Sickness and Work Update

So right now we have 3 sick boys. Graysen is going on day 7 of a fever, bad diarrhea and head-cold symptoms. We’ve taken him to the doctor twice (two different doctors) and they said it’s a virus, and that virus’ take a long time to pass here. But he is definitely perking up this evening, so that’s good. But Sunday morning Brodie woke up with a fever and sore throat and stomach aches, and he’s been sick with all those symptoms since. Then Monday evening, Jonah started feeling hot and acting very subdued. So, the good news is, since they’re dropping like flies, that would make something serious like malaria or dengue fever or something else unlikely since those aren’t really transferred between people. We had thought about measles early on since Graysen has bloodshot eyes and all the other symptoms, but no rash ever formed. Then one of the doctors (he’s British) informed us that measles is almost non-existent in Uganda, so that’s good.
But we have the vitamin A drops to treat for measles, so we had already given those just in case (per Dr. Green’s (our doctor in Oregon)instruction). But last night was interesting, since all three slept on the floor in our room (see picture). Let's just say my day started at 3:50am this morning, and I'm not sure Alisha could even distinguish between when her night ended and the morning started.
But beyond sickness (by the way, I didn’t mention that I had a terrible sore throat that has turned into a bad head cold), we’re doing good. Our car did in fact need to have the engine replaced or rebuilt, so we opted for the latter since it was 40% less of a hit. Beyond that, I thought I’d give an update on work.
First, New Hope Uganda: (I’ve mentioned this previously, but it’s the church I’m helping with) I met again with the director, but this time had the eMi office Architect with us (‘Liz’ from New Zealand). He had a preliminary drawing made 10 years ago that we were working from, but he wanted someone’s opinion on the acoustics, and also on the general architecture. Well, Liz had a lot of great insight, and it was decided that some things needed to be reworked. Consequently, we’re going to have to revise the layout, and it will be awhile before I get working on the structural side of things.
Next, Abundant Life School in Iganga, Uganda: This will be my first official project trip and will take place at the end of May. We are currently recruiting an Architect and Civil Engineer from the U.S. to join us, along with Janet Strike (staff Civil Engineer here) and 4 interns. Iganga is about 2 1/2 hours East of Kampala. The ministry has a very interesting concept for the school. It was started years ago by a pastor in Ireland, and they have done a lot of work for orphans and the poor throughout Uganda. So the income generated from the school will be a means for funding the work they do elsewhere. At the same time, it will meet a big need for a Christian school in the area. They plan to have a strong Christian emphasis in the school curriculum, in part to give an alternative to the local muslim population. I’m sure I will have more to write about this ministry after the project trip (we’re planning to spend 7-8 days on-site to develop a preliminary design).
Other projects I’m consulting on – Mt. Meru University in Tanzania, Westminster Theological College outside of Kampala, and ‘Come Let’s Dance’, which will be a site with a school that houses kids and grows their own food to feed the kids (I’m working on the initial bunk house for workers to live in while they begin working on a new 10-acre parcel of land that will be cultivated into farming): These are projects that are underway around the office that I am consulting with the architects and engineers whenever structural questions arise. Since these are projects that were initiated prior to my arrival, we are not providing structural drawings for them, but I am trying to help give input where it’s needed. On the Westminster project, it’s under construction so I've gone out a few times to help survey the site with Chad to locate the buildings for the Contractor.
In the meantime, I’m still putting together a structural design guide to hand to the structural volunteers in the future. It’s challenging to do the research here without a phonebook and with intermittent internet access at the office (when everyone is in the office, there can be 12 people trying to connect online on our 64KB bandwidth connection speed. This translates into severe online gridlock! (By the way, this is a good time to request that you try to keep emails to us under 500KB (0.5 MB) whenever possible. Important exceptions are fine, but 0.5 MB will take anywhere from 1-5 minutes to download, depending on the connection speed at the moment.
On the ministry side of things, we’ve really enjoyed getting to know the interns. I have been mentoring Zach, a 27-year old architect from Colorado, and Alisha has been mentoring Jill, a 5th year senior architecture student at Kansas State. In addition, we’ve been having Heather, Jill and sometimes Zach over to workout with us using the Million Dollar Body ‘Power 90’ videos. We’ve even ventured into the ‘Hip-Hop Abs’ cardio programs (also MDB) - I can assure you that it is a thing of perfect beauty to watch us all doing hip-hop routines. Yikes!
Last weekend, we invited all the interns and a few other young missionaries over to play games. We had 11 people and played ‘Mafia’ and ‘Telephone Pictionary’. A good time was had by all (well, at least by us).
Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, I have been playing soccer (‘football’) here on Friday nights. There’s a team of Italians who play against everyone else who shows up – so usually it’s about 4 or 5 Ugandans, a couple South Africans, a few of the Italian kids (who are incredible players for their age) and me, I think the lone American playing soccer in Uganda, if not all of Africa! When I first showed up, they first asked if I was from England. Then they were pretty skeptical of me as an American – as if they wanted to ask, “You know this isn’t AMERICAN football we’re going to play?” They said they have a tournament every 6 months where they split everyone by country – a la the World Cup. Well, as it will be impossible for me to find 10 other Americans who play soccer here, they suggested that I possibly play with the South Africans! Sooo, good’ay mate! …oh wait, wrong continent! (kind of an inside joke here around the office with the interns, who like to play to the impression that we Americans don’t know where any other country outside of North America is – including Canada! We especially like to joke about New Zealand, since Liz is from there – and because most of us legitimately know very little about that town).
Pictures: (top) this isn't a 'fun' slumber party, but a room full of sickies camping out on the floor of our room; (next) Alisha reads with a couple of barely coherent sickies on her lap; (next) apprentice-guard Jonah with his mentor Mr. Wilson who helped him plant a garden and lets Jonah tag around with him; (next) long-term volunteer architect Liz (left) and intern Jill (right) caught in a totally candid moment...on second look, perhaps I inadvertantly tipped them off that a picture was forthcoming; (next) eMi East Africa Director Chad taking a break from a stressful interactive office game of 'Doom' (joking); (last) eMi East Africa staff engineer Janet looking unusually happy (actually she never stops smiling). Chad and Janet are the other two full-time staff members in the office (there are two additional staff members who are permanently on location at job sites in Southern Uganda, Steve and John).
**Update** - Since I wrote this Monday night, Graysen has improved significantly and no longer is battling the on and off fever - just an apparent case of 'pink-eye' and a very apparent case of the grumpies, but Jonah and Brodie were sick on the couch with fevers the last two days. Poor Brodie has a bad stomach ache with it as well that the other boys didn’t have much of, but he’s been battling a bad stomach since a month before we left the states so it's not that surprising.


