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Mikumi Solar Water Project – The experience I have had from participating in this project has been mind-blowing. While going through the customs in Dar-es-Salaam airport on May 6th, we got questioned about the items we had in our luggage for the project and were asked to provide a written document from either NSCC or VTC to confirm our purpose of travel to Tanzania. It seemed like they just wanted a small bribe to let us through. We didn’t have any written documents from either colleges, but I was able to talk to the supervisor and explained in Swahili the kind of relationship NSCC has with VTC and what we were planning to accomplish in Mikumi this year. He was very understanding and happily shook our hands and said “Karibuni” (Welcome).

Spending a day in Dar-es-Salaam brought back a lot of memories from when I lived in Tanzania. Although a lot has changed, I was still able to spot some old bus stops as we drove by. After driving around the city on the bumpy roads, smelling the fish at the market, walking through the noisy streets, sweating through the heat, I said to the group, “I’m finally home”.

We left Dar-es-Salaam on May 8th and headed to VETA, Mikumi. On our way, we saw some animals such as elephants, giraffes, impalas, and buffaloes. The people in Mikumi were very welcoming.

I have learned a lot since we started working on the water pasteurization. Apart from being fully involved in the project I have been acting as a liaison between our group and, the staff and students at Mikumi. I have been able to help by providing sketches for things we need built and explaining to the shop managers what exactly we need. Because I can speak Swahili, it has been easy for both students and staff to approach me with questions about the project or if they just want to chat about Canada. I have told every single one of them that they will die of cold if they travel to Nova Scotia.

Our group has faced a few challenges, such as not having the right solar panels, realizing that our previous piping design will not work, or messing up the pipe threads without any spares to use. With the help of staff at VETA and good communication among ourselves, we’ve been able to overcome these challenges.

Going on a safari yesterday (May 13th) was epic. I was happy to see all the animals especially the old lion we found napping on the side of the road. Visiting VUMA hills was definitely the highlight of my day. The food was amazing, and the breeze through the tents and the sound of birds and insects was very refreshing.

Tom Samuel

Mechanical Engineering Technology

NSCC Waterfront Campus



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