Fish Out of Water

By Kira Adelman ‘19

When I was privileged to interview Dr. Fish about his trip to Ghana over J-Term, I learned about the Intelligent Water Project, one of the many pieces of the Collaboratory. The project works towards remotely managing the various water pump systems in Ghana. Through the Collaboratory’s website, the Intelligent Water Project works with organizations like World Vision to ensure the installation and proper running of the pump systems.

Dr. Fish visited Ghana, alone, for a whole month in order to represent the Collaboratory and assist in the development of the Intelligent Water Project. Although Dr. Fish had never gone to Ghana before, he went to inspect how the prototyped water systems in Ghana were holding up, after the Collaboratory worked to help install the systems for the water pumps over a year ago. Dr. Fish installed new upgrades the Intelligent Water Project designed.

When I asked  Dr. Fish what he had learned from working with  the Intelligent Water Project, he responded: “I’ve gotten a better appreciation for the diversity of access to basic services, even in developing countries. Before the project, between Ghana and the US, I would have put them on two opposite sides of the spectrum. Instead, you have people in Ghana in nice homes, that can turn on a faucet and water comes out. Then you can drive five miles and someone is living in a mud hut and pumping water by hand. There is such a disparity of access to basic services.”

So why did the Intelligent Water Team choose to go to Ghana to work on their project? The Collaboratory has worked with World Vision in the past to try to create clean water systems around the globe. The team went to World Vision with their project idea, and World Vision recommended they start the water pump system in Ghana, which the Collaboratory obliged. They hope to spread this project across the world if everything goes well in Ghana.

I ended my interview by asking Dr.Fish about where he has seen God the most throughout this project. His response was that he sees God the most, “…in the students that are working on the project. They have the highest desire to use the talents God has given them to help out people that they have never met. That’s an easy thing to say and it is a nice thing to put as a banner over what you are working toward. It would be very easy for a bunch of engineers to get together and think it was really cool to write code for an embedded microprocessor, or design electronics. But they are just constantly reminding me that they see the connection between the talents God’s given them that aren’t the preaching and aren’t the theological studies. They are something some people might separate from religious connection, but they see a really tight connection between the fact that they know how to do these technical things is a means of service. That comes up casually in all kinds of conversations and I think that’s been the most rewarding and seeing God have a practical day to day impact on what’s happening in their lives.”

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