The Gift of Clean Water

Apr 25, 2011
The drinking water came from pits teeming with bacteria and E. coli that villagers dug themselves. The pump in the remote southwestern Tanzanian village broke and the villagers didn't have the knowledge or resources to fix it. Last summer, three Oregon Institute of Technology civil engineering students and three faculty members traveled to the village to install three new pumps, but more importantly, to teach villagers how to maintain them. "Building the social infrastructure and knowledge of how to maintain the system is probably the most important thing we did," said David Thaemert, assistant professor with OIT's civil engineering department and adviser for OIT's Engineers Without Borders. Students and faculty went to East Africa with the OIT chapter of Engineers Without Borders, an international organization whose members go to developing countries and, in part, install infrastructure that delivers clean water. For two years, OIT representatives have worked to provide clean water to Tanzanian villages near Hanga Abbey, whose monks have traveled to Klamath Falls on a mission to bring clean water to their schools, hospitals and villages. A St. Pius X Catholic Church priest, Father Ildefonce Mapara, is from the abbey. "We're improving the health, hygiene and quality of life of the abbey," Thaemert said, which includes scores of schoolchildren. "We're improving life for a whole generation of Tanzanians."
For two years, OIT representatives have worked to provide clean water to Tanzanian villages...
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