CEGE TZ Summer 2016 – Final Thoughts


Sunset in Tanzania

Melanie McDonough – As we start our 4 hour ride back to the Kilimanjaro Airport I feel like I should have a lot more on my mind, I am trying to process all that I have experienced but I’m finding it difficult at this moment. I’m sad to leave and happy to get back to the “cushiness” of my American life. It feels weird leaving this place knowing I get to go and start my engineering career and so many here don’t get to feel hope for a better life. In fact almost everyone I have seen and met is poor and might not know what the future will hold for them. I don’t think it’s guilt I feel but rather pure luck, why am I so privileged? Why did the stars align this way for me? I am strong in faith and believe God has a plan for all of our lives so I think that it’s not just pure randomness that I was born into a wonderful family in the states- but I don’t feel like I am so special that I deserve this life, I know I am not more intelligent than my sisters here in Africa, I know that I am not a harder worker, is it my heart? Have I been put on this Earth and given this privilege so that I might help others get to where I am? But as emotional and empathetic as I can be I know that I am not more loving than the population here so I just continue to wonder why I have been given the life I have. I also wonder how I fit into the big picture, what my role in all of this will be. I know that humanitarian work for developing countries has been laid on my heart  but I have yet to decide how to move forward with it. All I can do is continue to take the opportunities I am given like this one and keep an open mind and an open heart. Time and time again I have tried to plan out what my life will look like and my future continues to morph into something I didn’t suspect. I do hope I get to come back here but it’s weird knowing that maybe I never will. These past two days on Safari have been incredible, the views are by far the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I got to see monkeys, elephants, lions, zebras and more all up close and in a natural setting. So exciting, majestic and powerful are the animals of Africa but one thing that I will continue to bring with me wherever I go without a doubt is the people of Tanzania. So many people have asked me to pray for and “remember Tanzania”. I will take their requests to heart and spread the word of the beautiful people and need that resides within this country. Now that I have seen the incredibly overwhelming need of not only the people of Marwa but the people of the entire country I want their story to be told so that I might play even just a small role in the betterment  of their lives. I hope more than anything that the people of Marwa will soon have water and I know that if any university has the capability to do it it is Ohio State.  I might not have the funds to sponsor a child or fund a project right now but maybe I will meet someone that does and maybe I will be that someone in the future. But until then their story lives within my heart and soul and I will remember you Tanzania.


Sierra Heaton – As our time in Africa comes to an end I have so many different emotions. Happy, sad, anxious, nervous, you name it, I feel it. So it’s going to be hard to write this post. First, I am so happy to have had this experience. I truly feel I was picked for this project for a reason. The people I have met and got to spend time with getting to know is an honor. I sometimes felt as though I didn’t deserve it. Not many people can say they have gone to another country, let alone Africa. And not many people can say they got to visit a Masai community, or learn KiMasai, or share a meal where you eat goat and chipati with your hands. At our last meal with everyone involved in the project at the Elephant Motel, I looked around the table and thought “WOW. So many people have gathered here to work together, to link arms and work for change for Marwa”. We were all sitting there with different backgrounds, different stories, different roles, but all with the same goal for Marwa. At the same time I’m nervous. So many have come into Marwa and have promised to help change their lives and have let them down. I’m nervous, but I believe if anyone can do this, H, Tony, OSU, Kateri and KiHO are the people to make this happen. As much as I enjoyed myself here and all the stories I will be able to share, I think I’m ready to go home. I need to take the time to step away from this situation and the experiences I have had here to truly appreciate them. I can feel in my heart this is not my last time in this country. It’s going to be weird not hearing Swahili anymore, or saying Jambo, Sowa, Twende, or answering “Mambo?” with the happy word Poa. I enjoyed the past few days of travel and safari, but I am ready to go home and enjoy all that I have been blessed with. I have so many plans for when I go home, I am anxious for it to begin. To conclude, I believe I have accomplished what I set out to do here. I enjoyed everyone moment, every conversation, every smile, every laugh. I learned, I did work, I stepped out of my comfort zone, I was impacted by my experiences. But most importantly, I believe I have started to help lay down the foundation of the journey to change the lives of so many and for that, I will be forever grateful.


Alex McWhirter – So many times we write about the highlights of our experiences because the 4 hour car rides and the toast for breakfast become mundane details, but it is the combination of the two that depicts reality. And the reality that I’ve experienced is a beautiful country with beautiful people with tragic stories. Stories in which we hope to have a sustainable dialogue, chapters we share towards a rewritten ending. Metaphors aside, we were literally welcomed into the homes of Marwa, taught (some of) their language, feed and given goats and chickens, prayed over, and promptly, we left.

When you travel to Africa, you will be asked if you went on a safari. But what they don’t know oedipus is that ‘safari’ is a Swahili word that means journey. We started this journey a long time ago, some of us a year ago, some several months, some might say our journeys always led us here. Yes, on the last day we traveled in an open Jeep and lions and giraffes, and you can see those pictures on our blog and Facebook, but for 9 days of our safari, we experienced a new reality. Our safari started long ago, and while we have returned, The Safari continues.

I would like to thank Mzee Umbisa for his time to lay the foundation for the language of Swahili, as mentioned several times, just knowing greetings had the power to change the mood of an entire room. I’d also like to thank the incredible drivers from Rickshaw; Richard, Kent, Edward and Rashid, you were the literal means of travel for our journey. My peers, it was truly a pleasure to work with you all over this past year. You all are bright, motivated and have beautiful souls. I know I will need you when I have “Marwa days” and I try to process everything. Robbie, can I call you Robbie? I have never seen someone so impassioned by a cause and a culture, you showed us how to live in Tanzania. Tony, I learned so much from you and I hope our journeys cross again. H, I am so thankful for you, the knowledge you have shared, the realities you have shown us. I hope all your students and the people you work with know how passionate and hard working you are.

For those debating whether or not to do a project like this, know that a project and trip like this will break you in the best way possible. Rearranging the pieces into something beautiful is up to you.

Asante sana!


Pat Enright – Reflecting on this trip I have very conflicting thoughts and emotions bouncing around in my head. Half of me is excited and confident that we will get this project completed successfully in a short amount of time and half of me is terrified that something will go wrong and we will have gotten our now friends’ hopes up again just to let them down. This fear was expressed to us from many villagers, but they welcomed us with open arms and were so genuinely hopeful that we would truly be the ones that save them from their plight. Robbie put it best by saying that he was feeling a type of survivors guilt but in the moment. Why them and not me? These are genuinely good and happy people, why do they have to suffer this fate? People have and will ask me if I’m having fun here. I love the people and he relationships we have built and all the new things I have learned, but the “fun” part is marred by the pain and suffering I heard in their voices and saw in their eyes. Hearing a young women with five young children talk in a broken voice with tears in her eyes about how she can only get her family half of the water that she needs is something that replays over and over in my mind. I have been both elated and heartbroken on this trip. It’s an experience that will shape me as a person and I have had such great interactions but I can’t say this trip was fun like a spring break vacation. I don’t say that to cheapen the experience but to give it depth to the people that can’t understand what we saw. I have said this in previous blogs but this experience has strengthened my resolve to complete this project. Times next semester when I want to stop working to do something else I will think of the look in the eyes of the people and that will motivate me to keep going. Another realization I have had this trip is the enormity of the problem. We only saw one village and there are thousands of villages with the same problem and even less capacity to do anything about it. I get weighed down by thinking I’m not making a difference but then Tony reminds me that it only takes one to start a change. One village to teach another village how to do the same thing. If I can positively impact just one persons life with what we are doing here then I am extremely lucky and I have done my job. I have seen the intelligence and industriousness of the people that all they need is a start and some opportunity and they will thrive. I truly believe that. I will cherish this experience for the rest of my life and I am incredibly thankful for everyone that helped me get to this point today. With the trip coming to an end, I am trying to take in as many sensory experiences as I can. Writing this from the car, I’m feeling the wind in my face, see the beautiful mountains dotted with houses, see the people and cars and trucks, see the trees and fields of agave, and smell a smell here that I will never forget. I have tried to describe it in the past but that didn’t do it justice. The earth has a very unique scent here and you smell the farmers burning brush in their fields. I hope my clothes hold the smell as long as possible so that I continue to get brought back to this amazing time and place in my life. I am going to miss hearing Swahili spoken every day and seeing little kids run after the car pointing at us and yelling “Mizungu, Mizungu!” I am going to miss a lot about this place, this will not be the last time I see their faces.


