EWB Otho Abwao Update

A lot has happened since I mentioned anything about my involvement with Engineers Without Borders and our project in Kenya. Construction on the ferrocement tanks started on January 26th which was about two weeks later than we had planned, but either way construction has started. It is really meaningful to me as its pretty much my first project that I’ve been involved with from design through completion. But, for my friends Andy, Neil, Emily, and Ely this is really bigger since they been working on this project from their Freshmen year or early second. Most of them have already been to the village a few years ago and now they know the individuals they visited are truly getting a project. A project that will reshape their lives and their children’s lives as they will now be able to have clean water readily available.

Well since construction has started that means our implementation trip is quickly approaching. We’re set to leave Cincy on March 14 and return March 25. But we’ve still got a lot of work to do before then. Aside from all the travel paperwork we’ve still got to wrap engineering items up. Our manual and bill of materials continue to be our big assignments as this will constitute the majority of the work we will do in Kenya. My role upon entering the village will be to install the roof, drainage pipes, and check everything over in relation to the tanks. It might not sound like a lot, but things can change quickly in Africa. I plan on just leading a hand where ever I can after completing my items. After we all get done with our individual system work the education to the villagers will begin. Although I’m not an expert in water education, being in an industrialized country I/we take almost everything for granted. We don’t have to constantly worry about the safety of our water and introducing people to cleaner water will be a challenge. Basic things such as cleaning the jerry can or letting the water flow for a few minutes to remove contaminants will be a new concept to the village.

But even though class projects are heating up around our departure time, I still see this project as something more meaningful than completing some for most of my classes. It is probably bad to say that, but this project is more meaningful to some than restoring a creek (although I do love nature) as that project is all conceptual and will liekly not happen. So working on an actual engineering project that will change hundreds of people’s lives as an undergrad truly shows the opportunities UC engineering students have. This project has also allowed all of us to use our co-op and class knowledge to help. So I can’t wait to finally go on a Spring Break trip (I’ve always pretty much worked on the farm every year), and I can’t wait to witness the beauty of Africa. Although we’ll be working all the time, I’d rather be doing something rather then laying around in the hot weather. Nothing like a nice relaxing work vacation (remember I’ve climbed mountains on my “vacations”) after a hard Winter quarter of work. Well I’ve got some EWB work to do and I can’t wait to spill the beans about the trip when we get back.


2 Responses to “EWB Otho Abwao Update”

  1. 1 Ned
    March 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I just became aware of your EWB Water project in Kenya and would like to know what the status of the project. Have you completed construction and it is operational. We are working in a village (Kager) about 50 kilometers from Otho Abwao and we are looking to do something similar. We would like to send one of our village colleagues over to meet and see how the new system is working. Thanks. Ned Campbell http://www.jubileevillage.org

    • 2 Jordan V
      March 27, 2009 at 5:14 am

      We actually just got back the other day so that’s why I’m a bit late (2 weeks) at responding to your comment. Unfortunately, us students had to leave before everything could get done (customs issues beyond our control), but our professor is sticking around to finish things for us. I/we should know more by the end of next week, but the last I heard on Wednesday is that our pump is working and sending water up to the tanks. That’s as much as I know right know. I can get back to you when I hear more about the status of our work. Is ned.jubilee@comcast.net your preferred email? Otho Abwao is near the Sondu-Miriu hydroplant near about 0°20’48” S and 34°51’43”E

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