-diggers do not use it, but anyway it is only Ibrahim who has the equipment to make such wells in the region and the only one who masters this technique that he has learned as an engineer.

For these reasons all those who want a well with abundant water come to him for the construction.

Those who cannot afford the costs of the material call artisanal well diggers who dig wells that give water for a short while and then dry up, which is exactly what happened to our well.

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