As I used my last square of toilet paper, I knew it was time to leave, and I felt like the signs in the Arusha hotel, the ones that said “Don’t use the towels to wipe your shoes” and “NO laundry in the rooms,” applied directly to me.

There also wasn’t a single thing in my suitcase that wasn’t covered in dust, and all I wanted to eat was a French fries omelette. Vancouver was calling my name.

But before I could leave, we had to decide on a location to dig the borehole. We saw Jafari, the regional hydrologist, in Dodoma. All three water points that we looked at had water at varying depths, but the first point had water closest to the surface, so that was the one we chose. We were going to need to drill down 120-150 metres to reach the water, but Jafari seemed to think that wouldn’t be a problem and that it was just a matter of getting down there.

I spent my last evening in Tanzania curled up in a ball with all the lights on hoping that the cockroaches I’d just seen weren’t going to crawl into my ear and eat my brain while I was watching “Sex and the City,” which was looping on one of the channels. I spent three full episodes thinking about the daunting task ahead. I had to find a way to make this project happen, like Cheku. But to do it properly from the beginning, I needed to find and partner with an organization. Little did I know that this process was going to take well over a year.