What comes to your mind when you think about Sub-Saharan African Culture?
Is it food? dance? Or traditions?
Sub-Saharan Africa is a land of potential and diverse terrain. History has witnessed the emergence of great ethnic cultures. In order to complement the rich culture of African, Engineers Without Border at Boston University is working with the community of Naluja, Zambia to create engineering solutions that solve problems in their daily lives.
On 5th December 2015, EWB – BU organised an event celebrating our strengthening relationship with our community. Our aim is to develop sustainable engineering projects that cater to providing access to clean drinking water to the residents of Naluja. A lot of hard work, sweat, cooperation and perseverance goes behind this process, and it would not be possible without the help of our partners from the community. Hence, Kusekelela was a night to celebrate their culture and remind ourselves of the ever-important context behind our projects in the presence of an amazing panel, renowned keynote speaker, graceful performers and a great audience.
The panel of speakers consisted of Farnaz Farhi, an M.D. candidate who received her Masters in Global Health from Oxford; Jennifer Coates, Ph.D., a professor in Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University; Dr. Peter Rockers, ScD., an Assistant Professor at the Center for Global Health & Development and in the Department of Global Health at BU School of Public Health. Each of them is associated with global health and global technologies. Exploring their immense pool of knowledge and experiences through discussions and questions, we were able to gain and impart a great deal of understanding about large scale projects.
Our keynote speaker was Iana Aranda, Director of Programs for Engineering for Change, the former President of the Engineers Without Borders New York Professional Chapter and a Senior Program Manager of the Engineering for Global Development sector at ASME. She shared her expertise and experience in the field of developing and implementing vital technologies in developing communities all over the world, including Kenya and Cambodia. We were very fortunate to have her at this event.
The event was dazzled by amazing ethnic performances by Afrithms and Canvas. Afrithms is an African Dance troupe under BU’s African Students Organization while Canvas is a collective of accomplished musicians, travelers, and poets with the common goal of making a difference in the lives of others.
Our members and the external attendees alike got a lot of enjoyment out of the night. The food, the performances, and the speakers were all stunning, and it was clear that feeling immersed in the culture of the people that we work with served to inspire us to work even harder. “The event was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the food and all the performances,” one attendee, Hannah Levin, said, “But the best part of the evening was definitely the reminder of the fact that we fit into a bigger picture. We’re so far removed from our partner community that it’s often very easy to lose sight of them, but Kusekelela really reminded me what we were working towards.”
Every aspect of the evening played its role in making Kusekelela a memorable event. We are very grateful to our sponsors and partners in having faith in us and our work and the members of EWB-BU, especially the Fundraising team, in organizing another successful event.