Beginnings in Banda

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We arrived in Banda on Wednesday, tired by our five and a half hour journey from Kigali in a crowded car, but excited to finally reach our home for the summer. As our car descended the final few kilometers into Banda on a road that managed to consist primarily of potholes, we finally gleaned our first glimpse of the T-shaped town of Banda that has become familiar to us only in pictures. (Note: our driver referred to the violently jostling descent in Banda as an “African massage,” perhaps using “massage” a bit too loosely.) At the end of the hill, we finally arrived in the main town square with at least a dozen children happily chasing our car.

We immediately drove to our new home, the house of Jeremiah, the medical professional in charge of the Kageno health clinic in Banda, who has housed and worked with DHE students in the past. Jeremiah is wonderful and his home is lovely. The beautiful landscapes resting just outside our windows continue to amaze us, along with the brilliant star gazing we are able to partake in after dark.

Our days in Banda have been varied. On the day we arrived, we went down to Kageno to play soccer, which attracted quite a crowd of spectators who spent most of the time laughing at our (many) whiffs. That said, our onlookers were quite smiley and friendly, and made us feel welcome in town despite our incompetence on the soccer field.

Our next day was spent visiting Nyargasigo and Kigogo, and it was great to finally see the sites in real life. While the pictures Joey had been sending had been extremely helpful, actually being at the sites allowed us to better understand what we will be doing to improve the sites and why it is necessary. We have decided to work on Kigogo first because the repairs/changes are less complex, making it an easier site to begin with. Since our first visit, we have returned to Kigogo to take more measurements and talk to site operators, as well as working on putting together the electrical system and preparing the civil upgrades from home. We’re planning to test the electrical system tomorrow and begin creating a spillway along the channel on Monday. Progress has been great so far, and we hope things continue to go smoothly.

We spent this morning carrying bags of sand up a steep hill to a construction site for a few hours, taking part in umuganda, or community work that is mandatory across Rwanda. Of course, we were shown up by people from Banda carrying massive amounts of sand, but the community was appreciative of our efforts and gave us tips on how to carry the sand most easily. After umuganda, we announced our intentions for site upgrades and surveying to the community with the help of the leader of Banda, Pascal. Pascal has been quite friendly so far, going so far as to invite us over to his house tonight when we met with him yesterday.

Perhaps what has been most memorable from our time in Banda so far is getting to know Jeremiah (our host) Pete (our contractor), and Pascal (a KIST student who is working with us this summer). Our conversations go on late into the night as we talk about everything from the culture around relationships and marriage in Rwanda, Japan, China, and the US to the Big Bang to light refraction. We’ve also been teaching each other our languages, with Pascal, Jeremiah, and Pete teaching us Kinyarwanda (Maramutse!), Shinri teaching Japanese, June teaching Chinese, and all of us travelers helping our Rwandan co-workers with their English. Yesterday, Pete returned from a trip to buy biscuits with Shinri reciting numbers in Japanese.

All of us travelers are doing well. We’ve been working hard on electricals and civils for Kigogo and planning our days to minimize the need to shut off the system or wait on parts. In addition, we’ve been practicing our Kinyarwanda and learning the art of cooking on an open fire. Other than June’s perpetual concern for one of Jeremiah’s chickens (which likes to absent itself from the yard for extended periods of time), Joey’s frustration about the lack of sushi available in Rwanda, I’d say all is well with us.

To Build a Tanuru

Building the kiln

Time to get our hands (and some pants) dirty. During our meeting with Naomie on Tuesday, she pointed out a space in the EARD-CI yard where we could construct our tanuru, our kiln for making charcoal. With EARD-CI generously providing the space for our kiln, we had only to gather the materials and our engineering minds to build it.

As mentioned in the previous post, the idea behind the kiln is to produce charcoal out of biomass which can then be press into briquettes. By first pyrolyzing biomass (heating up the biomass in the absence of oxygen) and turning it into charcoal, the remaining carbon structure of the material will burn cleaner when burned in a cook stove. But what about the detrimental effect of the emissions released from the kiln during pyrolysis? Does it matter that the biomass is being pre-burned and converted into charcoal before being used as fuel in a cook stove? There are two main reasons for making charcoal in this manner for the briquettes (besides the fact that consumers prefer charcoal briquettes). First, we have designed our kiln to allow the syngas (gasses including hydrogen, oxides, and others) produced by the burning biomass to undergo complete combustion before leaving the kiln. In other words, when making the charcoal we burn away the harmful emissions. If the biomass were burned straight in a cookstove, it could release that carbon monoxide and other gasses in the syngas into the space where the cook is breathing. Secondly, biomass in the form of charcoal is much more energy dense than un-carbonized biomass making it a more appealing form for cooks who want to spend less time tending their fire.

