Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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 weeks, Alisha will more than have her hands full getting the boys out the door for school in the morning and shuttled around town for practices in the afternoon/evenings. In some ways, going on the project trip is a respite for the expense of Alisha's schedule being turned upside down! So please pray for her and the boys.

Of course, we'd also appreciate your prayers for me and the team's travel and time in Sierra Leone. This is a very different kind of EMI trip, and our scope of work for our time in-country is pretty aggressive. Pray for safety in travel, health as we tour the three government hospitals there, and efficiency and wisdom as we try to do our best to serve the needs of Mercy Ships.

The weather is also not ideal right now - it's the end of the rainy season and they get a huge amount of rain there (on average, 26 inches of rain in September alone!). Pray that our efforts won't be hampered by bad weather.

Here are some pictures of the three hospitals in Freetown, Sierra Leone that we'll be evaluating. Each campus has several buildings, so these are just a few of the many buildings we'll be looking at.

Ola During Children's Hospital

Princess Christian Maternity Hospital

Connaught Hospital

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Late Summer Update...

Summer Haiti Project
Interns Brett and Stacy did a great job of finishing the project report in a very shortened semester. It was completed, bound and sent off to CEDAN by the end of July! The report will make it's way to Haiti in the coming weeks as a CEDAN team heads back to the site.

Fall Project
My fall project trip is to Sierra Leone to work with a well established ministry called Mercy Ships. Up until last week, it was looking like it would be postponed until early November. However, in the 11th hour, I found an electrical engineer to round out the team so we are back on schedule for departing September 4th thru 16th. We have a smaller team of 8 due to limitations on accommodations since we'll be staying on the Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships' primary floating hospital ship.
Mercy Ships docks their ship all over Africa for months at a time, providing medical care for the local people with the help of volunteers doctors and nurses. They also provide training for the local health care practitioners, but have seen through the years that this training is often marginalized when the locals doctors return to substandard facilities. So they approached the governement of Sierra Leone and asked if they could work on upgrading the governement hospitals there.
As a result, they contacted EMI to come do an evaluation of the these hospitals (there are 5 and we'll be evaluating the first 3, which are all in the capital city of Freetown - the remaining 2 rural hospitals will be looked at by a future team). So, we'll have our work cut out for us to evaluate 3 large facilities with just 11 days in-country, but I have a very experienced and qualified team to do it. We have 3 civil engineers, 2 electrical engineers, and a structural engineer to help myself and an EMI intern. (As a sidenote, the structural engineer is my brother-in-law Joe LaBrie who will be joining his first EMI trip. I'm very excited to have Joe coming along!)
This is a different type of EMI trip and it is a very special opportunity to work with both Mercy Ships and the government of Sierra Leone. Please pray for wisdom, efficiency and effectiveness for our team.

Disaster Response
You may have read about the growing disaster in the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan) due to the drought and subsequent famine. The region only received 10% of normal rainfall this year and though it hasn't been in the news much, it is a very serious situation. One UK report released a few days ago predicts that over 400,000 children alone could die in the next couple of months due to starvation.
So, EMI's Disaster Response program is partnering with CRWRC (Christian Refromed World Relief Committee) by sending over a civil engineer to help set up some temporary water and sanitation systems to help in the region. CRWRC received a large grant from the Canadian government to fund this work, so they contacted EMI for the technical expertise.
I have been recruiting prospective volunteers for this position and earlier this week we found a very qualified civil engineer who is able to go. Time is of the essence in this situation, so the volunteer is departing for Kenya tomorrow (Friday) and will be there for 3 weeks. The need is for up to 3-4 months, so we'll continue to recruit to fill the position for the duration of the need.

EMI Staff Conference
Last week, the entire world staff of EMI gathered up in Estes Park at the YMCA camp for our World Staff Conference - the first one in 7 years. Over 130 people (staff and children) met to connect, discuss the future of EMI, and share our highs and lows. It was so neat to finally meet everyone in EMI, and especially nice to reconnect with all the East Africa staff and families.

Back to school
Alisha returned to work last week to prepare for school, which started this morning! The boys were exciting and ready for another year! Where did the Summer go?!

'Glory, Glory Man United!'
(That's the official team song, fyi!) Last Sunday, Manchester United opened the new season with a 2-1 win to begin their defense of last season's 19th Premier League title! Happy times around the Crawford household!

Go Ducks!
We are anxiously awaiting the start of the new Oregon Ducks' season - the opener is at Texas Stadium in Dallas against LSU! We're ranked 3rd and LSU is ranked 4th in the pre-season poll! it any wonder that Fall is by far my favorite time of year!!

...once again for your faithful prayers and support! We are so blessed by all of our supporters. God continues to meet our needs through all of you and we are so grateful for, and humbled by, your faithfulness and generosity!