12/07/2017: Day trip to Muhanga (Zipline Rwanda)

We usually learn from the workshops that we give or from questions asked by students, but today was different. Today was our learning day. We had two trips, one to Zipline and another to a bridge construction site.

The first trip was to Zipline located in Muhanga District, Southern Province. Zipline is an American company that operates drones. In Rwanda, they distribute blood to Hospitals that have difficulties collecting it from the Capital in required quantities and on time. When we arrived, we were explained and showed all stages of blood delivery.
Zipline receives blood from the government and stores it. It is upon request then that all start. Before flight, the drones are prepared and thoroughly checked by a control system to avoid human error. Blood is then packed in a carton equipped with a parachute that are able to reduce shock upon landing. We were lucky to see the drones take flight and land at Zipline after delivery.
It was a needed experience for everyone as we were able to see different sciences and engineering fields applied in real time. From biomedical, electrical and electronics, architecture, geology, product design, mechanical to aeronautical engineering were all experienced. All these above relative to blood conservation, the control systems, the topography, measuring the wind, solving technical problems, flight control, blood packages, etc.
Although Zipline saved many lives, it still encounters many difficulties such as the complex topography of Rwanda. Who will solve Zipline’s problems? Although it is an American company, it is interested in Rwandans that are qualified as they know best their country, so go for STEM and study well no one knows!

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Our second trip was to a bridge construction site in Muhanga District as well. The road was nice and the scenery beautiful. Unfortunately, we couldn’t reach destination due to the car failure. We were however happy to enjoy a trip deep inside Rwanda which more green and peaceful. On our journey we also got the chance to see the context of life in the country which will be more fruitful in our next workshop as understand more the terrain we are working with.

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