The science is great in theory but our goal is to make it great in practice. Wednesday was the day to begin hunting and gathering our materials to construct our tanuru and as luck would have it (and good planning by us) Wednesday was also market day in Tengeru. We wandered through entire streets over crowded with tables and blankets filled with shoes, rows of mboga (vegetables) and dried beans, and interspersed throughout everything were tables overflowing with various buckets and cooking supplies. While Emily and I ventured to purchase vegetables using our limited knowledge of Kiswahili to varying degrees of success, Tucker and James searched for supplies for the technical side of cooking. Back at the house, the girls got to work cooking our first home cooked dinner of the summer including all manner of fresh veggies. As the food was just about done, James and Tucker returned from their visit to a brick maker with Naomie where they picked out a load of bricks to be purchased the following day.

Back at EARD-CI on Thursday, Naomie directed us to a hardware shop just down the road which supplied us with all the fun toys with which to build our kiln: tiles, a shovel, and one of those triangular spreader tools (now that was a tricky tool to explain through the language barrier). Then, with a delivery of 300 bricks, we were itching to get building.

Thursday afternoon was beautifully sunny and perfect for mixing mortar (also called mud) with our fingers, smearing that mud over bricks and our clothing, and building our kiln up, up, up. Five hours, many pictures, and several wheel barrows of dirt later we had a kiln. We’re very proud of it.

The kiln is designed with three main areas: the kiln body, the chimney, and the combustion tunnel. Biomass will be pyrolized in the kiln body and any gasses which are released during pyrolysis will be drawn into the combustion tunnel and up through the chimney. Secondary air from the front of the combustion tunnel will mix with the released syngas and ideally undergo complete combustion (or as close to as possible) in the chimney. Basically fire and biomass will go in and charcoal (hopefully) will come out. Or alternatively, as Naomie pointed out, fire and dough could go in and homemade bread could come out. Another very tempting option we should look into.

Again, this is the scientific theory, and we have these next few weeks to attempt to make it reality. With a newly constructed kiln, several bags of biomass composting in the yard, a hammer press in commission, reports being written, new friends to play football and Frisbee with, and an entire house to call our home for the next two months, I will say that this has been a productive and satisfying first week in Arusha. Baadaye! Until later!

We’re Finally Here! But First, Our Path to Banda…

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Muraho! Hello!

I’m Shinri Kamei, a ’16 and a prospective electrical engineer from Japan. I’m a part of hydro’s travel team to Rwanda this summer, along with Joey Anthony ’12, June Shangguan ’13, Max Sloan ’13, Alison Polton-Simon ’14, and Sophie Sheeline ’16.

We’ve been in Rwanda for almost a week now, and we’re currently in Banda, where we’ll be spending most of our summer. In 2008, DHE’s hydro team set up two hydropower sites at waterfalls each about a thirty minute walk away from the village. Most villagers use car batteries as their source of electricity, and these can be carried to the sites and recharged. Previously, the only source of electricity had been a micro grid, six hours away by foot.

The path to the hydro sites is like a scenic hiking trail, and after finally meeting our local partners, I know that the next two months will be amazing. Our house is pitch black at night, and a small battery, charged by one of the hydropower sites, lights up the kitchen that we cook dinner in. I learned to say 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 in Kinyarwanda, the native language, and our contractor and foreman, Pete, now knows the same in Japanese. Our toilet, a hole in the ground more than thirty feet deep, feels charming, and the freezing shower is refreshing. The next two months will be amazing.

But our trip didn’t start a week ago when we got on our plane at JFK. Let me step back and walk you through what we’ve been up to.

In the two weeks between Dartmouth graduation and our departure to Rwanda, they hydro team split up into sections. June, Max, Alison, and I stayed on campus and spent upwards of fifteen hours a day in Thayer, working through an electrical intensive with Prof. Charles Sullivan, one of DHE’s advisors. We got a chance to thoroughly test and understand the electrical system implemented by previous trips and identified its limitations. We spent so much time together that we all shared the same cold. We huddled in Thayer’s otherwise deserted Advanced Design Laboratory with tea, honey, and popcorn. We somehow made it out alive.

