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Aug 18 2011

Reflections on a summer spent designing wheelchairs in Guatemala

Posted in: Miscellaneous

BLOGGING FROM THE FIELD is a series of blogs in which students working through the MIT Public Service Center reflect on their experiences. To read more of the blogs visit

Our final wheelchair design. Photo by Juan Carlos Noguera Cardoza


Our final wheelchair design. Photo: Juan Carlos Noguera Cardoza

July 29, 2011

After spending almost a month and a half in Guatemala, I feel that we’ve accomplished a great deal. Our wheelchair is finished and it is currently being used by Vinicio, one of the guys working in the shop. Besides being extremely light for a steel wheelchair (including the wheels, it weighs only 24lbs!), it has numerous additional features: a 2 degree-of-freedom backrest (which can slide both forwards on the frame as well as extending upwards), a horizontally movable axle, and also, an adjustable footrest.

This wheelchair, while it will probably not go into production, might give the Transitions Foundation some good ideas to implement in other wheelchairs – they can test... read the post »

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Aug 28 2007

Back at MIT: Reflecting and Restarting

Posted in: Academics & Research

Summer is nearly over and our five bloggers - Shirley, Biyeun, Tish, Cat, and Jessica - have returned to the United States from their fellowships abroad. Today you can read some of their reflections on the experience.

Shirley writes about her trip to Tanzania:

“I miss Tanzania a lot, and especially everyone that I had met. People are so nice to everyone there. They are now great friends of mine, and thanks to the internet, I am able to keep in touch with them! I also started a Hi5 (a social networking website) profile, so that I can keep my network going.

A lot of my friends are asking questions like ‘What was the most memorable thing from the trip?’ Or similar questions like the sort, I can’t seem to answer those questions. Every little thing was memorable, everything was really eye opening… And things just can’t be described in words.”

Maybe some of these things can be described in pictures! Shirley has posted her photos from the trip at... read the post »

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Aug 14 2007

Through her eyes

Posted in: Academics & Research

This week, we will take a break from reporting directly on the sojourns of Cat, Jessica, Biyeun, Tish, and Shirley. Instead, we will include a photographic journey through many countries, including those of our five usual bloggers. MIT student Christina Kang has spent her summer photographing other Public Service Center fellows as they completed their fellowship projects:

“I realized that my photojournalism could go beyond advertising for [my own cause], but could also serve to celebrate the students' achievements, teach the MIT community about the problems in other countries, and motivate others to get up and volunteer themselves.”

Christina raised funding for her project with much hard work and dedication. In her blog, “Through My Eyes," she has posted her photos and thoughts while visiting the following countries:

  1. New Delhi, India
  2. Nairobi, Kenya
  3. Kampala, Uganda
  4. Arusha, Tanzania

Here below is a sample of the beautiful photos on her website.

New Dehli, India

... read the post »

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Aug 7 2007

PSC fellows: end of summer in India and Africa

Posted in: Academics & Research

Late July and August has been a busy time for our bloggers. All of them are bringing their projects to a close in their respective countries before they leave.

Cat reports on some of the last days of her trip with a must-read post: The best day of my trip to India.

She writes, “At 7:30pm last night we presented our parting gift to the community: a slide show / movie of the community members over the past three weeks, so that the community could see through our eyes the love and unity possible in the community. The pictures were often of children, or older community members with children and it was magical...the whole market area in front of the temple filled up with over 200 community members and families perched on balconies and roofs to get a good view.”

Some of the 200+ community members that attended Cat's slide show / movie

Jessica, also, working with Cat, describes some of the outcome of their project :

“So you must be wondering...what are the benefits of a sanitation... read the post »

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Jul 30 2007

PSC fellows and their projects wordwide

Posted in: Academics & Research

Since last time, Biyeun has made excellent progress at InterConnection Uganda: the center’s Grand Opening happened on July 6th!

The Ugandan Minister of Education cuts the ribbon

In his speech at the opening, the Ugandan Minister of Education praised the collaboration between MIT and Ugandan IT students:

"…starting from simple secretarial services for small businesses to communicating commodity prices to local farmers, assisting NGOs to achieve their goals, or helping address critical health care and other governmental challenges facing Uganda… This is no simple task and will require creativity and collaboration. It is here that we want to contribute by bringing United States college students like Biyeun, who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to work with her fellow Information Technology students here in Uganda.”

Biyeun herself has also been quickly moving forward… on a motorcycle!

“In other news…I rode my first boda-boda today! Boda-bodas are these motorcycles... read the post »

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