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Mikumi Solar Project – Nearing the end of my first year in the Electrical Engineering Technology program I was introduced to the idea of a possible work term in Africa 2014. As soon as I heard, I knew I wanted to be a part of that! The work term was in my area of study, and one of my upcoming courses was Renewable Energy. I thought of how amazing it would be to take what I have learned in the classroom and applying it to real life. The bonus was having the chance to do so in Africa.  
You never know what to expect when heading out on a journey to the other side of the world. Even more so, when you are heading to the other side of the world with some people you barely know. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I knew it would be a life experience I couldn’t pass up.

It has been roughly two weeks since the eight of us have left the International Halifax airport and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people. We have shared many laughs, creating inside jokes, sharing knowledge, and learning from each other. Our first few days were spent in Dar Se Lam, Africa. Dar is an enormous city here in Tanzania with a current population of seven million, making me feel pretty small and slightly intimidated. Luckily, we have Kellie traveling with us, the groups coordinator from NSCC International. Kellie has been our frontrunner and has been making each and every one of us feel very relaxed, and safe.

After the weekend we started our journey to the VETA Mikumi campus. We all piled into this little bus with our luggage, equipment, and our pleasant bus driver who didn’t speak much English. After four hours of driving we had finally made it safely to Mikumi. Before the bus even came to a stop we had people greeting us with big smiles and warm welcoming’s. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those people I met that day are going to be lifelong friends.

Coming into this I knew I would gain a massive amount of experience, along with discovering a new place in the world. What I didn’t realize is just how much this experience was going to change my life, and impact me the way that it did. I was greeted and welcomed with so many smiles, in every place I went and from all different ages. Everyone here in this little community called Mikumi has showed nothing but kindness and respect. I can very easily say that these people are among the nicest people I have ever met. In return I hope I can teach people back home how great people from Mikumi are, by treating others the way they have treated me. By simply smiling and saying “Good-Morning”, by actually having the courage to talk to someone you don’t know and starting that conversation with them, and by showing true acts of kindness to everyone along my travels.
Among many beautiful memories and moments, there is one that has stuck out a touch more than the rest. A student here gave me a very special gift and his words made my heart glow. He said to me:
“I want to give you this. I want you to remember me, because I am going to remember you and everyone here for what you have done for us. I will remember this for the rest of my life.”
Francis, I will remember you and everyone else for the rest of my life as well, Thank-You.

P.S “Everything will be fineeeee”

Courtney Falconer

Student, Electrical Engineering Technology

NSCC, Waterfront Campus

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