The Latest

Mrs. Crawford - This week has been different for us since Alisha has been filling in as the first grade teacher at Heritage International School while the regular teacher is in Egypt with one of the eMi interns. So Alisha has been Brodie’s teacher, which has been a great opportunity for her to see and evaluate how he’s doing and what possible things we could do in some of his weak areas.
But it’s also served as a trial run for her as she has been trying to make a decision about whether or not to teach next year. She wasn’t given a timeline for her decision, but our plan was to evaluate and make one fairly soon after this week of substituting. Please pray for us as we make this decision. I have a gut feeling, but I'm not sharing it yet (other than with Alisha)!
Trip to Jinja with Jonah – On Tuesday, Jonah came with me on a business trip to Jinja with Chad and his son Nathan (9). Travelling there was interesting as we took public transportation. We travelled on a ‘coaster’, which is half bus and half van – kind of like a motor-home with bus seats. But instead of an aisle down the middle, when all the seats fill, there are fold-down seats in the aisle so each row is solid with people from side to side, from the back of the coaster to the front. We sat in the very back on the way – Jonah sat on my lap. The trip was an hour and a half and was ok since I could see out the front. But the return trip was a different story.
We were the last ones on the coaster coming home, and there were only two aisle seats left so each had to have our boys on our lap. The aisle seats are similar to those portable stadium seats you sit on bleachers with, except without the padding and the seat back only goes about 1/3 up your back. On this particular coaster, the front 3 rows are up a step, and since we were just below these rows, our eye line looked straight into the back of the people up front – i.e. we couldn’t see out the front. So we’re crammed in the middle, with kids on our laps, on a pretty warm day, and couldn’t see out the front. Oh, and Jonah had just been running around so he was all hot and sweaty. Yep, it was about the worst-case scenario in my book as far as traveling goes! Oh, the cherry on top was that Jonah fell asleep for the trip 10 minutes in, so I had to hold up his sweaty little limp body to keep him from falling on the people sitting next to us. My prayers were answered though as I somehow did not get motion sickness. I just prayed most of the way that I would make it without getting sick, since stopping the coaster is pretty much not an option (for restrooms or otherwise).
Arise Africa and Jinja – While we were in Jinja, Chad and I met with John Sauder, who is an eMi Construction Manager on location in Jinja with his wife and two young boys working for Arise Africa International, a Christian aid organization. AAI has recently moved into a new “fixer-upper” headquarters building in downtown Jinja (the 2nd largest city in Uganda, though it has a very small town feel with no hint of a city skyline or traffic…the main street reminded me a lot of Dixon, CA where my dad grew up, just larger in area). But the city council, which is dominated by muslims, has been giving them a hard time as they try to renovate their site. The HQ building is actually right across the street from a Mosque, and they are not too pleased to have a Christian organization moving into the neighborhood. The neighborhood is in need of renovation, so the council is using that to make like difficult for them by trying to force AAI to renovate much quicker and more extensively than they want or are able to.
One of the buildings on the site is a large auditorium that was constructed 80 or more years ago, but is undermined by eroding soil on one end and is showing signs of cracking walls in that area. The city is telling them that they need to tear the building down, but John wanted my opinion about that first. So I walked the site with John and reviewed that particular structure and a few other building issues he wanted my opinion on.
It reminded me a little of some of the work I had done back in Medford, evaluating structures for renovation and coming up with possible cost-saving solutions. (This is a great example of how I’ve seen that God prepared me so well for my duties here).
In this particular case, I recommended to John that the one end of the auditorium should be torn down since it had essentially already failed (an all brick building, grouted with a soil-based grout!), but the rest of the structure could remain since there were no signs of fatigue. Of course, a structure like this would never fly on the West Coast of the U.S., but in the relatively calm seismic ‘valley’ that runs through the middle of Uganda, it can continue to have usable life with some minor to moderate structural modifications in strategic areas.
Project trip to Iganga, Uganda, coming up – During the last week of this month, I will be travelling about 2 ½ hours East of Kampala with a team of 8 of design professionals and interns for my first full project trip. We will be hosted by the ministry for 7 days, during which time we will be developing a master plan for a new secondary school on a 6-acre parcel of land. I am co-leading the project with Janet Strike, the third full-time staff member in our office with Chad and me. I am looking forward to the experience of leading a project trip, but with reservations as I do not look forward to leaving Alisha and the boys. Please pray for safe travels, but more importantly, that we would be able to create a great design for this ministry. This Monday, Janet and I and a couple of interns are travelling to Iganga for a pre-trip meeting to line out the week.
Police crackdown – When I saw this article in today’s newspaper here in Kampala, it made me wish I had a video camera in my car a couple of months ago when those police officers gave me a hard time and bilked me out of my money! (http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/626929).
Pictures – (top) Alisha cooking carrot cake while I was posting this blog just now - we're having the interns and friends over for games tonight (12-15 people). Alisha was underrepresented in the pictures so I quick snapped this one. Note the new cookie sheets she's using - we just received them in a package from Mom Crawford this week! (next) Jonah's first harvest! He planted radishes several weeks ago and finally was able to pick one this week. Can you tell that is one excited little boy in the picture? (next) Me with Semei, the eMi East Africa office manager. He is such a great guy and does so much for our office to make it run smoothly. I've had the thought that I would love to bring Semei back to the states sometime to visit...maybe someday. Like 99.99% of Ugandans, he's never been to the USA (or outside Uganda). (next) the boys eating at the kitchen table - dinner time is no less hectic here than it was back home. But the boys are particularly excited for this meal as they are eating their favorite gluten-free, car-shaped pasta sent over in a package from Mom Berry last week! (next) eMi people eating out at 'The Coconut Hut' last night. They serve Indian food and it was delicious. We were honoring Christoph, one of our long-term volunteers whose term is up and will be flying home Monday morning. The Gamble family (Chad & Shanthi & kids) are in the foreground. (last) Me with Christoph. He was born and raised in Germany, but has lived in Canada for the last several years. Christoph shared my office with me and Liz the New Zealand Architect. We had a lot of laughs over the past few months and I am sad to see him go - he is a genuinely nice person. This is our first of what will be many experiences with saying goodbye to the temporary eMi people - no fun. Oh, I wore this Chelsea jersey in honor of Christoph - since his countryman Michael Ballack plays for Chelsea - even though I'm a staunch Manchester United fan and will be rooting the Reds on to the Premiership title in this Sunday's final match! ...Does anyone in the U.S. even know what sport I'm talking about?!

