Geography student completes internship in Tanzania

Sep 11th, 2013

J. Thorburn

Matthew Van Oostdam Tanzania
Geography student completes internship in Tanzania

Geography major Matthew Van Oostdam is back from his summer intership in Tanga, Tanzania. Here's what he has to say about his experiences:

"In April I received news that I had been chosen for an internship that landed me back in Tanzania.  After spending last year there climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru, this was amazing news.  Having spent very little time in the costal side of Tanzania, I did not realize how easily the landscape and environment would change.

During my internship I worked on an eco-water tank, a poultry business run by the institute, malaria workshops, a human-wildlife interactions survey and a maize-charcoal production method.  In the first few weeks an unfortunate diagnosis of malaria caused me to develop a newfound interest in Africa’s rampant killer, the mosquito.  Soon after I started spending my evenings in a small rural village holding malaria workshops in order to further my own understandings of malaria but also to provide them with what I knew of prevention and treatment.  In the end I ended up providing workshops for the entire village and supplying them with bed nets.

The eco-water tank was an idea spurred from a meeting with Jeff Deppa an American Peacecorps volunteer living in the same village as me.  Essentially the tanks were designed to cost half the price of a traditional water tank used for harvesting rainwater. In the ending weeks of my stay Jeff and I also began developing a design from MIT D-lab that, with the use of a modified oil drum, allowed us to produce charcoal from maize waste.  A potentially huge innovation for people living in our region as current charcoal is expensive and more harmful.

If all goes in my favor I hope to return in the following years for a longer period of time.  For now I would simply like to thank CIDA, the AUCC, Marine International and my parents for all the support throughout my internship."

For more information about Matthew's internship, please visit the original story.



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