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Mikumi Solar Water Project in Tanzania – Jambo! I am a senior student in the Environmental Engineering Technology program and I have had the privilege of participating in the Mikumi Solar Water Project 2017. This year our goal was to build a full scale aeration system to soften 10,000L of water per day that is provided to the Hospitality Centre at VETA Mikumi in Tanzania. The water from the Solar Well (built during the 2015 Project here) is extremely hard and quickly causes scaling/buildup in the plumbing system for the Hospitality Centre; this includes plumbing for sinks, toilets, showers etc. which makes daily chores and tasks more difficult.

My project partner and I have been busy doing water chemistry testing each day to check if the system has been working as we had hoped and although there have been some bumps in the road we seem to be on the right track for completing the system and having it function efficiently.  

Although the aeration system is the main reason we have come to Tanzania, this trip has also provided the opportunity for a cultural exchange. This aspect of the NSCC International program has had a big influence on me and so the focus of my blog will actually be on the people I have met while in Tanzania.

The first group of people I would like to share about is the other NSCC International group that was also in Tanzania, the Oral History and Documentation team. This team was made up of screen arts and tourism students and it was such an honor to be able to spend a week with them. Their project was so different from ours and it was amazing to be able to have a glimpse at their experience here.

One day a couple of my team actually got to tag along to one of their interviews where we met an elder of the community who teaches traditional dance to students in Mikumi. To have the chance to meet such a vibrant member of the community was amazing and on top of that we were even treated to a performance from the students of one of their dances! I was smiling the whole time.

To top it all off, we all got to go on Safari in Mikumi National Park the weekend before the Oral History team departed. We all had the most incredible time together taking lots of pictures of animals (probably too many of impala…) and the incredible scenery, sharing meals together and overall making new friends while creating amazing memories with one another. I am so happy to say I got to meet this group of people and call them my friends.

The second group of people I will talk about is the students at VETA Mikumi. Everyone here has been so welcoming and are always asking how we are doing or what we are up to. In particular, the mechanical and electrical students have been a huge help for our project by building various metal structures we have needed for the aeration system and helping with all the wiring for solar panels and pumps.

That being said, 2 students in particular have become very dear to me that we happened to meet our first few days here. The first is a House Keeping student, Jessica (aka JoJo) who was instrumental in helping me and my project partner (also Jessica) during the open house day the first week we were here. She helped us translate all day to the visiting students and members of VETA. We honestly would not have survived the day without her! She also took Jess and me on a quick tour of the campus and she visits us every day to say hello and ask how we are doing. Needless to say, the 3 Jessica’s (pictured) have become quite the trio and we always have the loveliest time together.

The other student, Allen, is a Tour Guiding student in his first year and he also visits Jess and me every day (Pictured). He is so full of energy and always has the biggest smile on his face. Even when we are having a not-so-great-day, Allen will visit and you can’t help but smile and feel better. He is so kind and helps us with our Swahili and answers all of our questions about culture and life here. We even got to visit his home and meet his grandfather; we were very warmly welcomed and they showed us all the amazing trees they have (orange, lemon, mango, avocado, banana and guava) and we were given oranges and lemons to take with us for later.

Overall this experience has been so incredible and I don’t think this blog even begins to scratch the surface of the wonderful people and experiences I have had here but I hope I was able to give you a bit of an insight to my NSCC International experience.

We only have 2 days left before our project is finished and we have to leave VETA Mikumi (then a few of us are going on Safari all of next week in the northern part of Tanzania!) so I will sign off so I can take it all in before we have to say goodbye to our friends here. Asante! 

Jessica Sharp

Environmental Engineering Technology Student

NSCC Waterfront Campus

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