Engineers Without Borders: A Trip to Ghana

The Engineers Without Borders students from San Jose State have become part of the CNGF family, working on various aquaponics projects in the Bay Area. Now, this bright group of students hopes to go to Ghana to share some of their knowledge.

Five members of the club are beginning a fundraising program so they can accompany other volunteers and myself to Yamoransa Ghana. We will travel in June to construct a storm water catchment that will provide fresh drinking water and irrigation for the regen farms that have been established over the past five years by The Green Club of Yamoransa, supported by CNGF with many private contributions!

We will soon be submitting our proposal to the Elders Council of Yamoransa. Read what the students had to say:

Aaron Grulich

Aaron Grulich

My name is Aaron Grulich and I am a third year Material Science student at San State University. I am a member of the Engineers Without Borders Club at SJSU and will be a part of the team coming to Yamoransa.

Our intentions for the Ghana trip is to aid in the development of regenerative organic agriculture, and storm water management. These are endeavors that can help address issues of clean water, food security and sustainable energy, while setting the model for a sustainable future.

For the past year, The Engineers Without Borders have been working with the California Native Gardens Foundation building aquaponics systems. We are looking forward to working with the Elder Council of Yamoransa, the students from the community schools, as well as the students at Cape Coast University.

I realize how important this project is to combating the effects of climate change on the west African coast. The projects management and critical thinking skills I have acquired thus far from my engineering education motivates me to play a role in contributing to the progression of the Yamoransa community into a leading learning example of what it means to live a sustainable way of life.

David Bunker

David Bunker

I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hayward through elementary school, and Pleasanton through high school.

After high school I dropped out of community college while working full time before enlisting in the United States Army as Military Police. I spent five years in the service, include a tour in the Khost province of Afghanistan.

After coming to the realization that I was not enjoying my time in the military anymore I decided to return to college and pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After completing transfer requirements at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA for three years, I transferred to San Jose State University to complete my four-year degree in Mechanical Engineering, and will be graduating in Spring 2019.

I’m interested in helping out the community in Ghana, in part, due to my time in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan I saw a huge lack of easily accessible potable water in the rural area I was in, with most locals drinking from, and asking us for bottled water. And while the farmers in the area used human waste as fertilizer for their crops, they did not have an efficient system in place for it.

With the majority of households in the rural areas not having plumbing, or toilets, much of their waste ended up in the alleys and roads in their towns, not leading to very hygienic conditions. I think everyone should have access to clean, potable water, and be able to have cleaner living conditions. I wish to work in Ghana to improve their quality of life and help build some of this for them.

Anthony DiSilvestre

Anthony DiSilvestre

My name is Anthony DiSilvestre, and I would like to be a part of the team that travels to Ghana, Africa this summer. I am from San Jose, and that is where I am studying as a student of Civil Engineering. I will be earning my Bachelors at San Jose State University in Spring 2019.

The reason I want to go to Ghana is that I want to apply engineering technologies to providing sustainable access to life’s necessities. Water is a necessity for maintaining a healthy community, and I have learned first hand that a reliable source of drinking water allows for robust agricultural systems that provide food reliably.

Our organization has done hours of work on sustainable agriculture in our own town, taking advantage of our water resources to produce food for our community. We will bring all the experience we have garnered from our work in San Jose to our project in Ghana.

I have faith that Engineers Without Borders can do good work in community and give them the knowledge to replicate our work in the future.

Hamsika Pongubala

My name is Hamsika Pongubala and I am a first year Computer Engineering student at San Jose State University. After living in India for 5 years, I saw how developing nations struggle with lack of water, hygiene facilities, and shelter.

know how much of a difference engineering and technology can play in our everyday lives. Therefore, I decided to become an engineer myself!

I would love the opportunity to travel with EWB to Ghana, and I will try my very best to ensure that we can make a difference there.


Justin Huang

As a swimmer living in the tri-valley region of the Bay Area, the concept of stagnant water or an empty tap is a foreign idea. It wasn’t until I matured to realize that not everyone has access to the same resources and privilege we were born into.

Throughout high school I participated in clubs like Interact and Model UN, which helped broaden my perspective on the world. But I couldn’t see what sort of impact I was making.

Interact was a service activism organization that focused on raising awareness and money on issues like immigration or education, but there weren’t any opportunities to make a direct contribution to help the problem. Model UN helped me recognize that every country had its idiosyncratic needs and problems, aspirations and conflicts, method of governing and diplomatic procedures; but arguing public policy with other high schoolers didn’t actually solve disarmament of the Arctic Circle or the usage of child soldiers.

For those reasons of living in a bubble and echo chamber, I would like to be on the team that travels to Ghana to make a tangible difference. I am a freshman student of mechanical engineering, and I chose this profession not simply because I loved the sciences and technologies the world has to offer, but so I could actually make an impact on people’s lives.

If one of those impacts provides water, an inherent right to humanity, to a region in need of it, then I want to be a part of that change


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