Author: Jessie Neece

The Final Countdown

On Thursday, we had the opportunity to put our impromptu speaking skills to the test. We had been informed of an informal question and answer session that we would be participating in earlier in the week. We were told to not worry about it and just show up for the event. What we envisioned was having a conversation with small group of students discussing what we like about India and talking about Michigan Tech. From our expectation, we were in for a little surprise.

The best part of the surprise was that the room the event was in was air conditioned. We have gotten so used to being without air conditioning that when we enter an air conditioned area, it makes everything better. The group of students that we were interacting with was also much larger than we anticipated; it almost seemed like we were acting as a panel for a class. When the professor for the class introduced us, he mentioned the students in the class were interested in hearing about the graduate programs at Michigan Tech. With all of us being undergraduate students and having not prepared anything for the session, we were far from experts on this topic.

We went around and each introduced ourselves. We talked about the projects we’re doing here in India. Sarah went through a slideshow Marcello had put together of pictures of life at Tech and in the Keweenaw. Then the floor was opened for questions. The students asked about clubs and sports at Michigan Tech, what our favorite things about India are, if there is a masters program in biomedical engineering and if we knew any Tamil. While the session didn’t go exactly as we anticipated, it was a lot of fun and the students did ask engaging questions.

We were also able to cover lots of ground with the solar and water filtration projects during week four. With the water filtration system, all the supplies needed to complete the project were purchased. The inflow and outflow storage tanks were cleaned, the pipes were cut and attached, and the sand and gravel barrels have been filled. When attaching the pipes, we ran into an issue with the connectors we decided to use. Initially we planned on having straight pipe connections and attaching them to the barrels using epoxy. The connectors we used created a slight slanted connection that we troubleshooted by using hose for the slanted pipe connections. For week five, we need to wash and dry the charcoal and replace a joint from the outflow storage tank to the overflow pipe. We also need to put up the chicken wire and tarps to monkey proof the water filter and it should be good to go!

For the solar project, the wiring was completed from the panels to the classroom. The low voltage direct current fans were put together and installed into the classroom. The LED lights were put together and installed into the classroom as well. The students are able to utilize the solar power for the lights and fans in the classroom at all times and power the computers for part of the time. We actually got to see the solar power system being used on Friday during a regular power outage.

None of us can believe we’re already into our final week. Time has flown in India and we’re not quite ready to leave. We have enjoyed every second thus far and are eagerly anticipating what week five will bring.

Third Times’ A Charm

On Monday afternoon while waiting for the car to bring us back to KVCET for lunch from the school, we had the chance to meet the students! Third times’ a charm as they say and three weeks of us coming to the school on a regular basis must have been enough time for the students to get comfortable enough to show us their school. We were sitting on the steps outside the main office when a group of students approached us and began asking us questions: our names, where we are from, what our friends’ names are, etc. One student asked us to visit their classrooms. Once they grabbed on to our hands, everything happened very quickly.

Initially we tried the “buddy system” when going into the classrooms but the students had full control. We all ended up in different classrooms but the excitement when one of us entered a room was the same. All the students were waving, smiling and wanting to shake our hands. They all shouted questions at the same time which made it hard to converse but didn’t take away from the fun. Some students asked us to dance, others wanted to see American money and all of them wanted to be in a selfie. Being surrouned by their excitement and energy gave all of us a new perspective on why we’re doing the projects we’re doing. Getting to meet the students also made going to the school each day to work on the projects even more enjoyable.

During week three we were able to make lots of headway with the solar and water filtration projects. For the water filtration system, our initial plan was to clean the barrels and replace the biochar. After emptying the gravel barrel and attempting to clean it, we made the executive decision to replace the system. There was also lots of sun damage and cracks in the pipes and since we are putting a roof over the system, we felt its longevity would be lengthened by replacing the components. We spent the remaining week purchasing supplies,  measuring the barrels and cutting the holes for the pipes to complete a dry fit of the system.

For the solar project, the school is currently having two buildings added so the construction workers offered to cement the stand for the panels to the roof for us. We were also able to get the stand painted and prepped for the cementing to be completed. Miscellaneous shopping trips were completed as needs of parts and tools arose.

