First Project - New Hope Uganda

On this past Wednesday, one of the eMi interns, Jeremy, and I, drove North 60 miles to a small village called Kasana, about 10 miles West of the town of Luwero. We went to meet with the director of an organization called ‘New Hope Uganda’. The director and his wife and family moved to Uganda in 1986 and started New Hope Uganda out in the middle of the bush. Their mission is to bring the love of God the father to fatherless children of Uganda. This project will be somewhat atypical for eMi, since we won't be sending a team - I will likely be the only one from eMi involved since they're only looking for structural help.
But on the project property, they have boarding houses for families, a baby’s home for abandoned children, a primary and secondary school, and a church. It really is an impressive place they’ve built out in a very remote area. Their compound is huge, feeling more like a village with a central park-like area that serves as the hub for different ‘spokes’ that offshoot to the different residences. The schools are a mile or two down the road and also have expansive properties with nice facilities. So Jeremy and I left at just past 7am, but had to drive through town to head out North. Well, we should’ve left at 6am because it took us 2 hours to get out of town. So we arrived at 11am, nearly 2 hours late. When we got there, the director showed us around to some of the constructions projects he had going on and wanted a structural engineer’s opinion on. I looked at a number of issues they had going on, including cracked concrete beams, poorly built roof trusses, and a remodel of their guest house that needed to add some new roof trusses.
We also met to talk about the new church building they will be building. It’s a pretty large, open structure that requires some special engineering, including a steel framed roof due to the large spans.
It was pretty exciting to finally be involved in a specific project (as opposed to just setting up the general office structural guidelines), and seeing the site and meeting with the director really gave me a heart for the organization and people there and was my first taste of feeling like I was able to have an impact here through my work. I will be providing truss designs for his existing projects, and then a full design for the new church structure. The tricky part will be the steel roof, as there are limited steel members available here, so I will be coordinating with a local steel engineering and fabrication company to help with that design.
After our meeting and walk around at the construction sites, the director took us to his house where we had lunch with his wife and 3 of his 6 kids. It was really a nice time – his oldest daughter (29) was there and is on staff now, and then he has two younger kids who are 10 and 8 (all 6 are biological). It was interesting to hear the older daughter’s perspective since she had moved to Uganda when she was 7. She actually has written a book about her experiences growing up here, and they gave us a copy (‘The Long Road to Hope’). The 8 year old is a precious little girl with Down’s Syndrome, so I immediately had a connection with them all as a family with a special needs child. She is doing very well also, and it was a big blessing for me to briefly exchange stories with them.
We left mid-afternoon, and had a much shorter 2 ½ hour trip home. To keep this shorter, I’m leaving out the details of the drive itself, but driving here is always an experience, and this road was particularly bad. I spent more time weaving around pot-holes than I did driving straight (which is why 60 miles takes 2 ½ hours!) Pictures: (top) The dirt road from Luwero to Kasana - some of the nicer road surface we drove on; (2nd f/ top) a typical Ugandan mud-hut/homestead - these types of homes are a dime a dozen out in the rural areas of Uganda; (3rd f/ top) me at one of the current project-sites at New Hope Uganda; (last 2 pictures) the round-about and central "park" area of the New Hope campus- the new church building I'll be designing will be located in that field of grass.


inWorship said…
Very cool that your getting to work!

Is their daughters book something that is published?

I'd be interested in seeing if I could get a copy.

The hodge family adopted a little boy named Ugattu last month through compassion. He is in Uganda, so we've got some family in your part of town now :)

Miss you guys!
5Crawfords said…
That's very cool! Where in Uganda does Ugattu live? Maybe you need to come visit him (us)! :) And yes, the daughter's book is published - through Christian Services Network (CSNbooks). The author's name is Jennie Dangers.
inWorship said…
Guess what I spelled his name wrong :)

It is Oguttu. He is in Maanga. Not sure where that is. Even tried to search for it, but was having a hard time.

Of course if God allows, we would definitely come visit. You guys as well :)

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