Humanitarianism Reengineered

Reading “Humanitarianism Reengineered” in the spring issue of your magazine made me truly proud of the Colorado School of Mines. Most engineers are kind helpful people that love to help others. It is great that Mines is providing new engineers with the insight as to how they can be of service.

Your description of the project in Honduras was of special interest to me. Because I participated in a project that provided a couple of hundred rainwater cisterns to poor people in Central America this year, it is easy to understand how significant the student’s work in a remote Honduran community really was. Potable water and simple sanitation facilities have unimagined payoffs. When children aren’t sick as often, they
attend school more. When they are well, they are more alert and learn more. Parents feel better too and become more productive. Community members that work to make their own lives better develop a “can do” spirit that spills over into other aspects of their lives. And projects that are easily maintained and can be sustained for a long time allow communities to work on other improvements.

It would certainly be commendable if more engineering schools and maybe more of our engineering societies would encourage engineers to volunteer for projects like this. We all have training in skills that are useful.

It was also terrific to read that Dave Chasis arranged for the pipe for the Honduras project. Dave was a real nice guy as a student. And you know what, he still is.

Last Word

In your Last Word [from the winter issue, p. 52, vol 98, no. 4] you had an article about Sao and Inge Seng ’53. Very interesting, as Sao and I were close friends our last couple of years at Mines, as well as classmates. I attended their wedding in Denver in 1953. He was a great guy!

Many years later, I was driving through Austria when I realized I was close to their Austrian address, so I dropped in unannounced to visit them. Inge and the two little girls were there. Inge had left Burma years before, and at my visit, had not heard from Sao for some eight years.

It eventually came out that Sao, this fine, brilliant guy, my good friend, had been murdered about one week after Gen. Ne Win Seized power in March 1962*. So poor Inge had been a widow for about eight years, but didn’t even know it.

What a shame their marriage was marred by tragedy, totally unanticipated and undeserved.

*Ref: Southeast Asia, by Tillman Durdin, New York Times Company, Library of Congress C.C.N: 65-27529, p. 58