Mikumi Solar Water Project in Tanzania – Jambo! My name is Jessica Douglas and I am with the Environmental Engineering Technology program at the Waterfront Campus. I learned about this opportunity from one of my teachers, Jim Kerr, who was the project lead for the Mikumi Solar Water Project in 2016. Ever since I found out about the project I knew I had to go, I love to travel and I have always wanted to go to Africa. I had a lot of expectations of what the trip would be like from hearing things from Jim and from doing research on the country but the reality is much different than my expectations.
The people I have met here have been so kind and friendly its amazing. Today alone on my way from my house to breakfast at least 8 people said mambo or good morning to me. We like to think that Canadians are the nicest people around but we’ve got nothing on Tanzanians.
They eat a lot of carbs here, mostly rice and a lot of potato. For some of the group that I came here with, that was a big change from what they are used to eating but for me I am used to eating a lot of rice and potatoes. An interesting thing that we have been eating a lot here is bananas in a savoury sauce, its something that I didn’t think that I would like but I am obsessed! I wish I could get the recipe so that I could make it when I get back home, but I think that they use a different type of banana than we have access to in Canada. One thing that is a little hard to get used to is the lack of vegetables but it is made up for with an abundance of fresh fruit that is way better than the fruit back home. The papayas here are delicious and I got to try passionfruit for the first time!
This project has been a huge learning experience for me in terms of being able to adapt to changing plans and circumstances. When we got here we found out that the pump we had been planning to use for the project was not working and hadn’t been working for almost a year! That was a huge problem to work around and something we didn’t expect or plan for. Now on our second week here, the pump has been fixed and we are back on track for the project.
We got to take a break from the project this past weekend and go on safari in Mikumi National Park which was amazing. We saw elephants, giraffes, zebras, impalas, water buffalos, monkeys, wildebeests, and birds on safari. We saw more animals near our accommodations, we stayed at two different places. The first place we stayed a few people in our group saw lions around our houses at night, I didn’t see any of them but when we came outside in the morning there were lion paw prints leading right up to our door! The second place we stayed we saw honey badgers, civet cats, genet cats, bush babies, and a massive porcupine that was way different than the porcupines we see back in Canada. We even got to feed the bush babies which was so cool!
I feel like I could go on forever about all the great experiences I've had here but I'll stop now so that I can get back to working on the project.
Environmental Engineering Technology Student
NSCC Waterfront Campus