Randall Berkley – As I lay here about to go to sleep for the last night in the elephant motel, which marks the end of the work aspect of the project, I’m trying to remember everything we did. Fortunately, Dr. Hagenberger provided us with notebooks for the technical parts and I brought my own for the memories part but it is still hard to comprehend just how much we did. Since arriving in Kilimanjaro International Airport over a week and a half ago the team has bonded and done everything within our power to soak in the wonderful culture of Tanzania. I’m not sure anyone has mentioned it yet, but we were lucky enough to get private Swahili lessons from Mzee Umbisa once a week during the semester and he deserves a lot of thanks. We are all still far from mastering the language but just by knowing some phrases it helped our confidence and really allowed us to connect with the locals. I’m not going to rehash everything we have done this trip but this morning at breakfast when Tony and I were waiting for the rest of the group to join us, he asked me, what’s your favorite memory from the trip. It took me awhile to come up with an answer partially because we did so much but mostly because we did so many great things. Eventually I decided my answer had to be watching some of the children. Whether it was the children in the school, around the village or just kids we passed on the drive they always had a smile on their face, waved and generally yell Mzoungu. Working with the elders of Marwa was great and the hospitality of all of Tanzania has been fantastic, but at the end of the day I remembered that the greatest impact of Maji Marwa is going to be on the next generation. Hopefully by providing nearby water through distribution points some of those children can stay in school longer, they can grow up and start their own businesses with the new free-time and most importantly they can live without the fear of when their next glass of water will be. If I can help that happen for just some of the children we’ve met along the way, then it is all worth it. There is a lot of work to be done from here but I think our trip has been a success and the next group led by Dr. Hagenberger and Pat should be able to make a lot of progress when it comes to bringing water to the people of Marwa. Now I’m headed to get some sleep before some of the fun adventurous of Arusha and Ngorogoro crater.


Rob Pesarchick – I’m sitting at Sopa Lodge in the fog, watching – from 8,000 feet – the clouds crash to earth all at once; hoping the magnitude of the moment will open and inspire some inner dialogue.  Three major questions in mind:

What is to be made of my first trip here back in August?  As the group begins to isolate and look to help in one specific village, we find it entirely more involved and delicate than I’d first anticipated.  So then, new sense must be made of our previous trip, where we’d seen maybe twenty similar communities, all with similarly delicate water issues.  The magnitude of the problem is staggering.  I’m not sure anything good can come from dwelling on scale.  Maybe scratching at the surface day after day needs to be enough.

Second, what can I make of this trip, of Marwa?  I’m proud of my new friends in Marwa.  They’ve taken responsibility for their future.  They’ve done their home work, determined appropriate design elements, and have developed a plan moving forward toward a future where Marwa is a green, thriving place.  I couldn’t overstate how impressed I have been, or how proud they ought to be in themselves, stepping up to the plate like they are.

On this trip more so than the last, I’ve gotten to know living, breathing, singing, laughing people.  I’ve heard personally from possibly hundreds of them.  It would seem impossible to bisect myself from the humanity I’ve fallen into this time.  That said, my final question

What do I do now?  I don’t know.  I could set to work helping to write funding proposals; sharing Marwa and Africa’s story with anyone and everyone.  I can offer service as a consultant to future students as they build on the foundation we’ve lain.  I can do everything in my power to return.

This last question won’t resolve itself until I take steps, so we’ll see.  Similarly, everyone can ask themselves the same question: what am I gonna do now?  I encourage you to identify the capacity in which you can improve the world.  Volunteer at a food bank, support humanitarian programs.  Hell, go play cards at an assisted living facility.  Contribute to the world and make it great.

Special thanks go to our hosts in Tanzania, especially our friends at the Elephant Motel.  Thanks to Kateri and the rest of KiHO.  A huge thanks to our intrepid drivers: Uncle Richard, Kent, Edward, and Rashid.  I’d also like to thank Mr. Tony Duke for coming on this trip with us and advising us on cultural development issues.  Finally and foremost, I gotta thank Professor Hagenberger, who came to OSU just two and a half years ago with a special idea.  He invited myself a few other guys to help him get it off the ground, and I’m so happy to have been included, and am proud of how the ball is rolling.  Thanks for reading!

Michael Hagenberger – I am writing my final thoughts while sitting in my office in Hitchcock Hall less than 24 hours from arriving back in Columbus. I usually do not write my own thoughts on these blogs, I leave them for the students thoughts, but I feel compelled.

One night while in Same I woke up in the middle of the night dreaming of the Wizard of Oz. However, it was not Dorothy, the Tin Man, etc. but rather I was giving my students character names. I got one or two from the dream but stayed up until I finished all of them. It was a long night, but I knew were on the right path and I had the right team.

Infectious Enthusiasm – Pat displayed extreme delight in learning the Masai language. It had a tremendous impact on the entire team. His enthusiasm inspired me to learn more of the language and engage the community through learning their language. While in the community, he would scribble furiously as he was being given new words and phrases to learn. The smile on his face when he addressed the community and they had a positive response was a delight. I am not sure we could ever measure the impact he had, but I know it had an extremely positive impact on the project. I look forward to working with him in the Fall.

Steady Engineer – Randall is impressive from start to finish. He never gets very excited, he never gets very angry, he is just steady and he is always thing like an engineer but one with a tremendous heart. Read his posts. CH2M Hill is a lucky to have Randall. He will be a tremendous success. I am glad he is in the Columbus area and I can only hope he wants to continue to help future students on the project.

The Heart – Melanie is the heart. The emotion she shared on the trip allowed everyone on the trip to share their emotions. Melanie thought we would take her less seriously if she showed emotion. Just the opposite was true. She provided the opening through which all of us could pass. This will serve her well as she continues her journey. Watch out North Carolina, Melanie is coming.

The Center (Renamed the Equalizer by the Team) – Sierra, the Equalizer. This was my hardest and I am not sure I or the team actually got it right. I kept trying to find the one thing that stood out. She is a very good engineer. She is steady. She is enthusiastic. She has heart. What I finally realized was she possessed this unique combination of many of the other traits people in the group exhibited. This could sound boring or not special. On the contrary, she is and will be a rock, someone people can count on for the rest of her life.

The Organizer – Alex, a.k.a. spreadsheet. The look in his eyes when he was given the task of keeping our accounting for the trip in a spreadsheet was priceless. He simply loves to organize. To be honest, we never would have made the trip without his leadership. On the trip, he would give me subtle reminders of things I had to do. I could always rely upon him to remember details. He was great before the trip and on the trip. DC and Grunley are lucky to have him. He will make an impact, in a very organized and efficient manner.

Intellectual, Emotional Sass – Robbie, so much sass. When we talked about him coming on the trip we agreed that there would have to be less sass than the trip in August. We both knew it would not happen but we had to say it. His delivery is exceptional and comments are witty. Funny thing is, this is just the exterior. Talk to Robbie, watch him under the tree in Marwa, there is way more than sass. He was brought as a second “student leader.” He did that and more. I could not be happier with his as an addition to the team. He added humor, intellect, and heart. Can’t really ask for more.

So that is my all-star team. I could not be prouder of their actions and effort on this trip. I could not be sadder that our goodbye in the Columbus airport may be the last time I see some of them. Because of them we have a great chance of bringing water to the community of Marwa.

The picture at the top of the page is sunset, but this is simply the sunset on this trip. The sun will come up again and we will begin working on the next steps of the journey we are taking with all of our partners.

Of course, there are many people to thank. Here are just some.

Tony Duke – His inspiring words and thoughtful leadership are greatly appreciated. The project trajectory changed as a result of his participation. Thank you!

Umbisa Gusa – Our Swahili instructor. Your gave the students the confidence to learn the language. They used it every day and even learned Kimasai. Thank you!

KiHO – Kateri, Gerry, and Osteri provided a foundation on which we were able to build successfully. This is both engineering and community relations. It is impossible to describe our appreciation for their effort and we simply could not be successful without them. Thank you!

Marwa – The community, from young children all the way to the Village Chairman, were so welcoming and gracious. They shared many things, even a goat and a chicken, but the way that they touched the hearts of our students created a truly transformative experience for them. Thank you!

Richard, Edward, Kent, Rashid – For helping ease the transition of the students. For answering their questions, and being a critical link between their former world and this new world.Thank you!

Rickshaw – Worry free travel. What else can you ask for. Thank you!



Thursday, May 20th

Today was our last day working in Marwa.  Group A came back to a point where a young man was digging a shallow well (pictured yesterday.) The man had left to attend the funeral in town.  He hadn’t struck water yet, but had dug an additional two feet down since we met him the day before.  As we circled the well, dozens of Marwa city neighbors came to say hello.  An elder man gestured to Tony that he would like to cut his beard, so that he could wear it on his head.

