So, we’re all here at JFK (minus Harrison who left earlier today and is currently halfway to Dubai) and now have two hours to kill before take-off. They charge $$  for internet here, so we’ll just post this later.

Super long post!
1. Meet the Team
2. Project Overviews
3. Our layover in Dubai


Rebecca: I’m a rising junior studying mechanical engineering and I’m the travel team leader. Some of the things that I’m really looking forward to on this trip are meeting everyone from Pilgrim that we’ve called/emailed over the past few months and having the opportunity to interact with students at Beacon of Hope and community members at the MFP sites. Can’t wait to finally get there J

Bethany: I’m from South Jersey and a rising Senior in Earth and Environmental Engineering. I’ve spent 3 days in Egypt but never been South of the Sahara, or the Equator, before! Over the past month, we have spent most of our waking hours preparing for finals and preparing for this trip. Hopefully I can get some time to read up on the Word, our pre-trip reports, and some novels on the plane ride (but likely I will immediately fall asleep). Thank you readers for your prayers and interest in our project! Stay tuned!

Allison: Hello hello! I am a rising sophomore from Maryland unofficially studying Electrical Engineering and I am on the MFP team. I will be using my plane ride to watch movies (Yay Emirates movie selection!), read reports and sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep. I’m excited to meet people in the communities and everyone from Pilgrim (the non-governmental organization that our program works with in Uganda) and to thoroughly over-document everything in our trip! We are armed with cameras and flipcams and laptops, so be prepared for the media flood upon our return.

Rohan: Hey! I am a rising junior studying Physics (the one non-engineer on the team!) with a concentration in Math. Though I am excited to be heading over to Uganda, it still hasn’t quite hit me yet. Sitting here in the airport it is hard to imagine that I’m going to be spending the next month in a whole new culture and environment. But I know that once the plane touches down in Entebbe  and I look out, it is going to kick in! I  am most looking forward to meeting all the people we have worked with in Uganda and really just to experience the country and its culture. I am also eager to put into action a year’s worth of hardwork, planning, and testing and to see it all come together and really help people.

David: Hi, this is David and I am a rising junior (I’m old…) studying Earth & Environmental Engineering with a concentration in Sustainable Energy & Materials. This was my first year at Columbia and joining EWB-Uganda was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had in college so far. Working with fellow students on engineering projects that actually produce something tangible and substantial is really an invaluable experience through which we can apply a lot of our skills and outside of the academic aspects, the relationships I’ve built here are…awesome. I’m really excited to travel to travel to Uganda and Africa for the first time and see, experience the culture. there while making a difference in the community, and keep yourselves updated on our project in the weeks to come! Oh, and we will be taking lots and lots and lots of pictures so do enjoy!

Harrison:  I’m a rising senior, but for real I’m just trying to finish school. Coming from the 3/2 combined plan, I’m finally able to put into use both my economics and engineering degrees on this trip.  As chief health officer and the dude with the atm card, I’m perpetually mentally preparing myself for the duties outside of the EWB trip. Rainwater harvesting has been a passion of mine ever since I learned about the water crisis (high school), and on this trip, I’ll be working with Bethany on it. Jet lag is definitely here, peace out.

2. An overview of the work we’ll be doing in-country:

Multi-function platform: Two years ago we installed two diesel Lister engines (called Multi-Function Platforms) in Usuk and Orungo. These engines can be run on either diesel fuel or vegetable oil and currently power agricultural processing machines while generating electricity (thus, the ‘multi-function’ of the name). Our NGO partner Pilgrim installed two more engines in Tubur and Anyara this past year and we’re hoping to visit those sites and expand our data collection and enhance milling capacity. One possible implementation we’ll be doing is of the COES (Cyclone Overflow Exhaust System), which is basically an exhaust pipe for the cyclone separator attachment to the milling machine. The cyclone separator is supposed to filter out the heavier flour particles from the lighter ones, but right now a lot of is just being spit out the top of the separator, and we’re hoping to remedy that.

Rainwater harvesting: Pilgrim runs a school called the Beacon of Hope College in Soroti, Uganda. Currently, the primary water source on campus is city water, which is pricey, unreliable and often goes out for days at a time. We will be installing three rain-water harvesting systems to provide a reliable and inexpensive source of water for the times when city water supply runs out. We hope that this will enable students to focus on their studies instead of having to worry about walking to the far corners of campus to fetch water. Bethany and Harrison have also been working hard on developing a curriculum on water sanitation and good health practices that we’ll help teach in classes.

There’s more information on our chapter website if you’re interested!



[21 hours later]

After making heavy use of Emirates’ awesome individual television screen service (each of us logged anywhere from 2-4 movies) —  we’re in Dubai! Rohan’s aunt and cousin are generously letting us crash with them and earlier Rohan’s cousin and her friends took us on a driving tour. The hotels here are ridiculously pretty and the airport looks like Vegas. But tomorrow night we’ll be sleeping in Kampala. David’s writing up a post now, so he’ll tell you more. OOH and pictures – we have those too!

Thanks for reading :]

Flight takes off at 8:25 AM today, which is in 7 hours — ahh, jetlag.