We also were able to discuss plans of the garden project with the headmaster. We designed a vertical garden to be put on the side of the building below the water filtration system so that the runoff can be used to water the garden. The headmaster was very pleased with the plans and is excited to see the final product in place. He showed the plans to one of the engineers working on the construction of the new buildings at the school who was also very excited about the fact that a garden could be put in at the school. The engineer volunteered to take the garden up as a personal project, using our plans, and has offered to carry out the construction of the garden.

With the progress we made during week three, we were able to come up with a timeline for our remaining time in India. We are confident with where our projects currently stand and we are excited to see what our final two weeks bring!

The Adventure Continues: A Week of Teaching and Exploration

Hello everybody! We’ve completed two full weeks here in Tanzania, and it’s hard to believe we’re approaching the halfway point of our journey. Here is a quick summary of what we’ve been up to:

On Monday, we traveled to Moshi with Tesha, Mary, and Lorelle where we met with Foot2Afrika, the organization we will be staying with and working the most closely with when we move our operation to Moshi for the last two weeks of our trip. They informed us that we will be working with another local school in Moshi as well as helping coach Foot2Afrika’s new youth soccer program. After meeting with Foot2Afrika, we met with representatives from the Amani’s Children Home. Here we learned about Amani’s mission and how they operate, in addition to receiving a tour of their facility. They also laid out some possible future projects such as a child database system and a monitor system to display relevant metrics about the children’s home in the waiting area. After discussing all these topics, the team had time to play soccer with the children.

During week 2, we got more in-depth with our teaching at both primary schools as well as the secondary school. At the primary schools (Nkwamakuu and Kilingi), we taught 6th and 7th grade math and science. The math topics that we covered included exponents, radicals, factoring/factor trees and algebra. The science topics included circuits, renewable energy, simple machines, the skeletal and muscular systems, and other various systems in the body. The feeling of teaching younger students and seeing them solve problems correctly is very rewarding. Teaching also gives us a greater respect for all teachers. It is a very mentally and physically draining job, especially teaching younger children. You must teach them the basic school subjects, but you are also acting as a role model for them. We have also been working with Orkolili Secondary School. We have been working alongside the students by helping them with various projects for their science fair. We also taught physics and chemistry lessons in Form 2 (sophomores). Putting our Pavlis-learned skills to good use, we were brought into a classroom of Form 1 students (freshman) and told to teach whatever we wanted to. We decided to engage the kids in some leadership games and activities. They really seemed to enjoy what they learned through these activities, and we eventually began discussing the differences and similarities between cultures. It brought us closer together in a world where we physically lived so far away.

As mentioned, during our visit to Orkolili Secondary School last Friday, we assisted the students and teachers in brainstorming and prototyping different projects for their upcoming science fair. Last year, they took first place overall in the fair with their explanation and demonstration of how to make usable paper from maize by-products. This year, the ideas ranged from automatic bells and gate openers, to robotic cars, to biology-chemistry crossover projects. The students decided to focus on two different projects: a micro-computer-controlled automatic bell to signal class changes, lunch time, etc., and a project demonstrating and explaining the uses of the extraction of nanocellulose from maize fibers. The automatic bell got off to a great start: the students were very handy in the workshop for the mechanical portion of the design, and had great ideas for how all the mechanisms would work. There were a few hiccups with finding the correct driver for the micro-computer on their computer lab PCs, but it was eventually worked out. The only piece of equipment the nanocellulose project was missing was an ultrasonic homogenizer. A blender was substituted in its stead, and after a quick fix to a broken fuse, the students got to work boiling the maize fibers in sulfuric acid; the first step of the extraction process. All in all, it looks like the students will be well prepared to perform well at the fair this week, and we were glad we could assist!

Our adventures this past weekend led us to Mt. Kilimanjaro, which we had first gotten a glimpse of last Monday. The path we took never looked too challenging, except when we remembered that we were climbing to 9000 feet above sea level (the air was a little thin!). We walked through amazing rainforest and other interesting foliage for most of our journey; at lower altitudes, we were even sharing the path with some cute monkeys. Our guide Salym was awesome: a friend of Joe (the energetic English teacher at Orkolili Secondary school), who connected Salym with us for this excursion. Due to the usual cloud cover around the upper heights of Kilimanjaro, we were unfortunately unable to see the peak once we reached our destination of the first climber’s camp. We are grateful to have already seen it earlier in the week, when it wasn’t so cloudy. Several of us have commented that we will be coming back to Tanzania to climb the mountain in full.

