Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Lutangilo

We spent time measuring and testing water at key tap locations in Lutangilo. Some other highlights include playing soccer at the Lutangilo Secondary School and attending a Swahili church service.

Our team of four students (Eric H., Mitch P., Elizabeth, and Megan), our leader (Ken), our driver/translator (Peter), and a student from Iringa University (Emmanual) set off on the three hour journey through the beautiful mountainous region of Tanzania to Lutangilo Secondary School.


Before we arrived on the school grounds, we were greeted by the students playing the drums, dancing, and waving branches. For the last half mile of our journey, we were surrounded by the students singing “HOYO HOYO HOYO!” When we got out of the car, they grabbed our hands and we had no choice but to join them in the celebration.

Once we were settled, we started working. The teachers and pastor showed us around the school. We made many measurements and recorded the locations and elevations of all the key tap locations. We tested the water coming from a hand pump as well as the nearby river. The hand pump is safe to drink from, but the river is full of bacteria.


On Saturday, we explored the possibility of distributing water to a nearby medical dispensary and the potential to provide the local village with clean water as well. Following this, we spent the rest of the day interacting with the students. We joined forces with the teachers in a competitive game of futbol (soccer) and crushed the students. Eric was nicknamed “Mzungu Maasai” which means “European tall white tribal man”. We ended the night by eating ugali, the traditional Tanzanian food, and showing the teachers how to play some card games.

We concluded the weekend with a beautiful three-hour long Swahili church service. Unfortunately it down poured during the service and lunchtime, making us weary about the trip back given the dirt roads had been transformed into mud. After saying our final goodbyes, we drove off and made it a little over a mile before sliding off the road and getting stuck in the ditch. We made a phone call and were soon rescued by more than two dozen students and teachers from Lutangilo! We finally made it back safe and sound a little after 8 pm.


Since we arrived back in Iringa, we have been working on designing the water distribution system, mapping out where the pipes will be, and using our engineering knowledge to solve the fluid mechanics of the system.

Until next time, la la fafofo (sleep like a log)

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