Karibu! Welcome!

Since 2004, EWB@ MSU's professional and student volunteers have worked with community members in Khwisero, Kenya to provide water and sanitation infrastructure at the district's 58 primary schools, making it easier for Khwisero's children to avoid waterborne disease and get an education.

In that time, the group has grown from a small club to one of MSU's premier student organizations, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund seven borehole wells, six composting latrines and a biogas latrine that serve thousands of community members.

Thank you for joining us as we continue to work hand-in-hand with local partners to make a difference in one small part of our world. As Western Kenya's limited internet access allows, we will update this blog while in-country with the successes, stories and lessons provided by our work.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Team Member Check in: Joe Thiel

Greetings Everyone! Habari! Night is falling here in Nairobi. I’m sitting in the hotel, looking out over one of Africa’s largest cities, listening to music from the street as I contemplate the month ahead. It’s incredible; it hasn’t quite sunk in. At 5:30 tomorrow we catch a bus to Khwisero and our work truly begins. I can’t tell you how exciting that is. Over the past year I’ve learned so much about the district and our work there. I’ve ran fundraisers, attended meetings, given presentations and met some of the most talented people I know while working for our project in Khwisero, but to actually see it, to interact with the community first hand, to experience all of these things we have talked about is going to be incredible. I can’t wait.The best thing about our project, I think, is the connections we make both in Kenya and in Bozeman. Dozens (dozens!) of people helped me and the team to prepare for this trip. We had survey training, concrete training and social training. EWB members from Otto Stein, our advisor, to brand new freshmen spent hundreds of hours in meetings for this trip. Because of the incredible work of everyone in Bozeman I’m confident we can do great things in Khwisero this trip. It’s humbling really. I’m a sophomore in Chemical Engineering and Liberal Studies. I’m a young, poor college student, and I’m part of an organization made up of mainly young, poor college students, yet together we’ve been able to do some amazing things. With the Khwisero community we have brought clean water to thousands of children, a simple act which creates ripple effects throughout the entire community, creating a catalyst that can advance the whole society.This planned distribution pipeline will be EWB-MSU’s greatest challenge thus far. It carries with it incredible social challenges and greater technical complexities than we have faced in the past. EWB always says that we learn far more from our mistakes than our successes, and there will likely be many learning opportunities on this trip, yet the quality of the team I am traveling with, the incredible support we have received from the Bozeman community, and the hard work of every member of EWB-MSU is a testament to the power of people working together towards a worthy goal. I am honored to be on this trip, and I am confident of its success.


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