We encouraged as many people as possible to come to the meeting ground in town center.  We held one final meeting which yielded still more new insight.  The women in the town center are very comfortable around us and ready to share much about water use and aspirations for future Marwa.  After this meeting, Group A and Group B joined together to say a heartfelt goodbye to the residents of Marwa.  Hagenberger presented the community with a gift: school supplies for the children.  He offered many reams of paper, pens and pencils, staplers, and binders.  The village chairperson accepted the gift on behalf of the school.

Before we left, we asked to visit the intake points that the Pangani River Authority helped design.  They’ve got three points at which the farmers redirect water out of the river through sluice gates toward their fields.  It’s likely that similar structures will need to be designed to direct water into a wet well for our pump.

Lastly, one final chai.  A small number of village officials ushered us into our meeting room. Only four days before, this room felt foreign and the people felt distant.  Today, there is such a comfort to our interaction.  Lots of laughing and embracing and clumsy Kimasai.

We spoke some final words, said our good-bye’s and left Marwa for the last time for this trip.


Presented with another gracious gift

Randall Berkley – Yesterday was a bitter sweet day as it was our last day visiting Marwa but it marked the end of the data collection phase. In the morning we were able to analyze some of the information we had already collected and start some of the engineering work which got the group excited. One thing I had not noticed before the day was how physically and emotionally draining the last few days had been for everyone in the group. Everyone wants to be here and is glad to be here but the journey has worn on all of us in different ways. We can’t wait to see the community in a non-business setting tomorrow in the market.

Sierra Heaton – I wish today wasn’t the last day in the community. We have been very productive due to their preparation of us coming. Even though we have a few days left in Same, we are using our time for other activities. Our relationship with the community has quickly progressed. When we arrived today, the people around were very friendly and wanted to take many pictures with us. Many laughs and smiles were exchanged.

There’s something about building a great relationship with a community that doesn’t even speak your language that is hard to describe. You can talk through body language and your eyes. You still can very much understand and relate to people. We finished up some social surveying of the sub-village of Marwa and went to see their irrigation canals. We had our last tea and food gathering and had some closing words. I told the community that even though I was here to help change their word, they have already changed mine. This trip, the community with its people and this country, has exceeded my expectations.

Alex McWhirter – It is incredible to see how people have grown in the short amount of time we have been here. I think several people have expressed that for as excited as we were to come here, it’s not necessarily the right word. This is not to diminish or retract any excitement anyone or I have expressed but it is hard to be excited to continually go visit a community that so desperately needs water and is also so ready for it. If I could, I would hand out as many water bottles as possible, but I know that isn’t the right process.
In our check-in meeting, I expressed anxiety that we had a lot of information but hadn’t processed any of it. We then took the first half of the day, in our “office” outside the Elephant Motel, to marry the two sets of information together. Seeing all of our scattered GPS points and pin pointing where things were relative to each other produced several sketches of different options. It struck a chord for many of us and helped us think about how to move forward. As our time in Marwa comes to an end, I know that I am leaving parts of myself here, but I didn’t expect to leave it in aged and storied eyes, in heavy but hopeful hearts, and in such readied hands.

Melanie McDonough – Marwa is a very interesting place. So much about their way of life is completely foreign to me. Their dress, their lack of family planning, the family dynamic, lack of technology, medical care, their language and more. Their dress consists of many kongas which are large rectangular pieces of fabric that both men, women, and children tie around themselves, often they are of beautiful fabrics. One man will take 2, 3, and even up to 10 wives and all live together in one Boma. A Boma is a cluster of houses and each wife gets her own house. The amount of children that one man has varies greatly- someone we met today had 3 wives and when I asked how any children first he said in the 20’s and then he came up with 33. Love is a different concept here. They are together less for love and romance and more for practicality and reproduction.

Technology is different as well obviously. Some men will have cell phones and some families have a solar powered light but for the most part they have no light or cell phones. As for medical care they have a dispensary which I do not quite understand yet but I think you can get very basic medications and there is a “flying doctor” that flies in once a month for women and children. Most women deliver their babies in Marwa however if there are complications with the pregnancy they will go into town and have their baby at a hospital. Their language is very beautiful and having only learned the greetings seems rather complicated.

All of these differences and yet our humanity is one in the same, we both deserve decency and respect. Somehow I feel like I have been able to connect with many people even though we cannot even communicate with our words. Everyone has been so genuine and beautiful towards each other and it has brought me to tears several times. Not because I am sad or feel bad for them but because I can see such beauty in our interactions. They are so grateful for us and I am so grateful for them.


Melanie making friends

Patrick Enright – The last day in the community left me with a happy and sad feeling. Playing with the children that were there during the day was incredibly refreshing and rewarding. They are so innocent and happy, it’s reassuring for humanity that children are essentially the same wherever you go. In our final community meeting we met some incredibly passionate women in a society where that is not the cultural norm, it gave me hope for their future. The women do so much for their families; getting water, cooking, cleaning, building the house, that we needed their input for the design of the systems.

Sometimes they are too shy or ashamed and don’t feel comfortable sharing the information we need. The last meeting did not have this feeling at all. Leaving the community was almost overwhelming. They poured their hearts out to us about how much they need water and that people have come through like us in the past yet they still do not have water. There is so much work to do and so many obstacles to overcome that not getting it done for the people that welcomed us with open arms would be devastating. I want to get this project done so badly not for myself, but for the people I met and befriended over the past week.

The Maasai even gave me a Maasai name, Saning’o, I haven’t figured out the meaning of it, but someone mentioned that it may mean a foreigner who grasps the language. As Tony said, although we were only there for a few days, in  my heart I feel like I have been there for years. I am excited to get to work.


Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17-18

Today and yesterday, we took to the streets, marking as many important points as possible on GPS units.  On Tuesday, we split into teams of three and toured two of Marwa’s sub-villages: Njakitai and Pateli.  Sierra, Pat, and Robbie surveyed Njakitai while Alex, Melanie, and Randall surveyed Pateli.  Before splitting, we saw a few major parts of town.  We saw the churches, dispensary, and the primary school.

On our separate surveys, our guides took us to points in the sub villages at which we might need to take GPS waypoints.  The leaders had many points they wanted to show us as they knew what they want their water system to look like.  They knew proposed pipe routes, distribution points with good reasoning behind it, and even a tank.  They pointed out points of high population, and major buildings too which many people travel every day.  In the afternoon, the team converged for a large-scale meeting where nearly 200 community members came to hear about our program and learn what they need to do to help the program step forward.  Introductions were made all around, and each of us was given the opportunity to speak to the crowd and communicate what we feel is very important about the mission.

As that forum came to a close, we invite those at the forum who belong to either the Njakitai or Patelli sub-villages to join smaller social surveys, to talk in more focused sessions about water issues in their own neighborhood.  At the sub-village survey, people talked about their water usage, their aspirations for a future with adequate water, and the lives of their children now and into the future. After another tasty dinner of Nyama Choma barbeque, we said good night and headed back to Same.

As today started, we again split into our separate groups, to tour the last two villages.  Group A will tour the sub village of Marwa, the most populated sub village, while Group B toured Lesirway.  Again, similar points of interest were identified all over the two sub villages.  Social surveys were taken where ever we could get a few people to convene and discuss their water story.  Finally, as has become quick tradition, we joined together in the late afternoon for a cup of chai, a meal, and light-hearted Kimasai lessons.IMG_0934

A Cement Block Production Yard

Robbie Pesarchick – These days were, I think very productive.  Having already been warmly accepted into the community of Marwa Monday, we engineers arrived and happily set to work doing GPS work, measuring building footprints, discussing water usage, and listening to Marwa’s plan for their own water system.  I was very proud of how thoughtful neighbors had been, selecting carefully the best points in the village to distribute water.  Some points were at schools and dispensaries for the sake of the community, and some were equally spaced among clusters of bomas.  What I saw today was a community that came together to come up with what might be the best possible schematic for their own water system, with no training at all.  My group was brought to the northern area of Nkjakitai to see the point of highest elevation in Marwa.  They figure this might be the best place to put the storage tank, and they might be right.

The second day, in the sub village of Marwa, was very productive in it’s own ways.  the “downtown” portion of the village as a whole is in Marwa the sub village.  That may sound very confusing, but its why they called the village at large Marwa.  Our guides for the day showed us a lot about their development plans for the future, including a new market they would like to set up on a road out of town.  They believe having a place to buy and sell on Thursdays before they leave for the Same Masai market on Fridays will give them the best opportunity for success in business.  They also showed us many points around town where having a distribution point could be very useful.

