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Mikumi Solar Water Project 2018

It was hard to have concrete expectations before coming here because there was not a whole lot of information given to us and pictures were hard to use as a reference for what the actual layout was. Needless to say my expectation of Mikumi and the project were very different from the reality.

Our goal for the project this year was to set up a prototype rain harvesting system, put a new solar pump in the solar well, replace the biobarrels, collect and record a lot of data for future staff and students and many more smaller tasks.

We had a little bit of a rough start as our totes got held up at the border for about 4 days so we did what we could without them, but without them we really couldn’t get started. We also purchased rain gutters for the prototype rain harvesting system were held up in Dar Es Salaam where we purchased them. We make things work even though we have way less resources that we would have easy access to in Halifax. This is one of my favourite parts of the project though is that we have to think on our feet and use what is available to us. We have created a lot of samplers and other tools mainly out of water bottles and duct tape. They work for what we need them to do and so far so good! This is a huge advantage when applying for jobs or working in the field as I now have first-hand experience of onsite problem solving.

The people at VETA Mikumi are so nice and make sure that we feel as comfortable and welcomed as possible. All the teachers are willing to help us if we need it such as carpentry, welding and electrical engineering. The students are all very welcoming and want to have conversations and of course they laugh when you try to say anything in Swahili, which is fun.

My favourite part of the trip so far was one night after work we walked up to the soccer field and all the students were either playing sports or watching. They were playing netball, which is similar to basketball but once you catch the ball you cannot move only pass or pivot. There is also no backboard which makes it super difficult to score but they were so good! I got to pass the ball around with them and shoot, and none of us made a shot haha. They were all very into football (soccer) which I love because I also love football. Different grades play against each other in sports here and they have a lot of fun playing them and I wanted to jump in and play too.

My experience in Mikumi was not anything I could have imagined but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am enjoying my time here very much and want to continue working on their water distribution system until it’s all fixed.

To those future students and staff: Enjoy yourself and don’t be afraid to jump into their culture and interact in any way you can!

Haley Fougere
NSCC Student, Environmental Engineering Technology
NSCC Ivany Campus

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