Written by Elmer & Joann Reifel
Dear Friends & Family,
Several months ago we promised to familiarize you more with our well team members. It seems to me that we got a little side tracked and here we are in 2017 already! We are going to start with Abass Fofanah, our Well Team Leader.
Abass is 29 and was born and raised in Mile 91, about one hour west of Bo, where we live. He is the third of six children and was forced to stop schooling in Class 3 (primary levels) due to the War in Sierra Leone. When the rebels attacked Mile 91 his family was scattered in the bush and his mother was captured by them. He and a friend named Joseph, whose sister was also taken by the rebels, decided to ‘infiltrate’ the rebels in an effort to free their family members. After some time they were able to create a way for Abass’ mother to escape but it was almost six months before they found their own escape in the Hastings area, closer to Freetown. Unfortunately, Joseph lost his life to a land mine while trying.
Abass found himself in Freetown, a street boy– no home and no family to go to for some time. He connected with those who stayed in an area he referred to as ‘the Dockyard’ where many displaced people lived. At some point he left when cholera broke out.
He was able to learn construction work and save money so that he could go back to school. By this time he was older so he skipped a few grades intentionally and enrolled in Class 6, which he said was a struggle, but he was able to catch up.
In 2004 he learned that his father and family were staying with an uncle in Rokopu so he was able to see them, but he continued to work and to go to school until he sat his WASC (the final exam to graduate from ‘high school’ in Sierra Leone) in 2010.
During the construction work he met John Campbell and joined a well team. From that first well team he met us and eventually became our well team leader.
His wife lost a baby in 2014 so he was a VERY nervous father-to-be in 2016 as she carried their second child. While I was visiting family and friends in December/January, his little boy “Elma” was born. Baby Elmer (pronounced Elma) is doing very well.
The most difficult aspect of well drilling for him is either too much rock in the soil or what is called ‘collapsing’ soil, which fills up the hole faster than it can be dug out. This happened to our third hole in Wonah, causing some MAJOR extra work.
The part of well drilling that he enjoys the most is when the four inch pipe has been secured into the hole and the men have ‘clarified’ it— because at that point he knows that this well is going to be DONE.
Abass is a strong character and a hard worker but he does not appear to be in complete fellowship with Christ yet. He believes in God, as many do, but the relationship with Christ seems to be missing right now. Pray that he will be able to commit himself to the Lord “one hundred percent” (his favorite phrase)!
We invite you to partner with us in our Ministry, donations can be made by going online to: cinami.org/reifel
also check out the amazing “Clean Water” video on this site.