Having left the army I was lucky and was employed very quickly and within one month of my discharge I was in Nigeria on my first Civilian Job! I was a lot different as there was no morning parades, duties and orders to read. I liked my job from the beginning as I was given the use of a Land Rover and my duties were all out in small villages in the Bush. After a few weeks commuting to my job site I fixed up a caravan and moved on site which made my boss happy but some of the workers were not happy as they said that it made them look bad by not living in the bush! I was living in a caravan with air conditioning which was a big step up from Army Tents in the desert so I did not care what the others said!
I was doing well with my work and in 1981 my company was contracted to install boreholes in a new school and on that school were a small group of Filipino Contract teachers who had no water and no electricity so I raided our scrap yard and put power to their houses as there was a generator but only the principal was using it! This is where I met Ellie, my wife to this day, she really got lucky then! We got married in Keighley Register office in UK on St Georges Day 1982 and my life has been more sensible since that time! I visited the Philippines on my next leave and loved it!
After the 4 years in Nigeria I moved on to Saudi Arabia, a place I did not enjoy at all! We were not drilling water wells so everything was for big oil so there was no thank yous at all for your works so after just over a year I left the job and went back to my house in England and my wife! During my tour, my Mother had died but I could not get home to the funeral!
As I was looking for my next job a contractor I had met asked me if I could go to the Island of Saint Helena on a 3 month job. I said yes but was surprised by the travel plans! First, me and a geologist had to fly to Cape Town in South Africa Where We joined the Her Majesty’s Mail Ship Saint Helena, the last mail ship in service. The voyage took
8 days up the South Atlantic Ocean and the weather was not good! Upon Arrival on Saint Helena was like stepping back in time but the people were very nice. The job was to take a small drilling rig up in the mountain, drill down to find water, then move the rig down and drill up to catch the water making a free flowing water supply which could be turned on and off with a simple valve! The Island was only 9 miles by 6 miles and 6000 feet high and 700 miles to the nearest land on the African Coast so It was very Isolated. The only way off the Island was by the ship we arrived on so that day was welcomed and back to South Africa and home!
I was not home for long when I was asked by the same contractor to go to the Sudan on a short job which I said OK too. On arriving in the Sudan, it was declared an Islamic Republic with no alcohol allowed so we had a good party with our duty frees. The job was very easy out in the desert in a place called El Obeied which had no road and was really only accessible by air. Commissioning a small Drilling Rig. I showed the Crew How to use it and having used such rigs before they were OK. I had to take a Bus back to Khartoum which took 3 days and the next day back to UK.
Our next move was another visit to the Philippines for 2 months, this was a good holiday, just what I needed!
My next job was back to Nigeria on a big water supply project where we had to put Boreholes, Water Tanks, Generators and Stand Pipes in 160 villages! This project was very rewarding to me as in one village I set my caravan under a big Mango tree and every morning the village people passed with the bodies of up to 8 children every day! I used this village as my central hub for about 4 months and as we were leaving the elders gathered to thank me for the clean water supply and the school principal explained that the children’s death rate was down from up to 8 per day to just 2 or 3 each week! I never realized this and it made me feel good to know how I had helped! This Job was very successful and as it was ending I picked up my next job once again in Nigeria!
After another holiday in the Philippines when we bought our land and then had to sell our house in UK as we had decided to live in the Philippines. Before I started my next job we had a buyer for the house so I went back to work and left the wife to pack our stuff in a 40 ft Shipping Container and when she was finished she moved back also! For me, it was back again to Nigeria this time drilling 800 bore holes which would have hand pumps installed. This time I was supervising 2 contractors, one Canadian who were very professional and one Chinese who really needed supervising! This work was hard on the Chinese side but easy on the Canadians side! It took nearly 2 years but the contract was completed and the Government was so happy with the project that the made an extension. I was asked to stay on for another year but I had decided that I would retire an live in the Philippines which I did!
In Mid 1972 I moved out here and with the exception of a short break to UK in 2003 and WILL spend the rest of my life here! Not everyone can accept the life here but I had lots of experience in other countries with similar conditions so it was very easy for me!