berrytribe said…
Oh, our poor boys! Praying that all this sickness leaves you guys soon!! I know that Mommy Alisha is the best nurse around. Hopefully the boys will be up and around in no time - and out of your room too! :)
hugs and love, xoxoxo --shan
terri said…
Thanks Brad for the updates, may God first of all send a healing miracle thru your home to be followed by some much required sleep. Bless you guys, And as for your work Brad, how exciting to be a part of all that's going on, sounds like God is using every gift and talent He gave you and Alisha to minister to all around you. promise for today: Deuteronomy 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor forske you"love you guys, Terri xoxox
Traci Morrow said…
I'm sorry you are all so sickie. :( That sucks on ice!!

On a lighter note - I met a woman today who has just purchased land in Ethiopia and I think Kenya (?) for an orphanage. Through conversation I mentioned what you're doing in Uganda and she said "My heart is racing so fast I am nearly speechless. That may JUST be the kind of help we are looking for!" So I gave her your email, Brad. I hope thats okay.

One more of those cool God-incidences that connects our hearts call to Africa to yours. :) She has asked me to come sit in on her NPO board meeting next week and perhaps be a part of it. So praying about that. I know I'm not done in Africa either, so we'll see if this is God's prompt.

Alisha your mom called and left a message to me today about Beachbody things. I'll call her tomorrow. :) Hearing her voice made me think of you and visiting with them at Sisters house. :(

Love to you all, and prayers in the name of Jesus over your household and neighborhood!!!!!!

Aunt Ta +7
Stevie said…
So sorry that all boys in your house are sick, including you! We hope you all get well soon, and that Alisha doesn't get it.

You're cracking me up about hip hop abs! I would especially love it if you would find a video camera to use so you could record your new hip hop routines and post them on you-tube. Then, we could all work out w/(read laugh w/) you guys!

Love to all,
Stevie and fam
Caprice said…
Hi Cousins,

Just wanted to say hi and let you know that I really enjoy the updates and pictures. Your family is in our prayers. Tim and I have our small group praying for you. I hope you are all feeling better soon.

Love, Caprice
Emilie said…
Your package is going out today!! WOO HOO!! I wonder how long it will take to get to you?
We were looking at Costco for fun things for the 6 boys to ride on (tubes) when we get our boats!
Miss you and love you more than words could say!
gumby said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy said…
I'm so sorry to hear the boys have been sick! I've missed more work in the last 2 weeks than I have in 25 years. I had the flu and in turn, bronchitis, ear infection etc. The picture of Alisha and the boys says it all. Brad, Jeff said Alex Boutacoff says hi! Oh, and Jeff says hi too! I sure miss seeing all of you at school! It just doesn't seem the same! God bless and take care! Big hug o the boys!
Wendy Mayfield
gumby said…
Brad and Alicia, I've been reading your posts on a weekly basis and I am constantly encouraged and uplifted by your call. Each day as my AGO reminder goes off on my phone and computer, I'm reminded to pray for you, your health and ministry. I'm proud of you guys and I'm constantly sharing your story with others. When times get tough remember your calling and that the Lord will provide. Missions has a miraculous way of helping you to depend on Him with your needs both spiritual and physical.

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