When I first arrived in Dorma, the first thing that struck me was its incredible beauty. Mountains surrounded me in the distance while lush greenery extends as far as the eye can see. Yet this beauty is marred by a population that survives on less than a dollar per person per day and struggles to meet its basic needs such as drinking water. The issue of drinking water in Dorma and its surrounding areas is very serious because for almost six months out of the year when the wells run dry.
From walking through Dorma Village for the past week to conduct interviews and collect technical data, one thing has become clear: it is impossible for us to blend in. No matter where I go, a small band of children is there to follow me. At the Wellbody guest house where we live, the neighboring children are constant fixtures in our daily lives. They chat and play cards on the deck for hours, squish their faces in the windows during our meetings, and peer into the open doorways for a glimpse of the Wellbody staff and EWB team living inside.
Kono is the first place I’ve ever returned to. Most of my other international experiences have been through Princeton-sponsored summer trips, so the opportunities for return visits are pretty slim. I spent twelve weeks here last year, working first as a research intern for Wellbody Alliance, our NGO partner, and then with last year’s Pre-Assessment team.
“I need to search your bag”. I gave the man demanding to see my bag a confused groggy glare. It was four in the morning, in the poorly lit, small airport of Sierra Leone’s capital city Freetown. I had already passed through customs and had my bag scanned, so this new demand left me rather bewildered. I relented and placed my bag down as Mr. Fofanah, our Sierra Leonean mentor, walked up and demanded to know what was going on. The “security guard”, surprised to see the local gravitas possessed by my newfound friend, immediately declared my bags passable and wished me a happy stay.
Hey, my name is Ben and I am a rising junior from West Windsor, NJ, majoring in chemistry and pursuing a certificate in teacher preparation. Since my freshman year, I have been a part of Princeton EWB's Sierra Leone team, specializing in the technical aspects of the project. Currently, I serve as one of the team's two project managers and I will be one of the four students who will be traveling to Sierra Leone on our official assessment trip.
Hello! My name is Tyler Rudolph and I am a rising sophomore from the gorgeous city of Fort Collins, CO. I am currently a Operations Research and Financial Engineer, but I have been very interested in development and aid work since high school. Before beginning my freshman year, I had the good fortune to participate in Princeton’s Bridge Year Program. On this program I went to India, where for a year I was able to more intimately explore what it meant to live and work in a developing country. I came back with a deeper respect for the challenges and opportunities present in development work.
Hey there! My name is Stephanie Teeple, and I'm a rising senior from the beautiful mountains of south-western Virginia. I am the Vice President of Development for the Princeton EWB chapter, and I've been a member of the Sierra Leone team since my freshman year. This summer I'm excited to travel for the second time with EWB to Sierra Leone for our project's Assessment trip.
Hey y’all! My name is Frances Lu, and I’m the head of the Grants Subteam for the Sierra Leone Project. A little bit about me: I’m a rising sophomore in BSE and just declared Operations Research and Financial Engineering. As the math nerd who always loved statistics, this seemed to just about fit. Coming from the beach town of Wilmington, North Carolina, you’ll find me taking photos, swimming in the ocean, and watching movies in my spare time.
I am a Principal Engineer with over 14 years of water resources engineering experience. I currently work for the Louis Berger Group (LBG) where I have been employed since 2001. Before joining LBG, I worked as a Regional Manager/Engineer for the Sierra Leone Water Company in Sierra Leone which is my country of birth. I received my B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Sierra Leone in 1996 and my M.S. in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2000. I am a registered Professional Engineer in the states of NJ, NY, CT and DE.
We leave this morning for three weeks of malaria pills, bumpy crowded bus rides, and raucous adventure. We are doing what is called in EWB jargon is called an “Assessment trip”, what this means is that we have a partner community chosen and a rough idea of how we think we can help, but we still need to do a comprehensive survey of things ranging from community dynamics to physical topography before we actually can begin working.