Hello! I am Geoff Holmes, a recent graduate of civil engineering at the University of Dayton (UD), and a Darke County native, graduating from Greenville High School in 2006. In the fall of 2009 I joined the Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service (ETHOS) at UD, which sends small teams of three or so engineers and business majors in the summer to various countries in the world to use technologies that are appropriate for the country’s culture and technical climate. In short, you could consider them engineering humanitarian efforts, and my placement has taken me to the country of Cameroon in Africa. Here we are working to bring safe drinking water to villages surrounding the city of Kumba, working in conjunction with the Rural Development Center (RUDEC). We departed the States Monday, May 24th, and will return to the US July 31st, for a 10 week journey.
It has been a week now that I have been in Cameroon with my two colleagues, Wyatt Elbin (Senior Undergraduate) and Mark Ewalt (Graduate student), and we landed safely in the port city of Douala, Cameroon. The next morning we traveled by bus to Kumba, a three hour bus ride, and met our host organization, RUDEC, and were warmly welcomed by them. We were also greeted by some of the leaders of the village Teke. Teke wants a water distribution system in their village as well.
The next day (Thursday) was spent getting ourselves settled into our rental home. This required a trip to the market. Wyatt loves the market. He describes it as a farmer’s market, but much bigger and much crazier. From there we gathered food and supplies to get us by.
On Friday we discussed plans with RUDEC on what we would be working on. Sounds as if there are about 4-5 villages we could work on their water distribution system. As well, we looked at other projects we could work on, such as improved ventilation latrines, point of use filters, and solar cookers, among others.
Throughout the weekend there we read a lot, as there is lots of time to relax.
Monday and Tuesday we began work analyzing systems that had already been designed, and we may soon be going out into the field to perform a study of a village from scratch! It may sound nerdy, but I’m excited about this!
So far I have been terrible about using my camera, but I promise pictures to come!