Mikumi Solar Project 2015 – This weekend has been amazing, we spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday out in Mikumi National Park on safari and it was probably the coolest experience I’ve ever had. Every experience so far in Tanzania has been brand new and so enjoyable. The people have been so welcoming and friendly.
Our first week was very productive and we added a few tasks to our list. The first few days we spent meeting with the teachers and students of Mikumi and trying to organize a timeline for the project. When we were measuring the water level in the storage tanks to estimate daily water usage we discovered that one of the tanks had what was most likely a cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) growth on the water surface from exposure to the sun. The lining of the tank was also very dirty from a calcium carbonate scale due to the hardness of the water, so we decided to clean the tank to give the residents of VETA better quality water.
This was an unexpected addition to the project but it felt great to be able to provide them with better quality water. We also got our SunPumps solar pump installed and working this week and it was Lisa’s and my job to disinfect the pump tubing with a chlorine solution as it was reinstalled into the well. Again it felt awesome to be able to disinfect and clean the water source and to educate some of the students about why this was important. We ran some coliform presence/absence tests on the well and the tank water and it turned out to be positive for coliform but negative for fecal coliform. So essentially the water quality isn’t great but it could be worse. Now we know the parameters of the water so we can decide what projects could benefit VETA in the future.
We have been working with the electrical students all week and they have been absolutely amazing. They are all so eager to learn what we are doing and are so willing to help. This project is something that can be replicated throughout their country to give them a sustainable means of accessing water. After a long week of working it was really cool to spend the weekend out on safari. It was very relaxing to be sleeping in the park, hearing all the different animals as you were going to sleep. This whole trip has been unforgettable and I can’t wait to start week 2!
Environmental Engineering Technology Student
NSCC Waterfront Campus