Blouin Global Scholars Study Clean, Reliable Water Sources in Tanzania

By Nicole Bevilacqua, Blouin Global Scholars '21, Walsh University Marketing Intern

During winter break, the sophomore cohort of the Blouin Global Scholars and their faculty director Associate Dean of Experiential Learning Rachel Hosler traveled to Moshi, Tanzania, for two weeks to study water and examine its effect on individuals around the world. While at Walsh, as well as abroad, the sophomores have been studying the challenges and innovative solutions to securing clean and adequate clean water for communities.  Faculty leaders Beth Johnson and Dr. Peter Tandler accompanied the group as they traveled throughout the Diocese of Moshi to gain a better understanding of throughout the Diocese, the community of Moshi and other NGO’s address water challenges.

The Walsh team visited multiple sites in Tanzania to learn about the challenges that come with access to water, including St. James Seminary where the Blouins learned that access to water is not always a guarantee. While the school previously had its own access to a water infrastructure, it was completely destroyed by a landslide. This meant that the St. James students had to walk to a nearby river in order to complete daily tasks. This endangered students due to the occasional flooding of the river.  Since the landslide, the leaders of St. James have worked to create several water sources to avoid endangering students for a basic human need.     

Sophomore Anastasia Bair explained how the Scholars witnessed the Tanzanian people’s struggle to get continuous access to water. 

“One of the big challenges we saw was that the sites may have access to water only twice a week,” said Bair. “This presents the problem of obtaining enough water to sustain the facility until the next time the water is available.” 

During another site visit, the group traveled to Hedaru, Tanzania, to visit Mwenge University where they spoke with university leadership regarding the university’s history, challenges and their plans for the future. The university is working on building a satellite campus, which the community hopes will address their infrastructure challenges and provide economic development. With those improvements in infrastructure and economic development, the community is hopeful that access to water and other basic needs will be resolved.  

For student Brielle Therrien the experience was refreshing and inspiring. 

“Tanzania is a country that is persistently seeking to improve and engineer new solutions to their problems,” said Therrien. “I saw this in their new water projects and motivation to improve existing systems. It is visible the positive impact the Catholic Church has had on the Moshi and Kilimanjaro area.”

During every site visit, the Scholars were open-minded as well as actively engaged in every interaction. 

“One of hosts told me that he was so impressed by how intently our student’s listened, how open they were to learn the culture,” said Hosler. 

The students, like many Blouin Scholars in the past, have expressed how they will carry this experience with them for the rest of their lives. 

“Overall, it was an incredible educational experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life,” said Therrien.  “My time Tanzania will forever impact my view of the world and the people in it.”