 

June led the charge on the intensive. She’s a computer engineer that just graduated from Dartmouth with her B.E. and is headed to Michigan in the fall for a Master’s in engineering. Prior to the intensive, she’d been the only one in the group with electrical expertise in the system. She quickly caught us up to speed and started presenting us with different design diagrams. Our questions would lead to changes in the design, and once we had our new design for the day, she’d respond with her trademark “good,” complete with the extended o-sound. The next day, we’d present our design to Sullivan, and his critique would inform further alterations.

Max is the other ’13 on the team. Being a mechanical engineer, electricals were completely new to him, but by the end of the two weeks, he could answer any of my questions about dump load sizing, charge control, and anything else I was unclear on.

Alison, a ’14, is a NYC native and the past year’s DHE president. She spent her spring term away at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and returned at the beginning of summer for our electrical intensive. Alison is a fiercely organized computer engineer and is a lover of lists and Greek yogurt. During those two weeks, she juggled communication with Joey, who was already in Rwanda, documentation, finances, logistics, and of course, electricals, with a sage-like wisdom.

At the end of the two weeks, June, Max, Alison, and I finally came up with a new system design that we were happy with.

 

A lot of our work was defined by Joey’s work in Rwanda, which was going on at the same time. Joey, a member of the 11X travel team had worked in Banda two years ago, and was project leader of hydro in the terms that followed. The Monday that our intensive officially started, he got on a plane from Tokyo and departed for Rwanda alone. In Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, he hired a contractor and interpreter. Upon arriving in Banda a few days later, he visited the sites we’d been working at and discovered that not only had storage batteries, crucial buffers for the system voltage, had been removed from both sites, and one site had zero circuit breakers.

These situations made sense. The storage battery could be sold for profit to new customers. Circuit breakers, if designed to trip at low current levels, made the system safer but could be a nuisance. These current levels were higher than those expected during normal operation, small but harmless spikes could trip the breakers and cut the circuit. They could also break on their own and were difficult for the villagers to replace.

These revelations informed our design of the system, and we were able to come to Banda better prepared.

Meanwhile, Sophie Sheeline ’16 prepared material for Impact Analysis from California. An engineering major with a focus on applying engineering to global health and development, Sophie had been working all term on preparing surveys and surveying methods for the summer, so that DHE can better understand the impacts of our sites on the people in Banda, and how we can make our impact bigger and more positive in the future. In the weeks leading up to our departure for Rwanda, Sophie finalized survey documents and plans with the help of previous travelers and Peace Corps volunteers that spent their last two years in Banda.

Thank you so much to everyone, both inside and outside DHE, that helped us along the way. We’ll make you proud!

Our New Home in Arusha

A monkey!
A monkey!

Our love for the wonderful city of Dar es Salaam has been rivaled by the beautiful views, fresh air, and rural landscape of the Arusha region. We are staying about a twenty minute drive from the Arusha center in the town Leganga, and have been enjoying our new home since our arrival on Saturday. After playing in a soccer game with town locals, eating our favorite lunch at a local restaurant (Chips Mayai, aka French Fry omelets) and seeing some wild monkeys, we feel that Leganga has offered us a warm welcome. And our initial concerns of the small size of Leganga were eased when we learned of the slightly larger town further down the road: Usa. After a ten minute walk along a road bustling with Dala-dalas, motorcycles, and huge trucks, we ventured through Usa’s streets that are lined with shops and street venders selling everything from yard rakes to cooking oil. We were easily able to bargain for and purchase the materials needed to begin our test briquetting operation. Some of our exciting purchases included a small charcoal stove, a rake for collecting grass, and aluminum cooking pots.

Part of our workspace at EARD-CI.
Part of our workspace at EARD-CI.

This summer, the team will be continuing our partnership with the Enterprise and Rural Development Community Initiatives (EARD-CI). And as a bit of background, EARD-CI is an organization based out of Arusha that has establish small community banks (called VICOBAs) with the purpose of improving the financial stability and health of rural families, as well as improving environmental conservation. EARD-CI generously allows us to meet with the VICOBA groups about the briquetting techniques. On Monday, we had a great meeting with Edith Benzi, the director of EARD-CI. We enjoyed learning about EARD-CI’s work and we also confirmed our ability to use EARD-CI’s yard as a work space. Edith also gave us the contact information for a person in Arusha who has been working to produce charcoal briquettes. Considering that this person’s work is very similar to our initiative this summer, we are very excited to contact this person and learn more about what she has been working on. Edith also offered us an EARD-CI house to rent for the summer, and this house is conveniently located across the street from EARD-CI. Today we moved into our wonderful home and we are already enjoying the comfortable setting.

