A third-year student at Brown University in Rhode Island, USA, Luke Hulsenbeck, interned at blueEnergy for two weeks in January to apply his engineering skills and knowledge within a real-world setting like Bluefields, Nicaragua. In just two short weeks, Luke helped design and build a new, more user-friendly pump handle for blueEnergy’s baptist wells. The new handle is double acting so that water comes out on both the up and down strokes. It also has a fixed spout, making it easier and quicker for beneficiaries to collect water.
By Luke Hulsenback - The notion of the experience I was about to have didn’t really hit me until I was about to land in the rainforest at the end of my flight from Managua to Bluefields. At first impression, Bluefields, blueEnergy’s project headquarters on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, was beautiful, surreal, lush and inviting. I had never been to a tropical region before and I was amazed at how green everything was (although I was coming from mid-winter New Jersey). In less than an hour after my arrival, I found myself consumed by the energy and work on one of blueEnergy’s work sites. The blueEnergy energy team was working to install two large wind towers for a wind study. It was exciting to watch blueEnergy in action and I couldn’t help but get involved. I think that’s one of the characteristics about blueEnergy that makes it so appealing–the people really are just full of positive energy and are extremely passionate about and dedicated to what they do. Though the project didn’t go as planned that day (which I came to learn is normal when working in the field), everyone on the blueEnergy team remained motivated to see the project through. This level of commitment and motivation exhibited by blueEnergy staff and volunteers was something that stuck with me throughout my time interning with blueEnergy.
|Luke helps prepare a wind tower on El Bluff within an hour of arriving in Bluefields.|
The staff at blueEnergy are like a family. They all truly care about each other and are extremely supportive and involved in each other’s endeavors. I had a chance to work in the workshop with a lot of the local people, and even though I knew no Spanish, by the end of my time I found I could joke around with the local technicians and laugh with them just as easily as I could with my friends back home. The combination of working in a beautiful, remote area with great people and working on a project (a hand-pump for the community wells) that had direct impacts on the beneficiaries made for a great internship experience. I am looking forward to returning someday.