We’ve learned a lot about community development on this trip, and how important it is that solutions be organically developed within the society in question.  Here, it seems that we didn’t even need to catalyze the design conversation, they’ve meditated on this for a long time.  It was additionally beautiful to hear the women’s plans for the time after they do not have to fetch water anymore.  Many want to be farmers, some dream of using some water to make beautiful brick or concrete houses like they’ve always wanted.  I appreciated the dynamic in my group, as we took turns taking the lead on a conversation.  Leading one of these conversations is a point of a lot of responsibility, but genuinely wanting the answers to questions, and having enough Swahili to be able to communicate a portion of the information myself both help.

Sierra Heaton – The past few days we have been in groups taking data points of the community. We would drive around in the land cruisers packed with village leaders as they would direct us to certain spots in the community they wanted us to see. It’s amazing how well they know the land. The work they have already put into this vision is extraordinary. They know what they want and what they’re going to do when that times comes, they just need someone to answer their cries for help. So many people have let them down in the past. We NEED to make this work for them. I have met so many great people and smiling faces. Working with so many of the community leaders is such a great experience because you get to know so many different people and their stories. I want to come back when this is completed and see their reactions when water is brought to all of the sub-villages of Marwa.


Masai women and children

Alex McWhirter – It is hard to over emphasis both the need and the effort the community is willing to put into this system. I not sure if there will be anything that doesn’t remind me of Marwa when we return.
There is something so universal about children and it is amazing to walk into a school (shule in Swahili) and they are learning Kimasai, Kiswahili and Kiingereza (English). I have a few pictures of them taking selfies. Then I took a video of them swarming around the phone and they went wild trying to see themselves.

Today we bought donuts from a women and the chairmen scolded her because her son was not in class, but later we learned that he was there to see the “flying doctor”, a doctor that flies in once a month to look at children and women. One of the boys was doing handstands so I got a chance to show off what my osu tution paid in my tumbling classes.

We were also given fresh milk in one of the bomas. I think I was the only one that even slightly enjoyed it! Every time we try and leave they give us tea and a meal.
We started with a hundred questions. We now have a thousand answers. We all have a million ideas.

Randall Berkley – The last two days have been long days in the hot African sun as we collected the much needed elevations and social survey information. As we walk around the community talking with both the leaders of the community and the residence you can tell how much everyone has dreamed about a water distribution system. Everyone knows where the perfect spots for distribution points are, why they would be there and can articulate how their lives would change. Women specifically mentioned that instead of spending their days transporting water from the river they could start micro-businesses, fish ponds, agriculture and just spend more time around their home. It’s great to see how providing water won’t just solve drinking water problems but also increase their quality of life in a bunch of ways.IMG_0971

Man commissioned to dig a shallow well

Melanie McDonough – Today and yesterday myself, Randall, Alex, and Hagenberger visited two subvillages within the Marwa community: Pateli and Lesirway. We came across so many churches and schools. Marwa’s first cry for water and their second has been consistant- they need more infrastructure for schools and churches. We went to a school today that had 7 classes, 4 classrooms, and 3 teachers. The need is overwhelming however I do believe that if we could bring water to their community they would have the resources to fix their own problems, or at least be a lot closer to it. With more time they can raise funds to pay for the supplies to build their schools and churches and they will have enough water to make concrete. One thing I was surprised at was the level of sophisticated thinking within the Marwa Communtiy, Not only did they know exactly how many and where they wanted their distribution points they understood the importance of treating their water.  I have been impressed time and time again by these people and I am so happy to be a part of this project.

Patrick Enright – After two long days of spending time with the community, we are getting a feel for the community’s wants and needs as well as their vision for the community. Before coming, a major assumption we were making is how much they wanted to be a part of this project. When we arrived, they had drawn maps and planned out some ideas for what could be good points for storage tanks and distribution points. The amount of effort they put in to this project reaffirmed our efforts and made us feel like we were going to make a positive change. They have thanked us countless time for answering their call for help and told us about the tremendous impact this would have on their life. If they had access to water they could spend time farming, caring for their families and livestock, making bricks to make their houses safe and modern, and make their community a better place to live. It is heart wrenching to hear them talk about the number of times people have come through their village promising water and not delivering so I feel a hundred times more motivated to follow through and finally deliver the water they desperately need. Hearing the women and children talk about how difficult getting water is on their and their families lives. The women talk about how they get half of the water they need for their families with tears in their eyes, sounding nearly ashamed of their struggle. They live on 10 liters of water pre day, while we use 300 per day in America. The children talk about how they can only carry one bucket of water – equivalent to 20 liters – because the walk is too far for them to carry more, all while they are missing school. They have welcomed us into their community with open arms, making us food and tea for the end of every day. I truly feel like they connected with us and believe this is the time water will finally come to Marwa and I will do everything in my power to make that dream come true. Towards the end of the community surveys, Kateri approached us and told the group that a man had died in the part of town we were headed into and that we needed to go pay respects to the grieving family before going any further. We approached the house and saw a dozen grieving women outside. Following custom and saying “pole sana” to all of the women, which means “very sorry”, and shaking their hands, you could see the pain in their eyes over a lost family member. This humanizing moment showed me that no matter our country of origin or way of life, the connections we have with our loved ones are the most important things we have. This has not been the first humanizing moment for the people of Marwa and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but it will certainly be one of the moments that stands out the most in my memory.


A very special Kids Only survey

Monday, May 16th

The first day of work in Marwa is here.  Finally, nine months after first visiting this community, and after eight months of studying and having this group on our minds, we can meet them.

The first order of business was a set of Monday morning meetings with local government.  We met with two figureheads in Same, the district engineer and the executive director for Same.  It’s important to have these meetings to make clear our intentions in the region.  Both of these meetings were very reassuring; both were happy to have us in the district and stated the government’s intent to cooperate on this program and provide any assistance that is possible.

After these meetings, it was time to head to Marwa.  A lengthy introduction session stretched from 11:30 to 2:30, and served as a great warm up to the work we will be doing for the week.  We explained our progress, how we have progressed since choosing this community to work with.  We explained what actions we were going to be taking throughout the week, showed them the GPS units, explained the time table, and a few other things.  More principally, we met so that the two groups could warm up to each other, see one another’s smiles, hear one another’s concerns, and just get comfortable.

The afternoon was spent with some of the elders touring points where they can fetch water.  Some of the three points were closer than others, but the trade-off was that of hygiene.

Finally, the beautiful people of Marwa shared a great meal with us.  We thanked them for the food and received a very special gift.  On the way out of the lowlands, we were lucky enough to catch a distant glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Robbie Pesarchick – This was an important day for me.  It was so good to see familiar faces.  I felt like I was completing a promise that we had made back in August to return.  It was beautiful to watch the progress through the day as the Marwa become more trusting and open with us.  By the end of the day we were happily laughing and joking and trying our best to speak Kimasai.

On a sadder note, I thought I had seen a man that was familiar from the last time I was here.  Last time, he walked slowly with a crutch, as he had been struggling with cancer.  I shook the man’s hand and asked through a translator whether he was feeling better.  He explained that he was not the man that I remembered, that man was his older brother.  They looked so astonishingly similar that I would never have guessed he was a different person.  The man I had met previously was chairperson.  Now, his younger brother is the chairperson.  I take this to mean that my friend did not survive his condition.  It hurts me to know that he passed never knowing that we were coming back for him.

Sierra Heaton – Getting out of my comfort zone was definitely done today, from meeting with the executive officer, to the district water engineering of Same to meeting a rural community of majority Masai. While in our initial meeting with the community, I couldn’t help but tear up. We were sitting in front of a community that has cried out for help on their water issue and we are looked at as their hope. The exchanges I had today with the beautiful people of Marwa I will remember for the rest of my life. I have never done anything like this before, and not many people can say they have. I was a little out of comfort zone speaking and sitting in front of community where we don’t speak the same language. But by the end of the day I was working with a few members of the community to learn more vocabulary of the Kimasai language. From the introductions, the meals, the teaching of the language, to getting a vehicle stuck in the mud, our relationship progressed so much in one day. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Alex McWhirter – Today was played like a card game with trump (not Trump, although he has been a topic of conversation from many Tanzanians). Everything we did today was better than the last. It’s amazing how much simple things like greeting someone with the correct phrase in Swahili can change a conversation.
I honestly don’t know what was more exciting, receiving the government’s support and blessing, learning about a similar project from the district engineer, meeting the Masai people of Marwa, getting the truck stuck for an hour in a mud pit or receiving a goat (we named him Stu) from the community. I have few words because today was a blur but I know that we are here for a reason and there is a severe need. It pains me that I graduated and don’t have another semester or year to work hands on with the data we are collecting but it would be a disservice to Marwa and myself if this were truly the extent and end of my involvement.

