The Drilling Team: The brains, the brawns, and the beauty

Hope is found in different ways.

Sometimes you’ll find it through a loving relationship with someone who really cares. Other times you’ll find it through a gift that changes life as you know it. Even other times you’ll find it through words of inspiration that change the way you think about yourself, or about life in general. But sometimes, if you’re lucky, it comes traveling in a Tata Sumo Victa, with a couple cots strapped on top, and a ragtag bunch of unsung heroes inside.

At first they might seem like nothing special, just a trio of everyday guys, but when they come together something indescribable happens.

First there’s the brains; that’s Raju. He’s a calm and collected fellow who speaks only when needed, often standing in the background with hands folded. He’s a focused guy, who doesn’t often let his smile out; you kind of have to crack it (but don’t worry, he is easily cracked). And he’s brilliant. He knows seven different languages and is always solving problems. Clothed in a button down shirt, slacks, and an incredible amount of humility, this guy does his best to help as many people as he can.

Then there’s the brawns; always referred to as Pastor Paul. That’s right, “never Paul,” never “Pastor,” always “Pastor Paul” together as if his parents literally gave him the first name, “Pastor.” He’s the first one you’ll notice, full of energy and things to say. He’s the spokesman of the group, and he’s not afraid to use his boisterously loud voice, even if the timing isn’t the most perfect. And his voice is always coupled with his big and hilarious gestures. With his lack of good english, it is often difficult to understand him, but his unending body language never fails to get a laugh out of whoever is watching. His giddy personality and constant joking gives the group its personality. He’s a workhorse, too. Despite the intense heat his energy and work ethic persists. Clothed in pretty much whatever he can bear the heat in, this guy does his best to help as many people as he can.

Lastly, there’s the beauty; none other than Prem Kumar. Now why is he considered the beauty? Well that can easily be answered considering his choice to consistently flaunt the shirtless dhoti (a male indian skirt) style, and just one glance at that hefty mustache should do the rest. Prem is the oldest of the group, the smallest of the group, the goofiest of the group, and the most spiritual of the group. He’s always playing with the children, showing off his dance moves (which pretty much consists solely of the booty shake). He always has a bit of a twinkle in his eye, and every moment you get to share with him is something pretty special. He doesn’t open his mouth all that much, but when he does he is either cracking a joke or singing songs of praise. The best part about Prem Kumar is his laugh, like a grandpa, a kind of deep and jolly gargle that tickles his mustache. Clothed in dhoti’s and hallelujah’s, this guy does his best to help as many people as he can.

And that is exactly what they do. They’re the drilling team. Traveling around the hottest state in India, Andra Pradesh, they go from village to village drilling wells and giving communities clean water. They spend several weeks at a time together as they sleep outside on cots in whatever village they happen to find themselves in. They lay down their city lives to live with the people, to eat with the people, to talk with the people, to sleep with the people, to do life with the people. This quirky group has an uncanny ability to form relationships quicker you could ever imagine. They don’t simply see wells as projects, they see the wells as a chance to help real people. Real people with real stories, and they do their best to care deeply about those people.

The drilling team has brought over 25 wells, impacting over one thousand people. These guys are making a difference. These guys are changing lives. These guys travel around in a Tata Sumo Victa, and they bring real hope to real people.

-Written by Caleb Petersen, 2016

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