A charcoal cooking stove.
A charcoal cooking stove.

In addition to meeting with Edith, we also had an informative meeting on Tuesday with Naomie, the Loan Officer for EARD-CI. Naomie has been an awesome person to work with and is very willing to help us out. From Naomie, the team gained some valuable information: that people greatly prefer charcoal briquettes over non-charcoal briquettes. This information— along with our previous understanding that charcoal briquettes have a higher energy density and burn cleaner— has led us to prioritize developing a charcoal kiln that can be used to carbonize biomass. Naomie also requested that before meeting with the VICOBA groups, we demonstrate a successful briquette cooked meal; so our current plan is to spend the next two weeks creating and testing charcoal briquettes. And to hasten the briquette making process, we plan to use cassava flour— which has naturally sticky fibers and requires no decomposition period— as a briquette ingredient.

The team has also been refining our plan for reporting and has decided to compile a collection of guides and reports. The guides are meant to be resources for DHE’s future work, with the intent that they will be updated continuously by both on-campus Bioenergy groups and travel teams in the future. The guides will have corresponding reports for this Summer 13X trip.

We eagerly await these next several days, and look forward to checking in again with you soon!

 

Swahili classes and culture

[Written by Emily Li]

Habari za maisha? Greetings from the bioenergy travel team. We have been in Dar Es Salaam for the past week, and just got to Arusha this afternoon. During the week, we studied Swahili in the morning with two teachers Mama Saada and Godfrey Allen, set up by the Dickey Center. Swahili is a really interesting language to learn because it contains vocabularies from many different origins, Bantu, Arabic, English, etc. We learned the greetings, basic verbs, four different tenses, and pretty much enough to get by (we thought). Then on Wednesday, Mama Saada assigned us to talk to Tanzanians in Swahili and ask lots of questions. I talked with our favorite cab driver, Mbaraka, and he was very eager to teach me how to say everything. I asked him a pre-prescribed list of questions, but I soon realized I didn’t understand any of Mbaraka answers. In class on Thursday, we had a lot of fun learning about the market, pretending to buy and sell vegetables, and bargaining. Then on Friday, Mama Saada and Godfrey Allen took us to Kariakoo market by the dala-dala (minibus which is the preferred local method of transportation) so we could put our Swahili to the test. The ceiling of the dala-dala was so low that Tucker, our tallest group member and the only one not to get a seat, could not even stand straight. Kariakoo is the major market where the locals shop for foods, utensils, clothes, and everything else. The market area includes the main building, which is a gigantic structure with three levels, and extends to a dozen more blocks in the neighborhood. We practiced our Swahili bargaining with the shop owners. My favorite phrase is ghali sana which means “too expensive.” Rachel and I got some fabrics with printed patterns whereas James bargained for a multipurpose knife that does both peeling and cutting! We were sad that the Swahili classes ended, but I think we have a good foundation to continue our learning.

Now you wonder what have we been working on for DHE? Well, we find learning opportunities and insights everywhere we go. The city of Dar Es Salaam always bustles with life day and night, especially in Kariakoo, the area where we stayed. We had fun observing the street food vendors using their charcoal stoves and definitely took notice of the huge bags of charcoal that are sold. In fact, right next to our hotel is a yard where bags of charcoal are stored.

