On Saturday, I tagged along with a field trip for the Young Positives and Shadow Idols program. The field trip was based on a project that one of the lab technicians, Jonathan, wanted to try out with some of the youths. The project came about from conversations that Jonathan had with a person he knows that is studying at North Dakota State University. The project there is to conduct experiments that will try and identify good techniques to recycle or re-utilize water. The results would ultimately support a bigger program through NASA to look at ways to create habitable living facilities for potential future colonies on the moon.
I definitely liked the idea and the background of trying to expose some of the children to science and get them possibly interested in future technical fields.
So we took a select group of children and we all piled into the St. Francis ambulance to travel to an area called Masese to visit a local water treatment plant. There, a technician named Peter (gentleman in the white lab coat) showed us around the facility. It was fascinating to learn about the techniques used to produce drinking water to the local area. They use some similar methods that are done in the U.S. but I could tell that many were very simple and older methods. The original plant was built by the British in the 1950s. A newer facility on the current complex is nearing completion that would allow increased production of fresh water. They also showed us a catchment area that they were using to try and reclaim some of the sludge that is formed after using chemicals to collect suspended particles in the water during the filtration process. They would then sell the sludge as a fertilizer for local farmers as extra income. He spoke of several challenges they face in that the level of pollution has increased in Lake Victoria due to development of new industries in areas such as in Jinja, etc.