UBC Engineering student helps design a world of hope

UBC fourth-year mechanical engineering student Nicholas Dunning recently returned from an Engineering Co-op work term in Mlandizi, Tanzania. Dunning travelled to Tanzania with a team of architects and engineers from across North America – and were joined by a local Tanzanian architecture intern – all who volunteered their time with Engineering Ministries International (eMi) to design a permanent facility for the Upendo Orphanage, which currently houses 24 children  ages 9 - 19.

The volunteers developed concepts for the relocation and expansion of the orphanage and provided site layout options to the Lower Mainland-based Global Aid Network (GAiN) representatives who oversee the project. As part of the team, Dunning was able to use his technical skills: “While on site I dug holes and performed soil tests for soil type and percolation levels, performed preliminary elevation surveying, was a pole man for the surveyor, researched local methods for waste and water treatment and distribution as well as construction methods, and measured and drew up the layout of the existing orphanage.”

For Dunning, the trip to Tanzania is part of his co-op work term with Engineering Ministries International in Calgary. Says Dunning: “I choose to intern with eMi for two reasons: one was to serve and the other to learn. I have felt really blessed in that I’m able to go to school and be trained in engineering at one of the best schools in Canada. I want to use what I’m learning to bless others in return. Secondly, our world is large and diverse, through working with eMi, I have seen and learned about different cultures and ways of life. In that way, I hope to learn more about my own culture and better evaluate future decisions I make."

During his internship, Dunning will finish up design work for the Upendo Orphanage as the team continues to work on more detailed elements of the design. The final report will be sent to the Global Aid Network in the coming months, and will be used by the organization for both fundraising and construction.  GAiN hopes to build the Upendo Orphanage in the coming year.