Patrick Enright – After months of talking about and planning for the visit to Marwa, we finally arrived after important meetings with the district executive and water engineer. Learning Kimaasai turns out to be the most beneficial and impactful addition to today, more than I could have thought. Language this trip has been the most important aspect of human connection and cultural exchange. In every meeting and exchange we have spoken even a bit of Swahili, we can see the other person’s eyes light up and their demeanor completely change. The effort of even learning how to say hello and thank you means a tremendous amount to the people here and I am very happy that I made the effort to do so. Making the Maasai feel valued and having effort made towards them feels like they appreciate the connection. I was spending any free time we had learning and sharing with the Maasai. This turned into a sort of de facto Kimaasai speaker for the group, which was truly an honor. I spoke at the end of the day and said a very broken thank you – which greatly amused them – followed by a heartfelt ending to the day about how grateful we are that they welcomed us into their village with open arms and how excited we are to be working with them on this project. Hearing their desperate cries for water and how dreadfully aware they are of the ramifications for not having access to clean water was a very sobering and centering moment that strengthened our resolve to get this project funded and completed.

Randall Berkley – To put it simply, wow what a day. Before I get into my reflections from the day I want to let those of you with loved ones on the trip know that every single person did something absolutely perfect today that individually moved the project leaps and bounds forward just today alone. You should all be proud. Moving back to the reflections, we did so much today that I’m hoping among the group we hit half of it. We started the day with two meetings with local officials but the one I want to focus on was with Musa the water engineer. Having local knowledge on what types of projects work and him graciously showing us some his previous projects with in-depth detail will help with creating our own design in the future because we will have other proven examples to design off of. Talking technically is important but it was the way he showed us the information that was special. He had such a passion for his work and was so proud of the solar pump distribution system just constructed in Karamba. He will be a great local contact because of the expertise and his drive.

After the meeting with Musa, we finally were able to visit the Marwa community and had a meeting with the village leaders/elders. There were numerous things that astonished me about the Marwa community but I’ll try to stick to a couple. The first, is the stories they tell of their water problems was obviously saddening but the way they speak of hope moving forward is so motivating. One of the plethora of quotes I pulled from the translation to us was “your coming is not human but godly”. They do not view us as the next group in a line of previous groups of disappointments, but as the group who will finally help. The positivity is something to be admired. Second, the people of Marwa are just a great group and a community that is truly united to beat any challenge. One example was when the car I was riding in got stuck in the mud. We are not just talking a little bit stuck but over half the tire engulfed in thick muddy water. While the other car went to find a way to pull us out, all the leaders tried everything in their power to pull us out for at least 40 minutes. I’m not just talking about the younger, lower level guys, but everyone from the chairman of Marwa, Elefaraha, down to one of the younger men just unlucky enough to be walking by. They worked together to cut down branches to place under the tired to add friction, shoveling the water away from the car and pushing the car in knee high mud that was spinning into their faces off the tires. The sense that the community is one and the amount of effort they are willing to put in is something we could all learn from. I could rant for another few hours about just the day today, but it’s late here and we have a bright and early day tomorrow. I can’t wait to go back and be with the community tomorrow.

Melanie McDonough – Today has been a long time coming. When I was in high school I was given a passion for helping and being in third world countries when I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Cambodia. Then in college, the issue of lack of access to water was put on my heart. I have cared for so long but have never seen the problem up close. That changed for me today. As we met with the village leaders and elders I was touched at my very core as they told us their cries for water. They appreciate us being here so much. They told us that several times before, people have come to their village and said their mission was to provide them with water. Once, a well was even built, however the water underground is much too salty and they cannot use it, a waste of hope and resources every time. They said that us coming to their village was not just human but Godly. Their culture is heavily built on their Christian beliefs and just another reason I am very happy to serve them and try and provide them with water. However now I am very worried that something will transpire or maybe something won’t transpire that will get in the way of us getting them water. I do not want to just be another disappointment for these people and I hope that Pat and Hagenberger will continue to carry this very important torch and that one day not too long from now the village of Marwa will have water.thumb_DSC_0075_1024

Elders listen as Muza speaks on water issues

Sunday, May 16th, 2016

Today, the group was lucky enough to go to Same’s Sunday market.  Every Sunday, farmers and shop keepers congregate at a massive common ground, set up their stands, and sell all of their fresh produce, clothes, and wares.  Beyond the simple commercial aspect of the market, this is principally a social event.  All of your neighbors are out in a common place, catching up and joking around.  The group explored the market place; buying produce and kanga’s. On the way back to the motel, we stopped at a private water supply.  The man that ran the facility and gave a lot of data about his bore hole, his tanks, his fees, and the construction.  Sharing that plot was a man that made concrete block, he gave us information about dimensions and cost.  The students split away to learn some Kimasai from a Masai that works in the town.  Kateri facilitated the great opportunity to sit down with a man and learn a language that doesn’t exist as a dictionary online.  Finally, we convened with Professor Hagenberger and Tony to have an authentic Tanzanian meal for supper.IMG_0574

Melanie McDonough – We have been extensively working with a non-governmental organization called Kilimanjaro Hope (KiHo) since the beginning of this past school year. Kateri is our main contact from the organization, without the support and help from him this project would not be possible. Previous to coming to Tanzania I had some anxiety about how invested and interesting KiHo actually was in our project simply because of long lulls in communication and many questions going unanswered. We had actually bought our plane tickets at a time when we had not heard from him in a long time and this made me uneasy. However yesterday and today completely put my mind at ease and showed me how truly invested not only Katari is but the entire organization. He even said something to the effect of our project being top priority and plans on being with us the entire time we are with the community. It just feels really good to have people that are so important give us such great attention and care. Africa seems to be full of people like Katari- people that see hope for Africa and work so extremely hard to make it a better place for their children. People who have a vision and stop at nothing to achieve that. This is how the world progresses. People that care deeply about other’s discomfort in spite of their own situation, whether that be a comfortable one or not. It can be human nature to forget about those that are suffering, especially if they seem to be a world away, however we can not forget. We are all brothers and sisters.

Patrick Enright – Today had by far the most cultural exchanges of any day this trip. The first was the farmers market where all the rural farmers brought their fruits, vegetables, and other items to a large field behind KiHo. There were hundreds of people from villages in every directions, and Mbaga and Kateri led us around and assisted us with buying things and speaking with the local people. The people and the music and the entirety of the market was so foreign to the normal American experience and it was very eye opening as to how things are done in other parts of the worlds. The second important cultural exchange of the day occurred when we were waiting for Kateri’s Maasai friend to come teach us Kimaasai. We sat and talked with he and Mbaga for nearly an hour and a half about the similarities and differences between American and Tanzanian culture. We talked about the courting process for men and women as well as language amongst other things. We bridged many cultural gaps talking about how similar many aspects of the culture were. They were just as curious to learn about American culture as we were about Tanzanian culture, which made the exchange that much more productive. Lastly, Moses, Kateri’s Masai friend, arrived and taught us how to say some basic things in Kimasai- which is easier said than done, there are eight different ways to say hello and they all very depending upon who you are talking to. This exchange he was the most impactful one of the trip because it was truly incredible to be taught a small regional language from a member who is engrossed in that culture. The information

he imparted to us cannot be found on the Internet by just simply googling it, we tried. The Masai and known for being great warriors and his humility and soft spoken attitude surprised and he was willing to help us in any way. I sat next to him and we both laughed and smiled as our group tried to pronounce the complicated Kimasai words, it was a remarkable cultural exchange. It was truly a privilege to have that experience and it was one I will never forget. I will always look back upon today as a day that opened my eyes to the way many parts of the world operate, both similarly and differently than us.

Alex McWhirter – I had a wall shattered in my core today, a truth I had held since a young age, something that has gotten me very far in life, and tonight, a man named Moses proved me wrong.
There are some things you can not find on the Internet.
Moses is from a Masai tribe, like the one we will be working with (starting tomorrow) and he taught us greetings in Kimasai. It was a truly humbling experience. Knowing very little Swahili it was like trying to jam a square peg in a round hole that already had another square peg jammed in it, but as we continued we learned some patterns and we all walked away changed.
We also had the chance to see the market today. Row after row of produce and goods were worked by smiling faces, trying to sell a slightly larger eggplant or avocado (and trust me, they were HUGE). But something we noticed was the sense of community. When we were trying to buy some blankets, one stand recommended us to his neighbor. This was just one example of selflessness that we continued to throughout the day.
Ashe poakin

Sierra Heaton – Language/Communication is such a fascinating thing. Today has made me realize how great it actually is. We signed the book at KiHo so they have record of us. Mbaga, a leader of KiHo walked us over to the market. The Same market is a weekly occurrence where people from all over the area head to sell their produce and goods. It was so busy. Watching everyone move around, working, and interacting with everyone, I just stared in awe. We used Mbaga and Kateri to help us communicate with others and to purchase items from the market. Even though they were there, we tried to communicate as much as we could by ourselves. It was amazing to see how much we could do just by body language or using our hands. Over all today, the culture experiences were at an all time high today. It’s so much fun walking around and exchanging a few words in Swahili. I woke up this morning and in our meeting I said “today’s going to be a great day! I can feel it”. My feelings were right, today was an amazing day. I am very excited to meet more Masai and enter the community of Marwa tomorrow.