An additional note to include: we have yet to encounter any injuries worth mentioning, and we hope to keep it that way (*fingers crossed*).

Thank you very much for reading and keeping up with our adventures! We will be sure to continue writing blog posts approximately weekly; we’re excited to see what excitement we encounter next!

Team Tanzania 2017

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Project Success and Kumasi

This week, we returned to Ridge Experimental School, the Sunyani Regional Hospital, and spent the weekend in Kumasi.

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At the Ridge Experimental School, we introduced engineering to a different group of students. The students had the same reaction as the first group; very excited, creative, and had a ton of fun. We did the same activity as last time. We separated the students into groups and gave them straws, tape, and scissors to build any type of bridge they wanted. We are very proud to have such an amazing response from the students!

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At the Sunyani Regional Hospital, we returned to check up on the beds in ICU and looked into a broken ultrasound machine. We ended up finding out that one of the capacitors on the power supply had blown. We unsoldered the broken component and are looking to replace it to get the ultrasound back up and running!

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Our trip to Kumasi was very successful. We were able to meet with our women’s health project contact to set up a women’s health workshop and we met with the engineers at KNUST working in collaboration with the IGS Enterprise at Michigan Tech on the ventilator. We also did a lot of souvenir shopping, went to a Ghanaian club and sung “Opps I Did It Again” for karaoke night, ate at KFC (yes, Kumasi has a Kentucky Fried Chicken!), went to the new City Mall that opened in January, went to the Okomfo Anokye Sword Site Museum, and toured the Palace Museum were the King of the Asante Region lives!! The museums helped us learn a lot about the history of Ghana and we cannot wait to learn more! Upon our return to Sunyani, we had the opportunity to go to church with our in country advisor Emmanuel!

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Week Moja in Tanzania: Meeting new people, counting in Swahili and teaching STEM

Karibu sana!

The team has officially completed and survived their first full week in Tanzania, and have had an amazing time thus far. The people are amazing and always friendly, the food is delicious, pure and fresh, and the scenery is unreal. While it is certainly impossible to fully express in words our experiences so far in this overwhelmingly interesting country, we will do our best, with this blog post and more to come. Sawa sawa?

The morning after landing in this beautiful country we were introduced to the three partner schools of Asante Africa, the organization we are collaborating with for our first three weeks in Tanzania. Ewald Tesha, the director of programing for Asante, drove and introduced us to the mamas and teachers of the schools we will be working with. First up was Nkwamakuu Primary School: Mama Sisilia (headmistress of Nkwamakuu) talked with us about the challenges at the school, which included teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), as well as the challenges associated with teaching large numbers of students in small classrooms.  After our introduction, we were presented with morning tea, and then we headed down the road towards Mt. Kilimanjaro to Kilingi Primary School to see Mama Faraha, and discussed very similar challenges. That afternoon we also met with the staff at Orkolili Secondary school and Mama Mcha. Overall the staff and teachers at all the schools were very excited to work with us, as we are with them!

Asante Africa and the Pavlis team did not waste any time getting down to business, and we started our work at Nkwamakuu the next day. We arrived a little after classes began, and were very quickly introduced to the Class VI (similar to US 6th grade) mathematics class. The lesson of the day was multiplying and dividing improper fractions. As Nkwamakuu is a primary school, all of the lessons are given in Swahili (the official language of Tanzania). As such, the team very quickly learned basic mathematical lingo in Swahili, as well as got much more confident in our Swahili numbers. The entire experience was very interesting and enlightening for us, as we got a glimpse into how the Tanzanian educational system worked. We did our best to make the lesson exciting and interactive, bringing volunteering students up to the blackboard to solve problems for their classmates, as well as giving everybody some individual problems to work on their own, as we walked around assisting where needed. After morning tea, we moved to the Class VII science class, and led a lengthy discussion on the basics of electricity and circuits diagrams, simple mechanical fixtures, solar, wind, hydroelectric and mechanical power, and the benefits of renewable energies in general. The teachers were present for this discussion, and were very interested in the various topics discussed. This was also great review for four engineering students! Since this class involved much more complicated language than the mathematics class, we were grateful for the help of our translators, Albin and Alexi. It was a very full day of teaching, but made us very excited to continue working at the schools in the coming weeks.

