This week we have a guest post from one of our volunteers, Lily Culbertson. Lily is a Civil Engineer with Wallbridge & Gilbert, one of our amazing and generous sponsors.
Lily recently went to Tanzania to help out on our school maintenance project, and brought her professional knowledge with her. We'll let her tell the story, but as always, if you're interesting in supporting us, there's many ways you can get involved!
Thanks again Lily, you did some great work with the team on the ground!
In June this year, I was sponsored by Wallbridge & Gilbert to travel to Tanzania and work with Team Vista for 4 weeks. During my time in Moshi, I focussed on maintenance work at the Msasani Secondary School, and investigations relating to the Newlands project.
Our work begun at the Msasani Secondary School in Kaloleni. We sourced all the materials required and worked with a local tradesman to re-concrete 6 classroom floors and 3 verandas. I feel as though this experience enhanced my skills as an engineer, as I had to overcome many challenges along the way. The language barrier was difficult from the beginning, but we were lucky enough to have a dedicated Team Vista staff member with us for most of the time to help us translate. We worked within a budget, and tried to improve the tradesman’s methodology where we saw fit, without impacting greatly on the budget (or offending him!).
The Newlands project also brought about many challenges and achievements. We surveyed the land using a handheld GPS device for the purpose of defining the boundary points and met with the Councillor of Newlands to confirm and agree on the set-out points. We also investigated building ideas for future uses for the land. Team Vista volunteers had drafted up plans of the caretaker’s hut prior to our departure, and we used these plans to obtain quotes from builders to undertake the work. We took note of different materials available in the area, including mud bricks and concrete. We also investigated water sources in Newlands, and met with the Pangani Water Basin Board to discuss the feasibility of drilling a bore. Other investigations related to building ideas the workshop, for example using shipping containers similar to the set up at the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation (CCBRT) centre in Kaloleni.
Together with the team, I am proud of the achievements across both projects. I'm looking forward to progressing further with the Newlands project and assisting Team Vista to raise the funds needed to get the construction works off the ground.
In the last week of my time in Tanzania, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. This was truly a lifetime experience that I will never forget. The scenery was beautiful and although the journey was difficult at times, there were some incredible moments. We submitted on the morning of the fifth day and were lucky enough to reach the top just as the sun was rising over the glaciers - it was amazing!
I am grateful for all the memories, and lessons learnt from the challenges I faced during my time in Moshi. It was a fantastic experience having an insight to the work of Team Vista; my inspiration and respect for the organisation has grown even more. I am thankful for the beautiful people I met in Moshi, and will always remember their warmth and positivity. I'm sure I'll make it back in the future!
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