On Thursday, we visited Dr Rajabu of the University of Dar Es Salaam. He is a professor of mechanical engineering who specifically work on rural bioenergy, and have been an amazing advisor for DHE bioenergy for years. The university feels very different from Dartmouth. The engineering school has its own fence and checkpoints surrounding it. We met Dr Rajabu in their machine shop during a power outage, so all the professors are just hanging around. As a demonstration, Dr Rajabu lit a small, gasifier cook-stove for us. The stove uses small, jatropha seeds pellets, of the same shape and size as broken bits of number 2 pencils, as fuel. What is cool about this stove is that flame comes out in a vortex and rises up through the holes along the wall.Within ten minutes, it produces a flame high enough to start cooking. If you take off the top part of the stove, you have a simmering charcoal stove. Next, Dr Rajabu showed us the place where engineering students develop prototypes for small business. One such prototype was an industrial sized gasifier stove unit that could be used for schools and hospitals. We also saw briquettes made by an organization called ARTI in Dar Es Salaam. The organization uses the same principle as DHE to produce its briquettes—first pyrolyzing biomass into charcoal and then using that product to produce charcoal briquettes. We then turned to dinner with Dr. Rajabu where we talked about both bioenergy and non-bioenergy related topics. We talked briefly about impact analysis and how to conduct surveys as well as heard his insights on the culture and how people tend to behave in front of interviewers. Sometimes, people say things they think the interviewers want to hear because they are used to getting free stuff from the research and really want to impress. When we asked Dr Rajabu what is the best way to approach this, he says observation is very important but also added that, “I am only an engineer.” With the experience he had in the field, he was probably just being humble.

Our week in Dar Es Salaam had not been all work though. With four other Dartmouth students, we had time to explore the city. On Tuesday, we went to Coco Beach where the local people like to hang out. We definitely stood out a lot on the beach. Vendors keep coming up to us trying to sell their products. None of us ventured out to the ocean to swim, instead we spent some peaceful time lying on the beach. Friday afternoon, we took a “ferry” (actually just a little boat) out to Bongoyo Island, about thirty minutes from the Slipway. During the ride, we saw locals in canoes pulling in what we thought was a fishing net. The beach on Bongoyo Island is very different from Coco Beach; it was quite quiet and definitely touristy. We swam in the warm Indian Ocean, and later passed the afternoon napping under a huge straw umbrella. We finished our week in Dar with a beautiful sunset dinner at the Slipway and said goodbye to our Dartmouth friends. And now we’re off to our next adventure in Arusha!

The group

Safe Travels and Good Times

I am excited to report here that  my three travel companions and I are all safe and well in Dar es Salaam. In fact, we’ve been safe and sound here since Saturday. But before I get into where we are now, and explain why our feet and stomachs ache, the former from walking and the latter from eating, allow me to jump back a bit.  The four of us met on June 13th, a Thursday, at JFK in New York City for our 11 PM flight out of the country. After sorting out some database issues with Rachel’s tickets (we had quite a complicated route to Dar and Royal Dutch/Kenya Airlines was struggling), Tucker, Rachel and I were able to make it past security to meet Emily who had been waiting for us after her previous flight down from Toronto. And with that, we soon were in the air headed to Amsterdam.

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When we arrived to Holland, the local time was about noon, and though we struggled for quite some time to actually get some euros and though we managed to get the wrong train out of the station, we were determined not to spend our 7 hour layover in the airport, and we did eventually make it into the city. And what a city Amsterdam is, filled with young spirits and old stories that are both in the conversations of the pedestrians as well as the buildings and canals that they occupy. We were able to enjoy a little bit of a rest in one of the less busy parts of town.

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After Amsterdam, we were off to Nairobi for a quick layover, with our flights finally ending in Dar es Salaam in the mid-morning of last Saturday. After an hour long cab ride through the busy streets that get overflowed with people, we spotted several shops selling cooking fuel and bikes piled high with bags of charcoal. Our driver, Bakadi, told us that the forests were disappearing, and though more people are beginning to use gas to cook in Dar, charcoal and fuelwood remain entrenched in the markets and the kitchens across Tanzania.

We are spending a week in Juba Hotel, a relatively new hostel in apparently a sketchy part of the city. Dr. Rajabu from the University of Dar’s Energy Engineering department warned us that we needed to be careful as people in the area “have lots of tricks.” Though I’ve already been to Tanzania before and have had some time in Dar, I am no expert. It was great having most of Saturday and all of Sunday to walk around the city, get acquainted with the markets, fill our wallets with Tanzania shillings, and even meet up with Anna Bladey and Liliana Ma, both Dartmouth ’14s (juniors for you folks who don’t have the granite of New Hampshire in your veins) who are volunteering at a health clinic and conducting research related to HIV respectively.

On Monday (today!), we had to get up bright and early to make it up to the northern part of the city where our Swahili classes are being held. There we met Sarah Fernandez and Pallavi Kuppa-Apte, also 14’s, who are volunteering with the Jane Goodall Institute out in Kigoma. They had only landed a few hours earlier. I am incredibly impressed by their stamina and good spirits. We are incredibly lucky to have the Dickey Center of Dartmouth College arrange Swahili lessons during our week here. Our instructors, Mama Sada and Godfrey, offer wonderful guidance and a smile at every turn.

