Our Rwandan Visitor: When you meet a kindred spirit, you know.


Mazzetti Welcomes Obed Sekamana

Those who know Mazzetti know that our people – individually and collectively – have a big picture view of our responsibilities as engineers. We realize that we have a higher calling than simply to make things work; we devote our time and expertise to make things better.

In 2014, through the Sextant Foundation, we worked in Port au Prince, Haiti, updating systems at the Hôpital Sacré Coeur, a facility that had been stretched beyond capacity following the 2012 earthquake. During that project, we worked with MASS Design Group, a unique architecture organization, promoting justice and human dignity (offices in Boston and Kigali, Rwanda). Mazzetti and MASS’ values align well.

For the past couple weeks, Mazzetti’s Denver office has had the honor of hosting Obed Sekamana, an Engineering Fellow with MASS Design Group who works in their Kigali office. Obed has come to us to learn the engineering processes and take these skills back to Rwanda. He is also here to educate us about the practice beyond our borders.

About Obed

Obed was born and raised in the Rwanda countryside. He joined MASS in 2014, where he works jointly with architects, engineers and the local community to ensure that project activities meet internal company standards and external regulatory requirements. His Bachelor of Science degree is in Civil Engineering, with a focus on structural design, from the University of Rwanda College of Science and Technology’s School of Engineering.

This is Obed’s first trip outside his country. Since arriving on July 31, he has spent time in Boston, San Francisco and Denver. When he flies home on September 16, he will have seen more of the United States than many Americans during his journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the Rocky Mountains.

While here, he has visited Treasure Island (ironically an artificial island made from trash!), Golden Gate Bridge (impressive to see piers sunk through water!), Red Rocks Amphitheater (which brought to mind studies in engineering geology!), a Rockies baseball game (we won!) and the Taste of Colorado (his first corn on the cob!).

Learning about each other…

When asked about Rwanda, Obed’s first comment is that it is a small country – indeed, at 26,338 sq km it is roughly one-tenth the size of Colorado. He is quick to point out that the economy is strong, though, and a GDP growth rate of 6.9% confirms it, compared to 2.43% in the U.S. (2015; worldbank.org). Interestingly, both Denver and Kigali are approximately a mile high – Kigali at 1,567m and Denver at 1609m – so he didn’t have to adjust to the altitude.

Obed has worked on several projects in Africa that have made a significant difference in the lives of people, including the Butaro Doctor’s Sharehousing (BDHS) and the Mubuga Primary School – both in Rwanda, and the Maternity Waiting Village in Malawi. He has a captivating smile and a gentle personality. In the photo above, you can see Obed with some of the Denver gang (from left to right: Justin Boyce, Christopher Lash, Shelbie Lewis, Connor Hopkins, Obed, Tracey Fischer, Alex Arnold, Holly Taylor, Bud Gaines and Alexis Messerli).

Mazzetti is honored to have had the opportunity to work with Obed over the past weeks, and we look forward to working with him and MASS Design Group on future projects that promote the betterment of human lives.

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