Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Trail of 2009

Dear readers of my blog, I missed you so much! It has been a longtime without updating you about my status and progresses here at MIT and USA in general. This new missive will carry you through the interesting events I have experienced from January – June 2009. The news posting will then continue as I will be travelling to Asia for my research and business idea project.

January 2009

The 2009 New Year celebration was unique. It was my first abroad, away from my family. As I was preparing for my flight to Singapore, I have not had enough time to enjoy the new celebration. I tried to spend my time around Boston, and snow and cold were the major constrains to my schedule. During the night of New Year’s celebration Mustafa, Felix and I went out for dinner. We ate cheaper ($8 each) and had a drink. We then went dancing to enjoy the rest of the 2008. The power of wonderful songs that were played made our time entertaining and pleasant. We made a wish, and we then were in 2009. After this celebration, I took my bags, and then headed to Logan Air port for my research trip to Singapore.

This is the only Asian country in which Rwandese have 30 days of stay without a visa. The amazing thing is not only that I was excited by discovering Asia-Singapore, but I was also happy of being away of the snowing storms that are crazy in Boston during the month of January. I was going to revive the fresh equatorial climate of Singapore. The flight to Singapore was a long one and it lasted 21 hours. We landed on two airports: Chicago and Tokyo before landing on Changi airport in Singapore. I was very exhausted and I could not think of anything than sleeping. Singapore is a country that Rwanda, my motherland, considers like a model in development. While in Singapore, I realized that most of the new projects I saw in Rwanda (e.g. hygiene roads,& buildings development project in Kigali) were inspired by the way Singapore designed. It was interesting to see similar construction styles that are built in Singapore and appeared new in Kigali. On the other hand, the research was progressed suitably. We collected and analyzed water samples in Kranji reservoir and its catchment. The water samples were collected and tested for total coliform and E. coli. The results of these tests were then referenced to in order to decide the areas that we should focus on than others. Additionally, we selected DNA sampling locations and took them for further analysis at MIT laboratories.

The field work was enjoyable and interesting. My teammates were made everything enjoyable, even if we were disturbed at the beginning. The questions -- who leads what or who does what -- took 2 days to answer. My teammates Kate, Jessica and Cameron were nice people to work with. I most liked Kate because she had a liberated mind among all over us, and she was very entraining. I have memories of the touring we had together with Jessica on Sentosa Island. Kate and I played the old school games that include jumping on the beach; playing with water … it was fun.

As the sun sets, this enjoyable time was also ending and the time of coming back in the United State of America was getting closer. After the project period, I stayed four additional days in Singapore visiting my friend Xiaogang Liu and touring the lovely city. Liu is a Chinese, but have been in Singapore for all his studies. I celebrated the Chinese New Year with his family and friends. I enjoyed the great Chinese cuisine of the New Year to which I contributed a dish. The food, fireworks and the New Year ceremonies were amazing. This trip was very enjoyable and was a worthwhile experience to have

February 2009

When we landed on Logan Airport, we were welcomed with a snow storm and I had to put on my heavy jacket. I could not believe we were back! If I was to be asked what was my opinion about staying in Singapore

and come back in March when the weather will be nice in Boston, I would have chosen to stay. But when we are working on a limited schedule and have other conflicting interesting activities, we do not have many options. We just follow the schedule as prepared. When I arrived in MIT, I proceeded on the registration of the second term, in which I was excited about three classed: Product Design and Development, Advance Technical Written English for Sciences and Engineering, and Wastes Containment and Remediation Technology. It was again a time to seat the entire night, reviewing the class materials. Briefly, it was the students’ style again.

During this period I was combining classes and the laboratory work and managing all these tasks, although sometimes they were a pain in the neck. I was spending at least 16 hours a week in the laboratory. I enjoyed the DNA PCR analysis method that I was using for my research work. The classes progressed well in this month, but interestingly I had news from home. My elder sister was had a baby. It was an exciting moment for everybody in the family and to me; I was getting ready to be called “uncle JP” and very happy for my sister to have Honorine.

March 2009

The laboratory work was progressing well, and the class of Product Design and Development was getting very interesting. We had different groups in the class that were working on different design projects. I was in the group that was designing a water tank for developed country. It was interesting to learn deeply about the industrial designs and marketing considerations that are prioritized when designing a technology or a product.

The annual important event happened for the 28th time. This event was my birthday. Briefly, I started celebrating my birthdays in 2005, when my university friends organized a surprise for me. It was amazing to see how good friends care and do remember each single detail of our live story, although this may appear differently depending to the person we consider. Four years later, I had again an enjoyable birthday at MIT, in USA. Lana, my classmate friend, sent an email calling for the potluck party for my birthday celebration. At MIT, March is one of the busy months in the CEE, but most of my colleagues were there to singe a happy birthday song for me. When I asked Lana why she did this for me, Lana told me “we all like you, you are a nice man”. I felt honored by her words -- Even in the shadow of a new world we always have friends who care about who are, what we do and who want to be --. We should always be respectful to these lifetime strong events. In addition, the party was not only celebrated by my classmates, but also my friends in New Hampshire. I had a great respect for them because they played the hard part of dreams realizations. I am still on my path towards my future, but I know that they will always be there for me. Thanks Ro and Bill for the long step you helped me to make. I will not forget the surprise that Ro did for birthday during my birthday weekend.

