By Kerry-Ann Hamilton
December 28, 2010
uhai – Water is Life
students conducted a very successful
assessment site visit
Mark Kurgat, a Choimim resident, Aleah Holt, a sophomore chemical engineering
major, and Kristina Banks, a senior Systems and Computer Science, repair
piping on a water tank at the Build the Village orphanage.
from the Howard University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders recently
returned from Choimim, a small village 200 miles from Nairobi, Kenya,
where they are helping design a water solution for a community without
electricity or running water.
after their final exams, the four students in the College of Engineering,
Architecture and Computer Sciences took the 8,000-mile journey to continue
the work they began in 2009. EWB-HU is partnering with Build the Village
(BTV), a local organization led by James Esendi, the pastor of the local
church and the acting director of the Kenya Build a Village project.
student team included three chemical engineering students - Bianca Bailey,
a senior and president of EWB-HU; Tena Hunter, a senior and
leader, Aleah Holt, a sophomore and Rain Water Storage Analysis leader
and Kristina Banks, a senior Systems and Computer Science major who served
as Water Alternative Analysis leader.
19, traveling to Kenya
was a life changing experience
for me,” Holt said.
We were able to gain a
lot of data from the water
samples and keen insight
from the people. However,
I valued the opportunity
to learn and experience
a different culture. They
made us feel so welcomed
and at home.”
The five-year year commitment
is a multi-pronged effort
to bring solutions to
a critical area of need
– maji (water
in Swahili).The partnership,
which is now in year
three, will result in
the development and
implementation of water
sourcing solutions in
order to help the community
become sustainable in
all its water needs.
Faculty advisor John
Tharakan, Ph.D., a professor
in the Department of
and mentor and water
expert Kenneth Ludwa,
a professional engineer,
accompanied the team.
to the Choimim community,”
Tharakan said. “The students
were able to tie together theory
and practice in the field to
enhance and solidify their learning.”
of the trip was to gather important water samples, analysis and assessments
to determine usability and alternative water resources, including river
water, well water and rain water storage capture. The team demonstrated
to members of the community how to test different water quality factors
including pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and E. Coli/Coliform counts.
contingent also met with community elders, the head pastor of BTV and
community members of Nandi Hills to conduct needs assessments and share
preliminary findings and recommendations. The team also had the opportunity
to interact with Kenyan government officials representing health, safety
EWB-HU team returns to campus they plan to finalize designs for the water
solution, which tentatively involves enhanced rainwater harvesting.