November 8, 2016 / BY

Stories from EWH’s Summer Engineering Interns

This summer, Tensentric sponsored 13 engineering students who participated in Engineering World Health’s (EWH) Summer Institute. They headed out for their summers in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Nepal, where they lived with host families and experienced a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. EWH has sent 700 students to third world countries since 2004. While there, they fixed 6,500 pieces of equipment, worth an estimated $13 million, getting the devices back to saving lives. The following article is a glimpse into the students summer through pictures and their update letters.

Engineering World Health students spent the first month as a group attending engineering lectures and lab classes specifically about medical device repair. In addition, conversational Swahili, Kinyarwanda, or Nepali language classes helped the students communicate with the locals, host families and hospital staff. Tanzania students also met and worked with students from local St Jude’s school. One student summed it up for many saying: “Before this program I would have been afraid to open any device without knowing exactly what to expect.” Another reported, “The professors were huge resources…I will stay in contact with for years to come.”

Once a week field trips to hospitals put the classwork into action, and allowed them a glimpse into what the next month on their own, at a specific hospital, would bring. One student claimed this as her favorite activity where they “could observe the challenges that hinder the use of the medical equipment”. From Tengeru Hospital in Tanzania to CHUK, Kabagamba and Muhima Hospitals in Rawanda, the students helped repair equipment and learned to communicate and assist without disrupting and judging in the hospital environment.

In addition to the classes and hospital field trips, EWH students used weekends off to explore the country they lived in and strengthen relationships with host families and the locals. Students used their new language skills in restaurants, markets and on public transportation. Some exciting side trips included natural areas like Mount Bisoke and Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda and Arusha National Park in Tanzania; and cities such as Kampala and Kigali in Rwanda. Not a minute of their time was wasted on this trip!

Students live with local host families which helps them get a feel for living in their host country. Whether staying with a newly married couple or a family, students mentioned they treasure memories of their hosts. “No dresser, but my homestay mom’s cooking was amazing and I miss it!” “My hosts showed me around and invited me to their church.” “The kids were lovely and always brought a smile to my face.” We taught the 1-year-old to walk, and I feel honored to be a part of this family’s memories.” It wasn’t all easy, but success and satisfaction were not hindered by dealing with stray dogs and crazy traffic, no toilet seat and cold water showers

A sincere thank you goes out from EWH and Tensentric to our interns who gave up their summer to help others and make a difference in the world while enhancing their own education.

Savannah Bryce – Rwanda
Luke Drnach – Tanzania
Line Sofie Hald – Tanzania
Adelina Ramirez – Rwanda
Jade Olaoye – Rwanda
Anastasia Ray – Rwanda/Congo
Brian Matovu – Rwanda
Jeff Chininis – Rwanda
Cecilia Klitgaard Jorgensen – Tanzania
Os Nakayama – Tanzania
Faiaz Kabir – Tanzania
Breanna Brocklesby – Rwanda
Laxman Bhusal – Nepal