After the class we headed out for lunch, enjoyed the breezes of the Indian Ocean and looked around some craft markets. We then headed out to the Kivukoni fish market, filled with auction goers, shell salesmen, large spiders in trees, motor driven wooden boats and a lot of wet concrete.

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After the market, we had a nice leisurely walk back to the city center. We got our cell phones set up, hung out in a bar sipping water and avoiding the heat for a while, and then headed to an amazing Chinese restaurant. With our stomachs filled and our feet tired, we parted ways with our non-DHE peers who are staying in the Safari Inn. And it is in this state, a bit under the weather with a cold, that I write to you about the beginning of our summer.

Meet the Travelers

After a year of working with briquettes, pyrolysis, and all things fuel, the DHE bioenergy project is getting ready to fly to Tanzania for the summer! In Tanzania we will be continuing our work with briquetting and biochar production through our work with several NGOs and local communities. We hope to facilitate an exchanging of information, between DHE and local producers and consumers of cooking fuel in Tanzania, about fuel production. We hope to share what we know about briquette production as we learn what other groups know about briquetting operations. Additionally, we hope to measure the impact of our work with cooking fuel for this summer and into future trips as well as measure the impact of our past work with rocket stoves in the Arusha region of Tanzania.

In this blog, we will document our work progress, our excursions, and the interesting people and places we meet and find along the way! The four of us are very excited for a summer in Tanzania!

Anna and Emily using the briquette press to produce briquettes

 

James KennedyJames

James, a chemical engineering major from the quaint city of New York, has always loved building things with his hands. He became excited by DHE’s work as soon as he learned of the organization and during his freshman summer traveled to Tanzania to work on alternative-fuel stove designs. Since then he has devoted large part of his mental capacity to DHE, spearheading the introduction of the Bioenergy Project. He is passionate about energy inequality, sustainable agriculture, climate change and environmental psychology. The fact that he is flying out of the country in a week still feels surreal, but he anticipates an amazing summer filled with good work and good people. Besides DHE he is a proud member of the ultimate team the Disco Trolls and loves making food and music with his friends.

 

Emily

Emily Li

Emily is a rising senior (class of 2014) double majoring in biomedical engineering and history, and has been involved in DHE since sophomore year. She hails from Beijing and now lives in Toronto. On campus, Emily is involved with cultural groups and various service projects in the Upper Valley region. She has always wanted to travel with DHE because she is passionate about developing technologies for resource-poor regions, believing that affordable technologies should be accessible to everyone. In the spring of 2013, Emily interned at Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, honing her skills communicating and surveying people from different cultures and who speak different languages. She is looking forward to bringing her skills to the impact analysis and education aspects of the trip.  In general, Emily is very excited about the potential of the briquetting technology and the opportunity to be immersing in Tanzanian culture. She loves reading, being outdoors, and is always up for an adventure.

 

RachelRachel Margolese

Rachel is a first-year student interested in studying engineering and environmental studies. She came to Dartmouth passionate about energy and sustainable solutions for our world-wide need for energy. With DHE, she has loved working on such basic energy solutions as briquetting and hydropower with other students. Rachel is now very excited to have the opportunity to travel to Tanzania and share that knowledge with others. With DHE, she hopes to understand how engineering technologies can be applied at the local level. Besides that, she is looking forward to meeting and interacting with local Tanzanians. In her free time, Rachel loves to be outside hiking and rock climbing with the Dartmouth Outing Club or slacklining with friends around campus.

 

TuckerTucker Oddleifson

Tucker is a ’16 (first-year) from Massachusetts and is considering studying a combination of engineering and pre-health, but is also exploring the social sciences. He enjoys running, playing soccer, biking, and spending time with friends outdoors. Tucker believes DHE is a perfect unity between humanitarian work, applied engineering skills, and creative problem solving based on a dynamic, human-centered design. He specifically joined the bioenergy initiative because he sees a great opportunity for individual, community, and environmental impact in Tanzania. Tucker will be managing the team’s finances and will also be overseeing the team’s medical preparedness. Tucker is looking forward to the next 11 weeks with the team and is excited for the challenges ahead.