Bulukutu tea is an aromatic and perennial plant from the savannah bush found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The tea, made from the Bulukutu leaves, is pungent, yet soft in taste. It has a peppery, lemony, and eucalyptus-like aroma. Many useful indigenous plants are unique to small parts of Africa, and have been used by local people for generations. Bulukutu has been the subject of study for many years because of its high antioxidant content and healing properties. In the DRC, it is brewed to treat pain, reduce inflammation and help treat a variety of common ailments. Now, Bulukutu Tea is available in South Africa.
The business has grown rapidly, with the short-term targets for partnerships being reached well ahead of schedule. At this time, the business’ teas are stocked by six businesses throughout the Western Cape, some of which have several outlets.
For this project, we were required to build a full stack website that includes shopping functionality. Users should be able to purchase Bulukutu Tea directly from the website, with the orders feeding into an intuitive interface that the Bulukutu Tea team can use to fulfill orders effectively. We were told that we could start the website but couldn't complete it, there will be another group of interns coming in to complete it. In addition to that we were split into two groups, Software engineering and Data Analytics. The role of software engineers was to create the website while the data analytics role involved creating pathways/infrastructure by which the user's data would be loaded, processed and analyzed however the manager wanted them to be. I was placed in the software engineering team.
Before starting the website was not been built at all; therefore our role as interns was to create the website from scratch to full production. The founder/manager would supply us interns with some design assets and a general look and feel that the intern team can use to build out the website.
Over the five weeks period, we collaborated in designing how the website should look and feel by creating wireframes in Figma. After we got the greenlight from the manager, we then started with the development. We split into groups at first; it was back-end and front-end then we had OKRs to keep each other up to task. The main languages and frameworks we used were React, and Firebase to set the whole project up. I specifically worked on the homepage, the Login/Signup page and setting up the database. I also worked in the shopping page which is supposed to display the products (prices and description), the "add to cart" functionality as well as the "Buy now" functionality.
Having finished the website with four more days left we decided to go an extra mile and start implementing payment gateways which should enable a user to checkout products once they're added to the cart and work on the security. We then divided ourselves into two teams one for payment gateway and the other for security. Since we were never taught these things in class or elsewhere, we spent three days learning the content and we were ready to start. We started the programming and setting everything up, but we since were at the end of our internship period, we just left it to the coming group to see what we started through.
Our supervisor asked me if I could deploy the website so that it's up and running and that customers can get to know more about the business, but before I did that, we met with our manager and she requested that we hide the "shopping" page since the payment system is not set up yet. After the second intern group is done, she will contact me so that I can combine everything and deploy it once again to see the results.
The experience was phenomenal; I got to learn so many things, and work on a project that is going to make instant impact in the world is something I am very proud of.