Engineers Without Borders, Orange County Completes Kenya Bridge Project

EWB-OC, which began their Footbridge Project to connect the Segera Mission Clinic with the village of Endana, in the Lakipia District of Kenya in July, completed construction on October 28, 2010, eleven weeks after they began.
By: Debra Kennard
Dec. 4, 2010 - PRLog -- IRVINE, CA - Engineers Without Borders Orange County (EWB-OC) finished construction of a much needed bridge between the only medical facility for 18 miles and several communities and schools in the community of Endana, located at the base of Mount Kenya in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya, Africa.  EWB-OC is a chapter of EWB-USA and is located in Southern California. The engineering team from the southland group planned three construction trips about a month apart and completed the footbridge in just 15 weeks.

Clay Stevens, CEG and Project Lead for the project that started construction on July 19, 2010, noted, “I learned a tremendous amount about the people in rural East Africa and the people here in the US while leading this project. Despite the vast differences, we are so much alike in so many ways, and all politics truly is local no matter where you are in the world.”  Tim Muli, PE, who was on the first team with Stevens, said "I was humbled to be part of the Footbridge team. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. Thanks to EWB-USA for the opportunity to participate in giving hope to the hopeless. This small footbridge project will be a blessing to the community for many generations. I was honored to share my life experiences with the school kids...they really blessed my heart in seeing how hopeful they are despite scant resources."  The team was concerned about the rains hampering the efforts during their construction which included purchase and transportation of foundation construction materials as well as site and excavation work for the bridge towers and anchorages though very hard volcanic rock.

In September, Sean Callan, PE and Technical Lead, together with Mujahid Chandoo, PE, left for Kenya where their responsibility was to construct the towers and anchorages for the bridge cables.   "It was an amazing project to work on, very fulfilling.  I work on many large endeavors but this small footbridge means so much to so many; it's heartwarming to be a part of it."  That was the sentiment of Callan for the planning and building the Endana Footbridge project.  Chandoo notes, "The access that the footbridge gives to the many schools on both sides of the river will change lives and the villagers participating in its construction and maintenance will also motivate the people to do more for their community."

At the end of October, the final team, Matt Lipa, PE, and Daniel Ramey, completed the remaining tasks of placing and anchoring the cables, installing the wood decking and safety fencing, and assisting the local villagers in building the bridge approaches.   Involved in the structural calculations and detailing, Lipa commented, "The most rewarding part was having the locals thank him and EWB as they crossed the completed bridge.”   He was told this bridge will not only help lives, but also save them.  Ramey said, "It was a truly invigorating and humbling experience to travel to Kenya to work with the dedicated members of the local community.  I really enjoyed interacting with the community members on a personal level to complete a footbridge that will provide long lasting benefits."

This project is the first of a 5-year commitment to the rural communities in the Lakipia District of Kenya, Africa.  The next project, currently in the planning stages, will be a water project exploring water wells and providing or improving sanitation.  Puja Ruparel, EWB-OC chapter president stated, "The project was a great opportunity to show the people of Endana our commitment to improve their way of life and we are excited to be planning another project in that area."

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About EWB-OC: EWB-OC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in disadvantaged countries worldwide. A collaboration of engineers, researchers, students, and professionals from every walk of life, we work hand-in-hand with developing communities to implement sustainable engineering projects. EWB-OC welcomes engineers and non-engineers in all fields to help us in our mission. To find out more, visit the website at, Kenya Footbridge Project.
Source:Debra Kennard
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Tags:Africa, Kenya, Bridge, Suspended Bridge, Education, Schools, Clinic, Medical, Networking, Orange County
Industry:Construction, Education, Non-profit
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Page Updated Last on: Dec 12, 2010

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