Five minutes with Linnea Lundberg and Oskar Thorstensson …
MSc students who are going to Tanzania this summer to help install electricity in a boarding school for girls.
Why are you doing this voluntary work instead of staying home and getting a summer job?
“This is a chance we really want to take. Sure it’s nice to look at your bank account and see it growing but there are other, more important things.”
“We will be living in a village in Northwest Tanzania. We will be close to the people and get to learn lots about a different culture, and that feels like a very useful thing to do.”
“And it’s a good summer job that's related to our studies. We learn the theory here at the university, and now we are doing the practical side. We’ll learn a lot about electricity and renewable energy, for example.”
How did you end up involved in this project?
“We are members of Engineers Without Borders-Sweden (EWB-Sweden). It’s a voluntary organisation operating in Sweden, including here at LiU, and in other parts of the world. We work to spread knowledge on what engineers and scientists can do to work for socially and environmentally sustainable development.”
“It’s an exciting organisation. Everyone‘s heard of Doctors Without Borders who use their skills to help out around the world in different ways. EWB-Sweden wants to work in a similar way – both with projects here at home, for example with homework help in Ryd and Lambohov, and with projects in Tanzania. In the past the organisation has also worked in Bolivia, and now there is a project in Ghana.”
You’ll be working on the construction of a girls’ boarding school in Tanzania. What, in concrete terms, are you going to do?
“We are going to work together with a Tanzanian organisation and help to install lighting in a boarding school for girls and in teachers’ accommodations being built in connection with a school. It’s a question of things like putting cables in walls, screwing in wall sockets and installing fuse boxes. The electrical power comes partly from solar cells.”
When are you going?
“9 June. We’ll be there for seven weeks.”
How are the journey and the project being financed?
“Over the years the organisation itself has had a number of events, auctions and sales. EWB-Sweden also receives gifts from private individuals and we also have companies sponsoring us. And we have received some grants. That will be enough for our flights and upkeep there, plus material costs.”
Apart from the work you will be doing there, what do you think the strongest experiences will be for you?
“Just things like taking the bus with the locals, and chickens and goats will be an experience. We know we will be making a 12 hour bus journey on poor roads when we have to collect material for the school. We might get to take a boat trip over lake Victoria, too. But everything will be an experience. It feels like something big, exciting.”
Will you be keeping a blog?
“Of course, from 10 June when we arrive, if not before then.”
Read their blog (in Swedish)
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Last updated: 2017-02-13