Published: August 1st 2005July 24th 2005
All about the learnin
Don, Jenn, Robin and Guillaume trying to cram that little bit of extra knowledge in
So I arrived in Toronto on Sunday August 10th, and boy has it been exciting! I have gone rock climbing, I went to see some live music, I learned how to ride a motorbike, I spent a day at Niagara falls and the surrounding area, I went to a Zambian cultural night with the other four volunteers, got chewed on by bed bugs in the hostel… And I have had my brain packed to the point of bleeding with information during all the training sessions. The goal of the training is to cover five areas of learning. The levels from the bottom to the top are: Health and Safety, Having the right approach, Understanding of livelihoods, Understanding of the development sector, and Understanding how to create change. They try to give us some time off (thus all the fun things I have done other than training) but the days when we have sessions always leave me pretty drained, and having a lot of thinking to work through in the evening.
I’m sure lots of you are wondering what exactly I am going to be doing as part of an “engineers without borders (EWB)” placement. You probably heard engineer and started
The five of us looking hardcore
thinking, “I know what engineers do, they build stuff! So eli must be going over there to help build things for people, maybe a bridge, maybe a school, but definitely something!” (Then for everyone who knows that I have a chemical engineering degree, you might think “what could a chemical engineer possibly help build?”). So the first thing I want to do is explain that the largest thing I am likely to help build is a small scale irrigation pump about the size of a stair master machine. EWB believes that technology can drive extraordinary change, but it is just a very small part of the solution. Development is incredibly complex, and just building something or giving something away could never solve a long-term problem.
I have very limited details of my project at this point, but I can tell you I will be working with Enterprise Works Worldwide - Tanzania, and I will probably be based out of Mbeya in southern Tanzania. I will likely be working with Treadle pumps (not sure if it will be with farmers or manufacturers). I have agreed to a one year placement, and I am going to be leaving Toronto on August 1st. Now you know as much as I do about my project.
If you want to do some extra reading, you can check out a couple websites related to what I am doing. Engineers Without Borders Enterprise Works Worldwide Engineers Without Borders Calgary
PS - if you ever think that your mosquito bites are itchy and driving you crazy, just be thankful they aren't bed bug bites. Those little bastards are the itchiest bites I have ever had.