Randall Berkley – As today winds down I’m starting to remember just how much we actually did today. At the start of the day our only real plan for leaving the hotel was go to the market with KiHo. Instead, after the market and lunch we went back to meet with Kateri and Mbaga (also from KiHo) so they could introduce us to the brother of Kateri’s good friend who’s name is Moses. The reason we met with Moses is because he speaks Kimasai (language of the Masai people) and he graciously agreed to help us learn a few phrases before we go into Marwa. This lesson was supposed to be a brief one hour session. However, when I and the other students arrived at 4 though, KiHo was meeting with the Masai leaders preparing them for meeting with us and he asked us to wait 15 minutes. In case we haven’t mention how “Africa time” works before, they will say 15 minutes but it could be two hours (which it was). As we sat their anxiously for our meeting, it gave us time to get to know more about each other. There was some great bonding today and learning about everyone’s life. Once the KiHo meeting ended, we headed to a nearby hotel to meet with Moses. As we sat around waiting for Moses, it allowed us to talk with Kateri and we found out a lot about our different cultures. One of the main topics was marriage/engagements and all the different traditions. It was so interesting to learn about Tanzanian culture and Kateri’s life specifically. Then at the perfect time, Moses arrived and began teaching us Kimasia which can not be learned anywhere besides with a native speaker since it is an indigenous language. The Masai really focus on different roles in society and that is reflected in their language. We learned 6 different ways to greet groups of people based on age and gender.  To leave you with one thing we learned, intoo emaiyan indai engai poakin or God bless you all.


Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Today, the group enjoyed a relaxed morning.  We started with meetings amongst ourselves, discussing our intentions for the coming week and learning from Tony all about the dynamics of cultural development.  We identified which questions we’d like to ask in our social surveys, to whom we should ask the questions, and how exactly we should conduct the surveys.

After completing our morning’s work, the students headed into the market center to use a printing shop and acquire equipment.  In the meanwhile, Dr. Hagenberger and Tony stayed behind to have a meeting with some of the representatives from KiHo: Mr. Kateri, Mr. Mbaga, and Mr. Orest.  When we the students returned to the Elephant Motel, we joined the group to talk strategy for the next week.  For a couple of hours we flushed out a lot of key points of our mission for the trip.  We talked about our agenda, the Masai culture, the social survey questions, and Marwa as a whole.  Walking away from that meeting, we are all very excited about the next seven days.IMG_0517

Monkey enjoying snacks we’ve shared

Robbie Pesarchick – I’m feeling really great right now.  I’d encourage anyone that cares as much to go over to the August blog and read up on the mentality that my group had had after our first experience in the lowlands of Same.  There was a tremendous amount of stress that came with those first encounters with severe poverty.  I feel as though I’d shaken a bottle of soda and have been carrying it under terrible pressure for the past 8 months.  As yesterday and today have unfolded, and I’ve started to see that a path exists toward a solution to some of the struggles for these beautiful people.  The bottle is releasing some of that pressure.

I really enjoy seeing the members of KiHo, for whom I have a lot of respect.  It’s very nice to know they remember me and are happy to see me again.  I’m so happy to be able to return as a professional.  Tomorrow we’re headed to KiHo and to the Sunday market, it should be a great day.

Randall Berkley – Today, the students under the supervision of our great drivers, Richard and Kent, went to the permanent market again to buy a couple tape measures and print off a couple files. The market has numerous shops which have printing so we just randomly picked a shop to go to. When we walked into the first store and explained that we were looking to print the maps we had onto 11×17 pages that recommended we go to a different shop. Then when we got to the second shop and printed the 11×17 maps, they suggested a third shop for us to go to for some color printing. I couldn’t get over the sense of community that Same and the entire country of Tanzania have that someone would hinder their own business and send us to a different shop. That would never happen in the U.S.

Today, we made a lot of progress based on the information KiHo provided us yesterday and I can’t explain how encouraging it is that we seem to be on the same page with KiHo on what needs to get done and how it needs to be done. The most exciting part of the day though came after our meeting with KiHo, when Satango got us bananas and stale toast to feed the monkeys that live around the motel. The experience got even better when we gave Benedict’s (the motel manager) kids some stale bread and watched them play with the monkeys too. They were having so much fun!

Sierra Heaton – If I’m being completely honest, this morning I was a little frustrated. We were making progress in work but I was just getting anxious to get out into the community and start our work. However, when Tony talked to us about our surveys, he gave us the perfect words. He told us how we need to feel privileged to be able to speak with the Marwa Masai community. He reminded us that this trip is apart of our journey. We all went to OSU, majored in Civil Engineering, picked this particular capstone project, all which led us to the table of discussion. It was exactly what I needed to hear. After the work we accomplished and the meetings we had with KiHo today, I am actually very pleased at how productive we were. I feel more confident about communicating with the community and I feel as a group we are more prepared. I also believe we are more confident with our surroundings and communication here. Us students went into the Same city with our drivers Kent and Richard while H and Tony met with members of KiHo. Our interactions are more comfortable. When we got back to the Elephant Motel we got to take pictures of some monkeys playing, eventually got to feed them, and we walked to the end of the driveway to watch the sun set. Overall today was a fun and productive day.

Melanie McDonough – Yesterday was an awesome day. So many good things happened. We got to hand feed a bunch of monkeys that hang around the hotel- there was even a mother with her very tiny baby grabbing bananas from us while her baby breast fed… so basically I am a new woman, what an awesome experience and never in my life did I think I would get to do something like that. A lot of other things are on my mind from today. First, I am feeling much more confident to go into the community and interact with the people there- we have come up with a plan to conduct our social surveys (a series of questions to better understand what the community wants and expects for their future water system). Our plan is to be put in teams of 3 and basically just have a conversation with up to 20 people rather than just listing the questions. We have 3 main points we want to hit but the flow of the conversation is completely left up to the community, though if there is a lull for whatever reason I feel prepared to bring the conversation back to where it needs to be. Another thing I am thinking about after today is the idea of sustainability and how important this topic is for our community. As an engineer it will always be my job to focus on technical and environmental sustainability but there is also economic and managerial sustainability that people like Tony, development experts, and NGO’s must focus on. The last thing that made a big impact on me today was just reaffirming how passionate I am about this topic of access to clean water and how doing projects like this one can completely transform lives for the better. If we successfully provide this community with water the women and children will have significantly more time for other things- perhaps a mother will be able to spend more time with her child or a wife will have more time to get involved in the decision making and leadership in the community, maybe a little girl will get to go to school for the first time and some women may start up their own businesses for the first time. This is what this project is all about- giving time to the people so that they can further grow and develop their community.

Alex McWhirter – Today was a major stepping stone for the success of this team and our trip, this project and it’s lifetime and future project to come. Obviously that is a loaded statement but I think on many levels everyone learned and grew a great deal.
Yesterday when we met Setonga, he mentioned needing help with his computer. I was voluntold to meet him in the morning to help out. Not only is Setonga the director of the Elephant Motel, he is also a Catholic priest, founder of an NGO in the States and a sister NGO here in Tanzania and a major leader in the Same community (He also studied at the University of Iowa, sorry mom and dad). My time with him this morning was invaluable. I helped him with an application for several hours and learned more about his journey, beliefs and culture. To follow-up on the 3 names of a Pare person, the 1st, like Melanie mentioned is an event that happened around the birth of the child, the 2nd is a baptismal name soon after birth and the 3rd is the grandfather’s/grandmother’s name and by that method, this are not willed down to your children, rather your grandchildren. Having met Setonga by chance, we are incredibly lucky to have him as a future contact in the area.
What was equally incredible was that during my time away, the team got some major work done. Coming in at the conclusion of the session, I got to hear the polished version of hours of work.
While we went into town to print off some documents, H and Tony continued to meet with Kateri and it was clear from our later meetings that we all want the same thing, to help the people of Marwa. Hearing different methods and practices to get there, from almost every party involved to this point could have been catastrophic, however, with the right lens of a shared vision and a willingness to learn, we were all able to mold, adapt and change our methods.
Unfortunately some people were Euchred-out, which led to H teaching us Back Alley. I think it’s a new team favorite.

