Showing posts from 2011

EMI CEO Jim Hall

Earlier this morning, our CEO here at EMI, Jim Hall, went home to be with the Lord. He was 57. Jim passed after a very brief bout with the reoccurrence of his melanoma cancer first diagnosed in his foot in Sept 2010. He had been given the all clear for just over a year, but unfortunately, the cancer returned aggressively in mid October.
Jim and his wife Nancy had flown to Florida to be with family a week ago Saturday and at that time he was doing fairly well with the help of medication (for pain). On Tuesday they had their family Thanksgiving dinner. But that night, he suffered a stroke and lost mobility on his left side. His symptoms then progressed rapidly, and his communication became less and less. By Saturday, he was no longer responsive and it was clear the end was near.
We are all in a bit of shock here that things happened so quickly – it was just earlier this month when we learned that his cancer had spread and that he’d be stepping away to battle it, and he joined our office T…

End of Semester update

It's nearing the end of the 'semester' here at EMI (we call them semesters because we match our project seasons up roughly with the college schedule here in the US). That means projects are getting ready to finish, interns are wrapping up their time, and project leaders are ramping up for next semesters trips. Here is a summary of what's been going on at EMI as well as around the Crawford household recently...

EMI's CEO, Jim Hall
It's been a tough last few weeks for EMI. Our CEO, Jim Hall, had to step down a couple weeks ago after learning that his melanoma cancer (diagnosed in Sept 2010) had come back and spread to a number of spots and organs. We were all heartbroken to learn this news, as Jim had been given an all clear just this past August. Jim is a great leader whose relational style and steady demeanor have been a huge blessing to our organization for the past 3 years. Jim was a big factor in Alisha's and my decision to stay on with EMI after returning…

Sierra Leone - Parts IV and V of V

The EMI team
(More pictures at end)Monday Sept 12:
It felt like a typical Monday morning on the ship this morning. The weekend is mostly off for people on the ship (from my estimation), so things were pretty low key. But Monday morning, by 6:45am the dining area was bustling with people with a very ‘back to work’ atmosphere. For our team of course, we worked through the weekend so the only difference was breakfast started at 6:30am instead of 7:30am.
The report is coming along really well - we may come back to the office 90% done. That would be great, and would allow intern Mike to work on a number of other projects for other project leaders who have a backlog of open projects. For me, it would allow me to get an early start on recruiting for my February trip as well as work on a few other small projects I would like to get to.
This afternoon, intern Mike and I took a ride into town with our Mercy Ships host Dulce, who is Honduran (though she sounds and seems as American as we are). She h…

Sierra Leone - Part III of V

The storms make for beautiful sunsets in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Saturday Sept 10:
Today was a bit of a day on cruise control. The team is feeling good about where we’re at so the urgency of getting through the work has relaxed a bit. The data gathering at the sites is mostly complete, so now it’s a matter of compiling the information into recommendations and writing the report.
When we woke up this morning, it was a very gray and rainy day. I had been scheduled to go out to visit a previous EMI project site that has now been constructed, but because of the foul weather the Liberian man who was to pick me and intern Mike up called to say that the trip was cancelled. So, we all worked on the report around the lounge areas of the ship. After lunch, I took 4 of the guys into town to do souvenir shopping. It’s always fun to see the different personalities of the shop vendors in different countries around the world – some places are more aggressive, whereas some are passive. In Sierra Leone, …

Sierra Leone - Part II of V

Downtown Freetown, Sierra Leone. The stormy clouds pack a punch - on average, Freetown gets over 26-inches of rain in the month of September alone!

Part II of V

Thurs Sept 8:
Today I went with the civil engineering team over to the far site, Connaught Hospital. Connaught is considered the top medical facility in the country. There is so much I could write today from our 4 hour visit to the site – the wastewater conditions were some of the worst I’ve seen on a trip: Raw sewage flowing out of the septic tanks right where the workers walk to hang laundry. The small amount of sewage that makes it into the designed system simply drains out into the ocean at the bottom of the site.

Believe it or not, this is the road we took each day to get to the far hospital. At times we had to stop for several minutes while people cleared their stuff out of the way so we could pass through. Remarkably, it's a two-way street!
But instead of telling all the stories related to that stuff, I want to share so…

Mercy Ships project trip - Sierra Leone

Part I of V

Travel days Sept 4-5:
Leaving for trips is never fun for me. My past fears of leaving home come crashing down on me as the hours tick down to departure. I know the term ‘depression’ is a very real condition that plagues people so I don’t want to minimize that by using the word flippantly, but the dread I feel of having to leave Alisha and the boys sets me into a depression-like state. I know it’s irrational and not what God would have me feel, but it’s very real and a real area of growth for me to pursue. It’s far worse than the actual leaving itself, which is quite ridiculous when I think about it after the fact.
Overall, the travel was fine. All the flights were fairly smooth and uneventful – exactly how I like them! We had 5 flights in all, so it was a very grueling trip. Denver to Chicago to DC to Brussels to Banjul (Capital city in The Gambia) to Freetown. Including our team, there were 31 Mercy Ships people arriving on the flight – all but one of us got our bags (a youn…

Sierra Leone trip

This Sunday, September 4th, I fly out on my next project trip to Freetown, Sierra Leone!
I described the project in my previous post so if you want to learn more about it, see below under 'Late Summer Update...".

The 'Africa Mercy' - Mercy Ships' floating hospital that has been docked in Freetown, S.L. since January 2011. We'll be staying on the ship and heading into town each day to assess the three hospitals (pictured below). ...It goes without saying that our accommodations for this trip will be "slightly" more comfortable than on most other EMI trips.

As always, please pray for Alisha and the boys who are left behind. In many ways, the sacrifice they make during these trips far exceeds anything I have to endure. The craziness of our Summer has now given way to the even crazier-ness of the Fall! School and soccer are both back in full swing so free time is at a premium and just getting through the day is an achievement. With me gone for nearly two w…