The following day, we joined Mary and Lorelle as they led a human centered design (HCD) workshop at Nkwamakuu Primary School. Teachers from both Nkwamakuu and Kilingi Primary Schools attended the workshop, as well as our translators. This workshop was similar to some of the Pavlis classes we had previously taken at Tech. It involved a lot of one-on-one communication and activities as well as small group collaboration. The desks were rearranged so that we worked in groups of 4 people or so. This eased conversation as well as promoted friendliness and brainstorming. The human centered design workshop is mainly designed to generate and refine ideas for solving human centered challenges. The brainstorming involves the use of many Post-It notes. The main goal is to brainstorm ideas on how to solve the problems and issues at hand. All the groups of teachers had the same problem that they were trying to solve: over-crowded classrooms. After generating ideas to solve that problem, they were given restrictions, such as not being able to build new classrooms. This forces you think outside of the box, and to come up with simpler and perhaps more sustainable ideas. This workshop was very beneficial for the teachers and for us as well.  It allowed our relationship to grow with the teachers and schools where we would be working for the next two and half weeks. The overall enthusiasm of the teachers and their willingness to learn makes us very hopeful for the chance of sustainable projects.

Over our first weekend in Tanzania, we went on two safaris. On Saturday, we went to Tarangire National Park, and on Sunday we went to Lake Manyara National Park. Tarangire is famous for the number of elephants within the park, and it did not disappoint. As well as seeing elephants in Tarangire, we also saw giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, impalas, warthogs, water bucks, and even two cheetahs and two leopards. At Lake Manyara, we saw more elephants, warthogs, wildebeest, and zebras, in addition to baboons, hippos, water buffalo, blue monkeys and many kinds of birds.

The main form of transportation that we have used so far is the bajaji. A bajaji is a semi-enclosed three-wheeled motorbike with a bench seat in the back and a seat in the front for a driver (and a passenger). We have also used public transport, which can be any variety of different vehicles altered to maximize their capacity. Driving around Tanzania, we constantly see many different unique sights, such as the Maasai tribal people, various livestock and the beautiful Mt. Kilimanjaro.

We’ve included some of our favorite pictures from this last week below; enjoy!

We are very excited to continue working here in Tanzania, and will be putting out another blog post shortly; stay tuned… Feel free to share the link to this blog with family, friends and anybody else who might be interested!

Asante sana for reading!

Team Tanzania

Teaching Nkwamakuu Students Bajaji Mt. Kilimanjaro Tarangire National Park Nkwamakuu Sign Kilingi Students Tarangire National Park

Sustainable Development

Last Friday the India Team traveled to a village near Poonamallee called Kuthambakkam. It is a neat little village, tucked into the land surrounding the greater Chennai area. We had the privilege of speaking to one of the village’s prominent members, R. Elango. Elango is an older man and as such has the standing to call us his children. He is a well-kept, proud but humble man. While we were there he told us about his experience as Panchayat President. A Panchayat is a form of local government. It is a committee with the leader being the Panchayat President. As the President, he managed to eradicate the illegal distilling and sale of alcohol in the village and helped erase caste discrimination. He did not end poverty completely, but he was able to make sure that nobody in the village is starving, and the upper-and-lower-classes are no longer at war with each other.

He also gave us a presentation on the vision for his village. He is a chemical engineer by training, but as the Panchayat President wore many hats of a civil engineer, an electrical engineer, etc. He helped bring technology such as compressed bricks that don’t require firing. They can be made with the local resources to the village allowing everyone to build a house. Some of the houses are less extravagant than others, but everyone in the village has a sturdy house that will not be destroyed in the event of a flood or monsoon season. This simple task was not easy, but gave the lower-classes a sense of pride.

We learned about Elango’s plan to set up a network of villages where 30 or so villages will get together and each one will specialize in one area. Each village isn’t large enough to have a specialist in all fields so by specializing by village the network can rely on itself and keep the local economy strong. That way the wealth doesn’t leave the village to the city leaving the village poor. This also helps the landless people by giving them jobs and making them “local producers” as Elango calls them.

