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Engineering project sustains Tanzanian school

8:46 PM  Oct 18th, 2010
by Sara Dorn '12

When senior Steven Brophy enjoyed a cup of tea made on a stove he reconstructed for a school in Tanzania, he knew that living in slums for two months was well worth it.

Not because the tea was delicious, but because the four stoves working by the end of Brophy’s summer 2010 trip provide the school with improved technology. Brophy designed the project himself based on the engineering department’s ETHOS (Engineers for Technical Humanitarian Opportunities for Service-Learning) program. The University funded his venture.

“Firewood is super expensive and hard to find in Tanzania,” Brophy said. “By using this appropriate technology the school can sustain itself and save money. It is three times less expensive.”

Brophy repaired the system thatruns on cow manure — a resource already available to the school — and provides a gas burner for the kitchen.

“I was a little doubtful for how prepared I was,” he said. “I didn’t know too much about the system so I researched it and used my handy skills.”

While in Africa, Brophy also went on three safaris, climbed mountains, visited Zanzabar Island, and volunteered in Kenya for 10 days.

“At the end of my trip the maintenance manager at the school told me he was really glad that I was here,” Brophy said. “He was doubtful at first, so it was really good to hear him say that.”

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