June 27 2012 (Field Trip)
One of the exciting projects we have for this summer is the design of a public Restroom that has toilet and shower facility. We will be working on this project in collaboration with a local NGO that helps the elderly. We were privileged to see the elderly people that the NGO supports on our site visit. The location for the Restroom project will be around the Ledeta area in two potential sites and finally benefit elderly people that have been selected through the local administration. Not only will the restroom benefit the public and help keep the environment clean, it will also serve an income generating purpose for a group of elderly people. (Naomi)
Lunch and Learn – June 28, 2012
This week’s Lunch and Learn was unique in two ways. First, in the spirit of service and sharing (the theme of the upcoming months), the girls had generously allocated their lunch money from this week’s session toward the purchase of workbooks for 97 orphan children at the local NGO, and therefore there was no actual lunch. There was, however, plenty of learning. Second, the session was open to the community at large; in attendance were both male and female members of the student body.
“So where is the lunch?” jokingly inquired Hans Larson, our guest speaker, at the start of his presentation. An expert and advocate for electrically powered vehicles, Hans’ passion runs deep in his family wiring. In addition to the Larsons’ strong love for nature and dedication for environmentally conscientious practices, Hans’ grandfather built an electric vehicle in the ‘80s. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, Hans, in cooperation with other brilliant and like-minded partners, converted a Pontiak into an electric vehicle.
Hans’ message to us was clear: electrical vehicles are the efficient, environmentally responsible and financially savvy choice. He emphasized the relevance of the topic to the audience, as future professionals in the fields of urban planning and construction management. The main arguments he made during his presentation included the following:
- Gasoline use is causing environmental complications and the decline in different plant and animal species
- The world is undoubtedly going in the direction of electrically powered vehicles and it is better to join in sooner rather than later
- One half of Ethiopia’s foreign exchange is used to buy fuel; converting to electric vehicles would be an economically beneficial decision
The Lunch and Learn audience received Hans’ presentation with enthusiasm and curiosity, but also with some skepticism. Some of questions asked during the Q&A session pertained to cost, feasibility, and practicality for use in Ethiopia. Hans readily responded to such concerns, explaining that with adjustments to policy and an initial focus on conversion of older cards, electric vehicles can be made affordable to Ethiopians. Furthermore, he explained that given Ethiopia’s use of hydroelectricity, relatively simple adjustments to infrastructure – the construction of more solar panels, for example- would address the questions of feasibility and practicality.
Hans’ presentation offered a glimpse into the future; it shed light on a rather obscure topic, and encouraged critical and forward thinking among its audience. It is safe to say that everyone left the room thinking, even if just a little bit, outside the box. (Sara Abraham)