Engineers Without Borders at Boston University

Young engineers making their contribution to change



Travel Prep, Gear Up, and Take Off!

By ewbexec

During the past few months at Boston University, the streets that were bustling and full of action during the final weeks of the semester were tuned down as the summer atmosphere settled in. However, the pleasing environment is a great time for our organization to get even more work done as we have finalized preparations for our trip to Naluja, Zambia!

Our travel teams and students are very excited for the upcoming trip and have been through weeks of preparation to achieve our goals in Zambia.

What we hope to achieve

The trip will take place August 10th – 27th, giving us much time to spend with our partner community and accomplish goals for the three projects we are currently working on. Our partner community is a small village in a rural region located in the Kalomo District of Zambia’s Southern Province. The population is approximately 15,000 and centered around the community’s only health clinic. This will be our second trip to Naluja, following last summer’s assessment trip and first encounter with the people of the community.

Having progressed on our three projects throughout the year, we anticipate the trip to improve the community’s health conditions and continue our mutual goal for development. Our focus will be implementing the Cell Phone Signal Amplification project, using a double Yagi-Yagi system. We have fine-tuned the model of the project in order to get the best possible boost in cell signal, while ensuring simple construction, minimum maintenance, and sustainability. We also hope this will bring support to CGHD’s (Center for Global Health & Development) and ZCHARD’s (Zambia Center for Applied Health and Research Development) text-messaging system that looks to improve the communication of medical blood-tests that scan for HIV in infants. Expediting the transmission of results from the medical centers in the nearby cities to the remote the village is essential to tend to the health needs of the infants at their most precarious stage of life. Also, amplifying signals will promote greater intra-community communication and greater outreach outside of the village. This trip will also serve as an assessment for our two remaining projects – water filtration and power generation. The assessment phase of these projects is crucial to acquire information from the environment and data from the clinic in order to weigh the feasibility of designs we will start prototyping this coming fall.

Furthermore, another goal of this trip is to strengthen our ties with the community and local partners in order to move forward towards accomplishing more in the next few years. Having a close contact with our partners will help us gain a better understanding of what they need to improve community health and what they would like to improve in their village. We hope to gain more information to think of future projects that will further community development.

Meet our travel team

The travel team that will embark on this exciting journey is composed of two Boston University students and two mentors from the EWB-Boston professionals network. The two students – Nathanael Lee and Dan Sade – make up a well-rounded and motivated group that have the determination and skills needed to take on such an experience. Furthermore, the two mentors – Mohammed Jafri and Hunter Chaconas – will bring their professional expertise in ensuring that implementation and assessments are done properly. We are fortunate to have Mr. Jafri return to our travel team for the second year, as he will oversee both the Cell Signal Amplification and Power Generation projects. Mr. Chaconas, our newest mentor, has been working close with students in the water filtration group as he plans to oversee that aspect of the trip. All students and mentors will work closely and in a collaborative manner to accomplish our goals on this trip.

Nathanael is a rising junior in BME and is a returning member from last year’s travel team. Going for the second time will give him a unique perspective as he will be able to witness the progress between the previous trip and the upcoming one. He has been involved in much of the travel preparations, prototyping of projects, and lead of power-generator project. His experience from the previous trip will bring great insight as the other students make their first encounter with the locals of Naluja.

Dan is a rising senior in ME and has done much work on the Yagi Antenna and mapping of the region in Zambia. Having a keen eye of exploration and adventures, he had the following to say when pondering about the approaching trip: “I am very excited for the trip. I think we have a lot of responsibility representing the chapter, and I look forward to executing our mission in Naluja. I also look forward to meeting new people along the way in Zambia… I’d like to leave Zambia with a better understanding of how Zambians see themselves in today’s global age. More precisely, how they view themselves individually on the world stage, what their aspirations are for their nation, and what they think the country should become going forward.”

Travel team and other EWB members prototyping our Yagi Antenna!

Preparations: Over the course of the past few months we have been busy preparing for impending lift off to Zambia, a journey that takes over a day to reach our final destination. The summer calm has given us time to coordinate with our local partners, prepare equipment for building, plan logistics, and complete other travel preparations such as renting camping gear from the BU Outdoor Club and filling paperwork for international travel. A few weeks ago, the travel team and other members of our chapter met for a comprehensive tech-day that involved prototyping and presentations of all three of our projects.


Take Off!

The culmination to our trip has been the product of a close collaborative effort between our partners in Zambia, executive team, general members, travelers, mentors, partners in Boston, and Boston University departments – College of Engineering and CGHD. We are fortunate to have the support and opportunity to return to Naluja in order to continue our progress towards improved community health. It brings us much joy and motivation to embark on this journey as we look to accomplish our goals and set new ones for the coming academic year! Best of luck to our travel team!

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