Beauty in Unexpected Places
“Alain is a recent Civil Engineering Graduate who is about to complete his 6-months apprenticeship with the company in the Studies and Design team. Often engaged on long drives with the Technical Director and Company Drivers, he shares his unique experience of finding beauty amidst the challenges of the field.”
I am civil engineer who was born and raised in Kigali city. I recently learnt about Geophysical Surveys and found my passion through them. They combine my two greatest adventurous hobbies: Travel and Work. I get to live a double dream every time a survey pops up.
The Interesting thing about Water Access Rwanda’s approach in surveying is the tools that are available for the survey. I have access to a complete surveying kit that is easy to use and troubleshoot with an exceptionally high accuracy rate.
The company has surveyed 109 locations which covered cover 250 point surveys/spreads. V.E.S (Vertical Electrical Sounding) Survey is a geophysical survey method that is used to aid in exploration of safe and water aquifers. It uses electricity to determine the resistivity of the surveyed underground soils which can then be used to predict presence of water bearing soils deep in the ground.
Let me relate to you a particular adventure. It was the beginning of June which usually is when the long dry season starts in Rwanda. On a Monday around 2 PM, the temperature was high as expected for the dry season in the Eastern Province. We had been travelling for hours on a dirt road in an area that used to be part of the Akagera Park, it was a 2-3hour drive from the main road.
After ascending and descending multiple hills and crossing multiple valleys, we encountered a river that had been diverted due unusual high rains that occurred in the rainy season. The river had overflowed the road. It was impossible to know the best part of the overflowing road to cross from without local knowledge. We thus got locals to come help us cross by directing us through the shallowest parts of the newly formed river. It was one of those exhilarating experiences one never forgets.
On another recent day, as we looked for the location of a second VES surveying point we were caught by surprise to see a canopy (suspension bridge) out there in the wild! such a blend of Architectural Engineering and natural beauty in the middle of nowhere! It was a sight to behold! who would have thought!
Even though we were not fortunate enough to find an informed local to tell us all about the history of that amazing overhanging structure, we enjoyed the thrilling experience of crossing one.
As I travel and discover such beautiful places, in the back of my head, I recall the reason of my presence there. I remember that those beautiful places don’t have access to clean water yet. I get lost in the awaiting beauty once those places find more reliable sources of water. This is what drives me to deliver beyond the expected; the potential to bring more beauty to an already beautiful place. To deliver the missing piece of the equation.
When we are on field and crossing rivers, uninhabited lands, random bridges, and other things that are new to me; other members of the team always have that cool face that says they have seen worse, better and cooler and every time I see those faces, I get drawn to surveys even more. I cannot wait to also go through such experiences.
Despite the challenging circumstances, it is exhilarating to see the meeting of beauty amidst challenges while driven by a passionate cause: providing clean water!
Whenever I am travelling and discover such beautiful places and then remember that those beautiful places don’t have access to clean water all year round, the potential of how gorgeous those places could be once they find a more reliable source of water amount to what drives me to deliver beyond the expected. Being able to deliver the missing piece of the equation is the best feeling in the whole wide world.
As the company’s apprentice in Studies and Design, I am accompanied by the team values of FAITH (Flexibility, Advocacy, Integrity, Training, and Honor). For example, It became my duty to become an advocate to that beautiful place that needed a more reliable source of water, And also while I was still there, I gave some Basic training to a local on VES data collection.