When Sanergy was last in Nairobi, our team rolled three men deep: Dave Auerbach, Jeff Zira, and I. Over the past several months, though, our ranks have grown.

During May and June, we began the pilot’s design work from Cambridge. Both Chris Tolles, a designer and recent RISD graduate, and Nathan Cooke, a mechanical engineer and employee at MIT’s D-Lab, played key roles in drafting the first prototypes for the sanitation center we’ll be building this summer.

To finish the designing, building, and implementation on the ground, I’m joined in Nairobi by Ella Peinovich and Joel Veenstra – both of whom were clearly long destined to join the Sanergy team.

Although Ella’s architectural expertise, honed through work at Skidmore, Owing, & Merrill LLP (SOM) and her current course of study as a Master of Architecture (MArch) Candidate at MIT, have already proven extremely beneficial, her true qualification for membership in Team Sanergy lies in her musician father’s original song “Music in the Outhouse” and his hobby of collecting miniature outhouses.

With a passion for optimizing user experience through appropriate design and for working in developing countries, Ella is enthusiastic about building her own outhouse. Moreover, as a LEED AP, Ella is deeply interested in sustainable design that encompasses both “green” and community-based practices. Sanergy offers her the opportunity to dive into the details of product design and see the real-life impact of her late nights of drawing, measuring, redrawing, and building. 

Joel Veenstra


The fates, with a little help from a friend’s forwarded email, also very clearly intended for Joel to join Sanergy. A blond-haired, blue-eyed Canadian who grew up in Tanzania and attended
high school in Kenya, Joel has surprised many a Jua Kali metal worker with his fluent Swahili and the construction savvy he’s developed through summer jobs building houses and repairing foundations.
 

Like Ella, Joel wants to continue working in developing countries after graduation. In particular, he’s interested in water resource management – providing clean, accessible water to communities that lack it. Team Sanergy, though, couldn’t be more excited to have him on board our own waterless sanitation endeavor.

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