Pat Enright – Waking up this morning in Same to a rooster crowing was a pretty similar feeling to the first morning in Moshi, except we were not in the middle of the city this time. We spent the morning gathering ourselves both technically about data collection and with the way we should approach the community surveys we will be administering about water usage to the Maasai later this week.  During this process, Tony started speaking about the series of events that all lead us individually to this place. He spoke about how privileged we are to be able to use our talents to give the women of the village time to do other things, such as go to school or start a business, changing their lives and the lives of their descendants drastically. We have the privilege of speaking personally write the Maasai tribe, something not many people have the opportunity to do. I left the meeting feeling very inspired about are doing here and the community meetings we have this week. Following this, we went to the market to make some copies of some papers for a meeting, but only the students went while the professors stayed back at a meeting with Kateri. While we were still accompanied by the drivers, it gave us a feeling of independence and that I was more comfortable in Tanazania – even though I still freeze up and forget the response when someone greets me. Coming back we saw some monkeys playing around the courtyard and we were a little weary of getting too close and our driver, Kent, came over and led us as close as we wanted to go while keeping them back and we were able to get closer to them than I have ever been. After about an hour of this, we began sharing insight between Kent and ourselves about cultural differences and it created a real human connection that was lacking before. Shortly after this, a meeting with Kateri and other members of KiHo, where we spoke in length about our strategy for the project as well as our approach to the community meetings. They shared insight into the project that helped us gain a far better understanding of what should happen in the future to create a sustainable system. He shared things from Maasai culture to topographical features, all of which were immensely helpful and we would not be where we are now without this information. At the end of the day, a few of us walked down the driveway to the road to check out the sunset and the scene was picturesque. We all were absolutely blown away by the sunset in the mountains and even though our pictures turned out great, it still did not do the view justice.

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Today, the sun rose over Moshi, and many of the group got their first sun-lit views of Tanzania.  From the fifth story look-out at Bristol Cottages, we could see Moshi waking up below; market stalls opening, taxi-bicyclists waiting for customers, and roosters crowing enthusiastically toward their hens.  After a quick eggs-and-toast breakfast, we took our journey from Moshi to Same.

We arrived and unpacked at the Elephant Motel, had a bite to eat, and headed out into town for a tour.  On tour, we wanted to identify hardware stores, hotels, and anything else that might be relevant to a future project in the region.  We got out of our trucks and walked about a market.

When we got back to the motel, we met for two or three hours, having important discussions about our strategy for the next 8 days and strategies for our program as a whole.  As the sun set, we were reunited with our good fried from KiHo, Mr. Kateri. He surprised us at our hotel with a very polished itinerary as well as an invaluable hand-drawn map of Marwa; drawn by four of Marwa’s own people, which showed locations of the river, significant population centers, and even suggested distribution points.  We wished Mr. Kateri a good night, and settled in for the evening.

Pat Enright – After arriving in Tanzania after the longest series of flights I have ever been on, stepping off the plane into the warm, humid  night air was a refreshing feeling. The first thing I noticed, as Dr. Hagenberger said I would, was the distinct smell of the country. It was the smell of something foreign burning, it wasn’t necessarily good or bad, just distinct. Walking down the steps of the plane onto the tarmac and stepping into the airport reminded me of flying into a quaint, outdated regional airport. Making it slowly through customs one by one, we were officially in Tanzania. The drive to the airport just gave glimpses of Tanzania. Because lights were few and far between, it felt like the rest of the country was hiding in the dark. Although, there was more nightlife than expected, with music blaring from many of the local establishments. Arriving at Bristol Cottages was refreshing, finally having a place to stay after twenty some odd number of hours. We sat down for the first real meal – not counting the airplane food – and the first taste of Tanzanian food made it feel like I had actually arrived, even though we had been in the country for over an hour already. Melanie and I climbed the steps to the top of the hotel after dinner to see if we could get a glimpse of the stars or the city, but we couldn’t see much, making us wait until the morning to see everything. After a good nights sleep – finally –  was ended by a crowing rooster and a shower to make me feel human again, we met for breakfast and gathered ourselves for the day. Although the morning was slightly rainy and overcast, he garden at the cottages was beautiful , a tropical feel that gave me a good feeling for what the rest of the trip would bring. Dr. Hagenberger, Alex, and I walked to the top of  the hotel again to look around and when I saw what had been around us I realized we had been in the middle of the bustling city of Moshi the whole time. People, cars, and motorcycles were slowly coming to life as the morning came. We prepared to leave the cottage and go to our more permanent hotel in Same. After exchanging some money into shillings and reluctantly turning down the local bracelet and painting salesman, we departed for the next destination. Leaving the city was a gradual transformation from bustling city to rural country, with shops and bars becoming less and less frequent the further we got away. The people were remarkably friendly, with many wanting to stop and wave with a big smile on their face, which in turn gave me a big smile on my face. The countryside was beautiful, with fields, trees, and mountains as far as the eye could see the entire way. I took as many pictures as I could because I was so impressed with what I was seeing. As we drove further, the shops began to pop up again and I knew we were close. We arrived at the Elephant Motel after a quick stop from the immigration officers to check our passports. After unpacking, we went to the village and explored. The people were just as friendly, but seemed almost tentative to wave, as if they were feeling us out. We explored for a while then met for a meeting in the courtyard where we finally met Kateri and made our plans for the days to come.

IMG_0414Melanie McDonough –  They do things differently here- they seem to live more organically. For instance they call their time keeping “Tanzania time” aka if I say lets meet at noon and you show up at 3:30 it is totally acceptable and an apology is not in order because you have done nothing wrong. Another example of their organic lives is the manor in which the Pare people (the community native to the Pare Mountains) name their children. We met a man today that told us the Pare people are given 3 names- the first name comes from the place or event in which they  were born. This particular man’s mother went to the market one day very pregnant and started to feel sick, before she knew it she was going into labor and the other women ushered her under the nearest mango tree where she gave birth to her beautiful baby boy whom which she names ‘Setonga’ which means “women going to the market”. I love this. I actually think its a little odd how American parents name their babies months and months before they ever meet them or even know the sex of their child “well if its a boy we will call him Johnny and if its a girl she will be names Sarah” how can you give your kid a name before you ever look into their eyes? This is because we feel like we need to have a plan and a backup plan and even a second backup plan. Their way of naming has such beauty and meaning to me. This is how I feel about the Tanzanian people I have met so far but also about their culture in general- its beautiful, slow, meaningful, and organic and I am so excited to learn more about it. So I’ll leave you with a Tanzanian phrase “Pole Pole” which means slowly slowly, and I think we could all stand to live a little more slowly.

Randall Berkley – Last night when we arrived at Bristol Cottages it was dark and we were warned that the rosters would be waking us up at the crack of dawn so I honestly assumed that we were in a remote location in Tanzania. When we woke up in the morning and went to the viewpoint at the Cottages to see Mount Kilimanjaro, we immediately realized that the little slice of paradise we had been staying in was actually in the middle of a big city, Moshi. I was amazing at the serenity of the hotel being a street over from a construction site and the busiest road in the town. As a side note the construction sites operate a little differently from a safety standpoint in Tanzania than they do in the US which the civil engineering team had no problem discussing in length. We were disappointed at the viewpoint though because the heavy fog was completely engulfed Kilimanjaro. Though the fog made for a more manageable temperature and less intense sunlight for us Ohioan which I guess is the silver-lining. As we made out way to Same, I was impressed by the road conditions. It was a nice treat because the roads going into Marwa will be all mud/dirt. After settling in at the Elephant Motel we made out way over to the permanent market in Same which is just down the road from the motel. I was surprised how tentative the community was, staring at us as we drove and walked around. It concerned some of us at first, but once we got out of the cars and began interacting a little with them, all it took was a smile and wave for them to become some of the most friendly people I’ve ever met. As great as it was to get to interact with some of the locals, by far the best moment of the day came when Kateri (our contact at KiHo) arrived and presented us with a map drawn by the Marwa community. I can not iterate enough how important this will be for the project. Not only did they give us an idea of the community location and area but they provided us with their personal ideas of what a water distribution system might look like. This is huge and I am so excited to move forward and begin working with this community.

Alex McWhirter –  At the risk of repeating everyone, I will try and be brief with a few anecdotes. My first and favorite story is how H made a little boy cry…twice! As we walked around Same, we started turning heads and while many people waved and smiled back, one little boy began to cry and hid behind the brightly colored skirt of his mother. In an attempt to win his heart, H tried to give him a sucker. He cautiously accepted the sucker from his mother and then threw it back at H. We finally gave up and walked away as everyone but the little boy chuckled.  About 15 minutes later, we circled back to the same shop and even from across the street, the little boy saw H, cried and scurried away.