Elango is very focused on sustainable social and economic development. He has made it his mission in life to help people by demystifying technology and is going through a process that he calls “unlearning”. We are very thankful for his help since he is helping us develop the solar system we are implementing in the village closer to KVCET in the village of Kunnankulathur.

When we arrived to the school in Kunnakulathur, the headmaster, Gajapathi told us that they were not as interested in solar street lights as they were solar panels. So, we switched our plan from solar street lights to panels. Gajapathi wanted us to be able to put the panels on top of one of the new school buildings, but because the buildings are still undergoing construction, we won’t be able to do that. Instead we will be placing them on top of an academic building to power their computer lab.

This past Wednesday and Thursday we spent our time in Elango’s village of Kuthambakkam helping to build the stand for the solar panels and also helping his intern, Jonas, solder the new LED lights that we will be putting into the school.

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Julian, hard at work soldering low power LED lights. The lights will be put into the Kunnankulathur Government High School. From left to right we have Vishal, our guide; Julian, teammate; and Jonas, Elango’s Electrical Engineering Intern. Jonas helped us quite a bit with the solar project. And is going to help us some more in the days to come.
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Sarah Soldering an LED to the low power lights. The lights each have 4 PCBs with 3 LEDs each. This makes for a total of 12 LEDs per light. Each LED consumes 1W of power for a total of 12W per light. This is a huge improvement from the conventional 40W tube lights. The LEDs are first coated in the brown stuff in the circular tin in front of me, flux (this was new to me since all the solder I’ve used before had flux inside the solder itself); then the stuff in the green tube, a thermally conducting but electrically insulating paste, is applied to the back; finally the LEDs are placed on the PCB and soldered into place.

The energy saving lights use only 12 watts (W) each. This is a hefty improvement from the conventional tube lights that consume 40W each. In addition to energy saving lights we are providing energy efficient fans that consume a maximum of 28-30W which is an improvement on the 60W that conventional fans use. We are providing eight LED lights and two Brushless DC fans. This along with four 100W panels and six 80 amp hours (AH) batteries will be used to run the lights and the fans along with a computer in their computer lab. The lights and the fan will always be able to use just the solar power, but the computer will use the solar mainly as a backup power supply in the event of a power outage (which are fairly common here, in fact we had one today).

This week we also assessed what needed to be done with the water filter in order to make it work properly again. Due to some clogging (maybe from our new frog friend, Frances, that we found hanging out in a pipe?) and other small maintenance issues, the filter hasn’t been working properly. However, we have diagnosed the issue and are making a plan to work on returning the filter to its former glory.

We are very proud of our work so far and thankful for the help we have received along the way. Next week we will work on installing the solar system as well as extensive water filtration maintenance.

Kids, Crocodiles, and the Hospital!

No one was harmed in the content of this blog post. Here is team Ghana and these are their stories:(Insert Law & Order Special Effects)

Although week two started off with an unexpected Ghanaian holiday, (Republic Day was July 1st but Monday was the observed holiday) we have accomplished a lot. We started two of our projects which include introducing engineering to the students at Ridge Experimental School and working with Sunyani Regional Hospital to identify issues and take inventory of the medical devices that were not working properly.

Engineering Education

The goal of Engineering Education is to spark an engineering interest in the minds of Ghanaian students. Our first experience with this project, was working with the students at Ridge Experimental School. We started the class off with an ice breaker to loosen the students up by throwing around a balloon with questions on it. When they caught the balloon, they had to say their name and answer the question that their thumb landed on. The student smiled and laughed as we did this. We then asked the students engaging questions such as: Do you know what engineering is? Does anyone know an engineer? What do you know of that has been engineered? We gave them a simple definition of engineering: Working together to create/develop and improve ANYTHING! The activity we gave to the students was to build a bridge. We organized them into groups (6 groups of 10 students – yes, these classes are big) and gave each team straws, tape, and scissors. Now keep in mind that typical classes here are taught only through lectures, so this concept is new to them. Most students started grabbing at the materials right away, but we still showed them an example bridge to get them started. The students discussed designs with each other, worked together in determining who was going to build which part of the bridge, and then collaborated when they placed the pieces together – or they all worked on the bridge as one piece together. We were thrilled to see how well this was going – meaning that the students were having fun and being creative! It took all of the teams about 30-40 minutes to finish their bridges and when they were done, we introduced the design, build, and test procedure to them. We explained how they already designed and built the bridge, now they had to test it. We did this by calling each team up one-by-one to test to see if their bridge could hold weight. The students jumped around and cheered if the bridge held up or not – the amount of support between the students was amazing. We ended the class by telling the students that they can do anything if they put their minds to! We are very excited to work with many more classes and different schools!