March was really a busy time, but it was the enjoyable month I had. Thanks to all of you who made this month special.

April 2009

The month of April started with a major surprise in the life time. I was invited to present in Harvard Kennedy School of Government. I was a panelist in the International Development Conference and my talk was about “Clean Water Technology for developing Countries”. This opportunity was fabulous and a time for connections. The presentation was successful due to the professionalism design support provided by Senior lecturers Peter and Eric. These two lecturers have been supportive and encouraging during this year. They provided me with incredible advices at the right moment and their professionalism shaped my professional behavior.

This month was also special because we presented the final design project and the final group projects for Singapore research. The design project was of designing a scalable and module rain water tank for developed countries. My design group was fabulous, but sometimes we experienced cohesion difficulties that we were not able to solve until the final project presentation. Moreover, it was a great experience being in a group composed of divers’ nationalities: 2 Koreans, 2 American, 1 Chinese, 1 Indian, 1 Italian and 1 Rwandan. This is one of the amazing things of being in a great school in the world; you learn, listen and experience the key engineering skills from the entire world just in a short time that could. The Class of Product Design and Development was meaningful and the skills I learned in those weeks I spent in front of professor Eppinger will guide my innovation thoughts. On the other hand, the group project presentation was awesome. We presented Kranji bacteriological study to the general public. The Singapore project was enjoyable.

Finally, during this month of April I come across the meaningful lesson. I learned from the shadows of the person we met. I was mistaken about somebody with touchy behaviors. My thoughts were that the person concerned was nice and friendly, but I was mistaken about the stranger. Currently, the right adjustments are done and as we learn by mistakes we hope the deepest silence of our minds will guide our future steps in deciding the appropriate move.

May 2009

During this month, the happiness and sadness came together on my door. After a multiple interviews and several questions about my innovation and business concepts MIT Legatum Center offered me another scholarship for 2009-2010. The MIT Legatum Center and CEE scholarship allowed me then to have chance for the summer research program and completing my second year at MIT.

Life is sweet, what we sometimes miss are appropriate teeth to enjoy it. We always wish that we could only have good times and put in our backs the sadness, but in order to have the life system in equilibrium the bad news come along with the good news. In this context, the bad news was the end of the academic year. I knew that all the friends made will be gone after graduation and I will have to make others as the next year starts. Isn’t sad? Having the good friends and see them leaving?! Just like the tree leaves that the wind of the winter blows away.

The conclusion of this month was just like the last day of a pregnant woman who has been waiting for nine months and delivers a wonderful baby (Boy or girl)! The end of this first year at MIT was enjoyable. When I looked to my grads records I said: “Yes … (screaming on myself) … yes yes I did it! I had good grads in all the classed I took. Studying at MIT is like a climbing a cliffy mountain, with gorges, and wonderful view. At MIT, when you feel like you are done with being challenged, the next confusing situations are just on door coming in as cliffs on a crazy hike. But as you go high and higher, and look behind you and enjoy the good view and see how far you have gone with your hike trail that is when you see how far you have gone, even if it was challenging. As you get close to your graduation day, MIT becomes more enjoyable. My fellows who graduated recently can tell you more about than I do.

June 2009

The graduation day took place in this month. I saw my friends in the graduation ceremony clothes and knew that they are leaving. Luis, Daves, Lana, Sabrina, Kate, Jessica, Cameron, Robert, Gian, Flavia, Elisabetha, Sara, Clair, Mahua, Safia, Scott, Alice, Isabel, Rose, Hunter, Eugene. FX, Stephan, Allen and others. I saw all of them going and all of them have contributed in making my first year at MIT special. I hope to see you guys in future professionalism ventures.

Interestingly, I celebrate my first year in USA and a one year of blogging. This year was challenging, but I am glad that I managed to learn as much as I could with the short time. This year also leave me with memories of being away. I have not yet seen Honorine, my sisters first born, but I believe that I will see her one day. “Claudine I am happy for your and I am glad that your weeding have already fruits”. I miss my Mother. I miss her a lot. I know that where you are you miss me too. Mama, I can only say that we shall meet. Finally, the most sensitive news that the world has ever had happened in my first USA year. The first African-Black American during the inauguration ceremony swears to lead the United State of America.

During this month I have also been hiking and the most incredible hiking I did was Mount Washington in New Hampshire. This Mountain is the first elevated pick in the Northeastern United State of America with 6,288ft (1,917 m). In addition, Mount Washington pick is well-know due to the irregular weather conditions on the top and the fact that the highest wind speed in the entire world was also recorded on its pick with 372 km/h.

The end of this month coincided to the travelling dates. I am travelling to Singapore and Bangladesh. I will be blogging about my discoveries and different observations I will account during this trip. The main goals of my trips are collecting wet weather water samples for my Singapore research and visiting bottled water companies in Bangladesh to learn their technology and market model. This trip is very exciting to me. It will help me to define two important projects: Master of Science thesis and my business plan.

Thanks for reading my long updates. I will see you soon.

LifeEngine Clean Water Project

LifeEngine Clean Water Project
Testing Water Filtration Technology in Bisate Village