We have also had a bit of monkey business, and I’m not just talking about all the card games we have been playing (mainly stealing the deal in Euchre).  As we returned to the Elephant Motel, we sat under the shade of the large tree and began to have an incredibly productive meeting. About twenty minutes into the meeting, the monkeys started to invade. When I say monkeys, I mean 10-15 small monkeys that slowly came closer and closer. H had his back to the invasion and heeding his advice about distractions, no one mentioned the monkeys until they were finally within spitting distance. We all turned in amazement at the setting of our meeting and the juxtaposition of the wildlife with our somewhat formal meeting. We decided that we would have “monkey breaks” periodically.IMG_0466

Sierra Heaton – I can agree with everything that my friends have said above. So instead of repeating what they have said in my own words I will take this time to reflect differently. This place is so different from what we are accustomed to. However, while we were driving from Moshi to Same, I kept thinking “We all live in the same world”. I believe this was going through my head because while driving I was observing so many people doing so many different things. From trying to sell their produce/products at the market, to herding to animals, to digging in their garden, to just laying under a tree talking to friends, we are working for something and trying to survive in this world. I can’t help but think about the people I have come across in my life that are so judgmental and ignorant to the rest of the world. If everyone could only see and observe this part of the world I have been so grateful to be apart of for a short period of time. I can tell you that this trip has already made me think differently and appreciate more. I am also taking a journal of my own so I can share my experiences and thoughts with others so I can hopefully make an impression on others such as the people of Africa have done to me.  I can’t say that I did not have any doubts before coming on this trip. I am very far away from comfort zone, from my family and friends. But Hagenberger said something back at OSU that has become one of my favorite quotes to live by,  “Regret the things you do, not what you don’t do”.

Robbie Pesarchick – Today was an exciting day.  Leading up to this trip, I felt pretty stressed because I had a very good idea what the logistics of the trip would entail.  I was stressing the flights, the bumpy rides, the cold showers.  It was only today that those clouds cleared away.  The drive from Moshi to Same was very familiar, I’d made it twice a day for a week.  I loved seeing the agave fields, the children, and the herds of livestock.  I forgot the rush of serotonin from seeing smiles and waving and giving thumbs ups.   I loved walking through the market, exchanging greetings and making the shop owners laugh with how limited and awful my Swahili is.

It was really nice to see Kateri again, I really admire him.  He’s a selfless person and he excites the room with his enthusiasm for helping and empowering his neighbors.  Having Tony around is great.  The conversations, in contrast to the August trip, is concentrated primarily on community commitment and buy in.  Tony is steering conversations away from the numbers and measurements that we are comfortable with, and encourages us to focus on how we can make sure we can offer the optimal consultancy while ensuring that the water solution is by the people, for the people.  That is a concept that I admittedly didn’t give much consideration.  It’s easy to assume we know what would work the best and prescribe it, but that’s not necessarily the most effective solution.

It’s good to be back.


Ohio State CEGE Tanzania May Trip Kick-off

In continuing pursuit of rural water system solutions, representatives from The Ohio State University’s Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering department have landed at Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania.  Our group looks to further the effort made by the students from the class of 2015, which had come to Tanzania in August of 2015.  Their goals, actions, and emotions are chronicled at  While the primary objective of the 2015 trip aimed to explore many regions of the country in search of viable candidate communities for a rural water project, we’ve since identified the Masai people of Same, Tanzania the best candidates.  In addition to the primary qualification of lacking reliable water infrastructure, we found the Masai to be eager to participate in the solution.  What’s more, the Kilimanjaro Hope Organization is a very strong non-government organization that actively advocates for many struggling communities like the Masai around the Kilimanjaro/Same region.  All three of these factors – the need, the eagerness to participate in a solution, and the strong NGO representation in the area – make this community the perfect candidates for a cooperative rural water project.
We’ll cover more specifics about this trip, our goals and plans, in later blog posts.  For now, we’re going to open things up with some introductions.DSCN0215

Robbie Pesarchick – Having graduated in December of 2015, I am now a Civil Engineer working for Burgess and Niple in Akron, Ohio.  Anyone that read the 2015 CEGE Tanzania blog posts may remember me; besides Professor Hagenberger, I am the only other participant on this trip that also went in August.  I feel very invested in this project, so when Dr. Hagenberger invited me to accompany the new group back to country, I was only too enthusiastic to accept.  I feel so lucky to be here again; lucky to be invited, lucky to be permitted by my employer, lucky to have stumbled across this specific capstone project in the first place.  I hope to contribute with understanding of the culture, the language and water supply issues, and also by managing the blog, writing the prefaces to summarize the action points of our trip.  Thanks for reading!


Pat Enright – Planning to graduate December of 2016, I am in an interesting position in the group being the only non-graduate. I am on this trip to help collect data and receive community feedback as well as relay my experiences to the next group to continue this project in the fall. Having some international experience in Ecuador, I was more than excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this trip and be able to make a real impact in the world through my capstone project. To be able to use what I learn in class every day to change thousands of people’s lives is an incredible opportunity and I am grateful to be in a situation where I can help so much. I am looking forward to my first experience in Tanzania, hopefully the first of many more.

Melanie McDonough – I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this team and participate in an ongoing humanitarian engineering effort here in Tanzania. I have just graduated and will start working in Charlotte as a Civil DesignDSCN0216 Engineer shortly after I arrive back to the States. My excitement for this trip is two fold- I want to better understand how a successful and sustainable humanitarian engineering project is conducted and also get a feel for the culture and people of Tanzania. I have been lucky enough to travel to a developing country once before and it was an experience I will never forget. I want to make it an ongoing goal of mine to use my education to help bring water to developing countries through humanitarian  engineering trips much like this one. I believe that access to safe drinking water is a basic human right and when this trip is over I hope that our group will be one step closer to bringing water to the people of the Marwa community.

DSCN0217Alex McWhirter– Right here: A phrase I picked up on a previous service trip to Nicaragua. When working with the people of Little Corn island, we would ask, “how are you,” they would respond with, “right here.” As if to say, I am in the moment and that is all that matters. It reminds me that while it is very exciting to work with the technical aspects of the project, the people, the community and the culture can have the most impact on you as a person. When we leave, we will inevitably feel like we are leaving a part of ourselves in the work we have done and with the people we have met, but the amazing thing is, it is those same people that fill in the holes left behind.  I am extremely excited to meet the community, share my knowledge but more importantly, learn!DSCN0221

Sierra Heaton – This trip has been a long time coming. I have been waiting for this since September 2015 and I can’t believe it’s already here. Since then, I have graduated from The Ohio State University with some great friends and accepted a job in Charlotte, NC. Things have been moving so fast this semester. I know I can’t slow down time, but I feel like too often I find myself looking to the future and not appreciating the present. So for this trip I am going to try to fully absorb what Tanzania has to offer. I am truly blessed and privileged to be here. I am excited to meet all the community members, collect data, to be apart of this team and to see where this project can go. I am grateful for this opportunity The Ohio State University has given me even after graduation.

DSCN0220Randall Berkley – Coming into The Ohio State University as a freshman, I was accepted as part of the Humanitarian Engineering Scholars program which has shaped my college years. The program allowed me to participate in other project teams, similar to this one, where we worked to design a grey water filter system for an NGO in Guatemala. After returning from this trip, I will begin working for CH2M in Columbus, Ohio as an entry level engineer in the water business group where I will focus on drinking water mainly in the central Ohio region. That is why working with this team towards designing a water distribution system in rural Tanzania is the perfect fit for me to end my undergraduate career because it not only summed up my time at OSU but has helped prepare me for the next stage in my life.TonyDuke

Tony Duke – Australian born and raised, dual US citizen Tony Duke has worked extensively in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Mexico, the Middle East and West Africa, in the Cultural, Community and Development sectors. He is committed to people centered development. He has a diverse and eclectic portfolio of experiences, having held positions ranging Research Fellow at the Te Ake O Nga Waka (Centre for Cultural Tourism and Hospitality) in the Department of Maori Studies at the Auckland University of Technology through National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy Implementation Facilitator with the Australia Council for the Arts to Executive Director for Culture and Development International (Ghana) producing the 2nd International Conference on African Culture and Development. He is currently working with Dr. Joe Campbell (OSU / SENR) on developing the Sustainable and Resilient Tanzania Community program and is a candidate with the Doctor of Creative Industries program at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Australia.