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Medical Technological Servicing

The goal of Medical Technological Servicing is to assist the engineers at Sunyani Regional Hospital by looking at the medical equipment that has not been working properly, downloading manuals of the equipments, and taking an inventory of parts they might not be able to get in Ghana. Our first task was to look at two x-ray machines in the radiology department that were not functioning properly. The first x-ray machine had a table that the locking mechanism did not engage properly. The second x-ray machine was an orthodontic x-ray machine that had its control remote dropped so many times that it was beyond repair. The next department we visited was the Laboratory in which a chemical micro-analyzer was not working. After going through the manual and looking at every inch of the machine, we cleared a communication error with the computer! After the machine was able to communicate with the computer, another error popped up that was a sensor error reading that the water tank was empty when it was not. We went back later this week and visited the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) to try and diagnose the problems with a few of the beds there as they were not able to move up and down. After careful triage, we realized that one of the control arms was not attached to the motor underneath so we reconnected it and it worked perfectly! In addition, the ICU staff described that the beds did not work unless they were plugged into a wall. We were able to go into the battery and see that they were not connected properly. At the end of the day, we were able to fix both beds and the battery problem!! We can’t wait to continue our journey with the hospital!

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African Safari

After a successful first week, we went to Mole National Park to go on a African Safari and we visited Paga to tour the Chief’s Crocodile Pond! On the safari we got to see elephants, antelope, guinea fowl, a monitor lizard, kob (deer like), and monkeys! We got to get out of the vehicle to take pictures in front of the elephants! We spent the night at a hostel about 45 minutes south of Paga to refresh before seeing the crocodiles. At the crocodile pond, we got to take pictures sitting on the crocodile and holding the crocodile’s tail – the crocodile was cold, slimy, and hard! Bonus: we also got to tour the chief’s house as well as his compound. There we were able to climb on top of their roofs, dance with some children, and buy some souvenirs! Also on the way back to Sunyani, we briefly stopped at Pikworo Slave Camp where slaves were held until their final destination of Cape Coast.

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Projects, Contacts, and a Goat!

We arrived in Sunyani on June 27th where we will be living for the next five weeks to work on a variety of projects that include women’s health education, medical technological servicing, engineering classes/activities, computer literacy, and an IGS Ventilator. 

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Here the girls are standing in Cote d’Ivoire and the boys are standing in Ghana. The picture was taken in a village which is on the border of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The rock structure represents the two countries coming together.

Women’s Health Education: 

Team Lead: Amanda Moya

As in previous years, a project involving proper feminine hygiene education as a means of eliminating one obstacle every woman faces will be implemented in a variety of locations . Research shows that 60% of women in Africa have missed some amount of education because of their lack of methods to deal with their monthly cycle. We plan to offer workshops to educate the girls in the schools on creating their own sustainable, reusable products and educating them on the benefits, risks, and proper use of said products. We hope be able to host 5 workshops in a variety of villages to reach over 200 girls. 

Medical Technological Servicing:

Team Lead: Joshua Geschke

Medical device graveyards have been increasing in prevalence all over Africa being that medical devices get donated and there is not an effective means to service them. By identifying and taking an inventory of these devices, we hope to locate parts and give service manuals to the technicians that try to fix these devices so that they may be used once again. 

Engineering Education:

Team Lead: Summer Oley

As has been done in the past, we will be going to local schools with the intention to provide basic and interesting engineering lessons, hands-on activities, and discussions to spark an interest in the engineering fields. The activities will require the students to be creative and to work on a team as they build rollercoasters and catapults with straws, tape, rubber bands, and ping-pong balls.