Comments

lazrus2 said…
Thanks for the update and pics.
It's good to be kept up to date on all your projects and daily life.

I know the separation on the upcoming trip will be difficult.

I don't know if you get Daniel Hefley's newsletter now, but he's on the way to Kosovo for a 2 week project there with Water for Life. I know that will be hard on Signy with the two little ones on her own (but they have a lot of help from friends).

He said in his last newsletter that they will also be developing a project in Rawanda at some point. Since they're one of your 'neighbors' maybe you could meet up with him when he gets there (?). If you don't have his email to connect on that, let me know, and I'll forward it along.

God Bless,
Dana (& Nick)
Traci Morrow said…
Hey There Crawfords!!!

My guess on your shirt/sport:

Professional Underwater Basket Weaving?

I know how you're a closet fan of that sport, Brad! :) Nyuk Nyuk

Love the pics, and will be praying for your trip Brad. :) I too love to see how God has prepared you for your work there. Apart from all the emotional stuff that you deal with - THIS is how you are serving the Ugandans and beyond, and how cool to hear how God prepared you for your role. I too believe that He has also prepared Lish for her role in your travels, and that though she would much rather have you home with her, that she is MORE than prepared for your trips, will find the Holy Spirit will meet her needs (afterall, she is first the bride of Christ, and he is a capable hubby!), and that the time will pass with eternal rewards!! :D :D :D

IN JESUS NAME!

So serve with joy and peace knowing that the Lord will be taking care of your precious family while you serve Him. :)

On a note from the flesh - oh my gosh, just reading your story of your trip with Jonah made me feel carsick and want to open the window next to my computer! Glad you made it - ugh. I feel your pain.

We were up early today hosting a yard sale. We sold almost all of what we hoped to, with just a bit left over to deliver to Good Will. Packing up the house in "power hour" increments throughout the day/evening - can you remember that job you just did a couple months ago that probably feels like YEARS ago, and yet just yesterday? As I threw stuff away and weeded out what would be given to storage I thought of you. What freedom on some level to rid yourselves of all the STUFF we accumulate.

Moving for 8 is a job and a half, but I will be happy to have it all sorted through at least!

Love you lots!
TRACI +7
xoxoxo

PS For the boyz:

Knock Knock

who's there?

Umpt Umpt....Yard Sale

yard sale who?

Everyone knows that yard sale is spelled 1-800-wanna buy my junk? Everyone knows that...duuuuuh!!!!

Aunt Ta loves your guts!!! :)
xoxoxoxo
Phil said…
Hey guys,

Sorry it has taken so long to write. We've been praying for you and it is great to see how God is working in all of your lives. That is a great story about the "Coaster" ride. I can't wait until I get to take similar rides in the future (hopefully with a sweaty little boy on my lap). Anyway, we love you guys and miss you. And I'm just glad that I read on after seeing you wearing the Chelsea jersey, as I too am a staunch Man U supporter and was extremely disappointed in you.

Oh, the picture in front of the fire -- priceless. That picture alone makes me want to go out and buy Photo Shop this morning. I laughed hard, particularly the note to your moms, as my mom is certain that I will get tarred, burned, and thrown into the street in any country I visit outside of the US.

For a quick update on the Darkes, we've been officially approved to go full-time, sent out our support letter last week, and I will leave my current job as soon as the funds are raised. Exciting times, as you know well. I'll send you the letter, but not the pics, based on your earlier blog about the file size.

Phil (and the Darkes)

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