Computer Literacy:

Team Lead: Daniel Knenlein

The main focus for the time in country will be spent implementing a Rachel Pi and two Raspberry Pi’s, as well as assessing the computer needs of schools in the area for future teams.  It is known that more efficient and well equipped computer labs are desired, so we will be looking at how future teams can provide this to the schools.  In addition to that, computer lessons will be given to teachers and students to provide them with basic computer skills so that they know how to better use their technology. Through the continuation of this project, it is hoped that the addition of computer technology and greater knowledge will provide a better education to the students in these schools to increase their likelihood to attend higher education.

 IGS Ventilator:

Team Lead: Joshua Geschke

The Innovative Global Solutions (IGS) Enterprise has been in partnership with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi with their Ventilator Project. We are going to meet the current team that is working with the IGS Ventilator as well as do an environmental analysis. We hope to continue this ongoing partnership between Michigan Tech and KNUST which allows for engineering students at both universities to globally collaborate.

We are very excited to actively begin our projects on Tuesday, July 4th. The first week spent in Sunyani was dedicated to meeting the necessary contacts for our projects, learning how to get around Ghana either by walking or taking a taxi or tro tro (think passenger van that seats 18, WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE), and researching/planning for our projects. Our country advisor, Andrew Storer, was present for the first few days to help us with the above, but we’ve officially been on our own for a couple days now! The team had originally planned to start implementing projects today on July 3rd, but were informed of a national holiday we were unaware of which has caused a day delay. 

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Summer, Amanda, Dan and Andrew in our first tro-tro ride of the trip!

A Goat and an Obruni: 

We would like to share a moment that we will never forget with you. On Thursday, June 29th, we took a 2 hour tro tro ride to Babienha, a village on the boarder of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. As we were climbing into the tro tro, Amanda realized there was some kind of head underneath her seat. Once she got in, she noticed that it was a goat! Whenever we would rapidly slow down, the goat would slam into her legs and if the goat was feeling curious he’d pop his head up and scratch her inner thighs. At one point, the goat actually fell out the back (the back was only partially secured with rope tied to the side windows and the rear wipers) and was running along screaming behind us until the tro tro driver stopped to retrieve him! He was then hog tied and brought up to the front of the tro tro to be sure of his safety. This experience showed us just how unpredictable and full of surprises public transportation can be here! 

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The goat under Amanda.

Until next time the team will keep being amazed by everything around us!

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The Journey Begins

Pavlis Global Leadership Team Tanzania has made it to Chicago and is excited to share its adventures with all of you. To start our journey we would like to share a little bit about each of us with you.

Peter Beach
PBBeach@mtu.edu

Peter
Peter is entering his fourth year of studying biomedical engineering at Michigan Technological University. He grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, near the Mayo Clinic. He has an older brother, two older sisters, a younger brother, and is an uncle to ten nieces and nephews. He is involved with the Chemistry Learning Center, Student Entertainment Board and the Huskies Pep Band on campus, as well as the Pavlis Institute. He loves being outdoors, especially in the winter and enjoys skiing, sledding, cycling, hiking, and camping. After graduation, he hopes to work in the medical device industry, possibly in research and development.

Alex Davis
apdavis@mtu.edu

alex
Alex is a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student at Michigan Technological University. He is from Wheaton, IL. He is the oldest of four children: one younger sister and two younger brothers. He has always had a love for anything outdoors including snowmobiling, dirt biking, snowboarding, hockey, water skiing, fishing, hunting, and hiking. Besides being involved with the Pavlis Institute at Michigan Tech, he is involved with the Clean Snowmobile Enterprise and the Roller Hockey team. He is looking forward to all of the experiences that these programs and Michigan Tech will bring him and he is very excited for a summer in Tanzania.

Sterling Korstad
sgkorsta@mtu.edu

Sterling
Sterling Korstad is a fourth-year Biomedical Engineering major at Michigan Tech. He is from West St. Paul, MN. At Tech, Sterling is a part of the Huskies Pep Band, where he is the Vice President, and he is also a part of the Student Entertainment Board where he serves as the President. Some of his hobbies include playing the saxophone, hockey, and video games, along with watching Netflix when he is not writing a lab report for his Bioinstrumentation class.

Phillip Wyman
pjwyman@mtu.edu

Phillip
Phillip is a Mechanical Engineering Technology student currently in his fourth year at Michigan Tech. He is originally from Hortonville Wisconsin, where he first developed a love for technical thinking, creativity, and a love of nature, all of which made Michigan Tech a perfect fit. On campus, Phillip is involved in concert choir, the tech theatre company (both as a performer and as a technician for the Rozsa Center), and is a member of Michigan Tech Sound & Lighting Services. Off campus Phillip is an active member at St. Albert the great Catholic University Parish where he serves as the music minister, as well as a Chapel Rat (a student living and working at the parish). He is also a member of the technical professional’s honor society Epsilon Pi Tau. Phillip can’t wait for the adventures that will happen this summer!

First Impressions

I’ve heard it said that India is an assault on the senses. After spending just four days here I have to agree with whoever said that. The streets are crowded with cars lined bumper to bumper, motorcycles and scooters weaving in and out, somehow nimble enough to avoid collisions; the bright colors of sarees and billboards, even the buildings are brightly colored. There is a continuous cacophony of horns and people speaking loudly with one another. The smells change with each block, from the savory smells of the street vendors and the beautiful floral notes of the flower shops, to the pervasive smell of rotting garbage that permeates the air in the city. I have heard tales from the past years and read books about India but nothing really prepared me for everything that hit me as soon as I stepped out of the airport four nights ago.

The first thing that hit me was the heat. I could feel that as soon as I stepped off the plane. It took us a while to get through the immigration services and exchange money. We gather our bags and finally found Latha at the gate waiting with a man I assumed to be Magesh. We found our way to them, the airport was almost empty now; we took longer than most getting through it. We exchanged warm greetings with Latha and she introduced us to Magesh. We found our car, loaded the bags into the car and set off to the hotel.

The second thing that I noticed was how busy the city was. Even though it was 2:30 am the city was remarkably crowded. There were people everywhere and more cars on the road than there had been in Rome at 4:00 am. As we drove through the city I saw a lot of people, even more cars and motorcycles, and more string lights than I’ve seen anywhere so far from Christmas time. I sat in the car with Julian, the car was pretty quiet since we were all exhausted from the previous day’s events (I figured out later that since 6:30 am in Rome on Friday to 4:00 am in India on Sunday I had about 3 hours of sleep, 2 of which were on the plane and not very restful, i.e. 3 hours of sleep in ~48 hours). I tried to stay awake on the plane since I knew we’d be getting in late at night on Saturday and thought it would be easier to adjust to the time change if we just went straight to bed that night (maybe it was, but I’ve been here for four days now and I’m still exhausted, though I attribute some of that to the heat).

The third thing to hit me was the smells. The smell of the city ranges from a general hot smell, that smells vaguely of garbage, the smell of sweets at nearby food stalls, the warm smell of spices at restaurants, to the wonderful floral smells of the jasmine flowers sold by street vendors. Our hotel smelled of jasmine flowers and we found a small satchel of buds that we kept by our beds.

The lights and bright colors were also a shock to my eyes. I don’t think I’ve seen so many string lights so far from Christmas time. They adorn restaurants, churches, stores, and shops. The glow of the neon signs add to the brightness and the whole effect is rather shocking. To accompany the bright lights India is full of bright colors and vivid patterns. The buildings are all painted different hues and no two adjacent buildings are the same. When Latha took us clothes shopping it was like I’d stepped into a child’s story book. The multitude of colors and patterns were a lot to take in, and it didn’t help that the women who worked there had a habit of finding more and more things for you to try on.

The sound of the city is similar to others, though India has a certain flavor to it as well. The most notably distinct sound you’ll here is the constant blaring of horns. The roads here are fluid and at first seemed chaotic, but after spending some time here I actually feel just as safe on the roads in the city as I do when Julian is driving us around Houghton. The traffic is more congested for sure, and there seems to be a lack of direction, but everyone is more aware of their surroundings, the constant beeping of the horns isn’t out of anger but rather a friendly “I’m here.” The sound of the horns itself is different than on American cars. While Americans rarely use their horn to show anything other than displeasure and anger at another person and are as such loud and long, the horns here are used more to announce your presence and are relatively short and quiet comparatively.

India truly is a shock to the body, but after you spend some time here you start to get used to it. I look forward to learning more about the country where I’ll be spending the next month and getting to know the people here as well.

Busy city
The view from our hotel room in Chennai, the last morning we were there. It was the only time that the city felt quiet to me. High above the bustle of the streets is a nice sense of calm.