Kenya Trip - Post 2: Early days (June 1-3)

As a team leader, I'm not supposed to choose favorites amongst
the team...but I clearly had one on this trip.
We actually had two EMI teams arriving on the same flights, and to my knowledge, this is the first time that’s happened. Another team led by Gary and Kevin from our office in Colorado are working at another orphanage starting up in Western Kenya. So, in the arrival hall at Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi, we had 21 EMI’ers in all.

Fortunately for our team, the orphanage we’re working with (‘Into Abbas Arms’) is located only about 1-1/2 hours from Nairobi, unlike the other team’s site, which is around 7-8 hours drive from the capital. Nairobi sits up at just over 5000 ft elevation, so it was a steady climb on the drive out to reach our site, which is at an elevation of nearly 8800 ft.
The IAA site from above - the building next to the red marker
is where the EMI team stayed during the trip.
The civil engineers walking the site. You'll notice the rain boots
and even an umbrella - not the typical Africa trip that's for sure!
As I’ve done on many projects, I’m doing the survey for this trip. Alisha and a couple others from the team helped, as did a small group of 5 Kenyan university engineering students. One of the boys from the orphanage, Nelson, is now at university and is studying civil engineering. We asked the ministry to invite some local engineers to come spend time with our team, so Nelson invited 4 friends from his college to come hang out with us for a couple days. It was great having them with us, and it gave us a chance to talk to them and show them what we do and also learn from them and their knowledge of local building practices.
The crackpot survey crew - well, at least the lead surveyor was
a crackpot. The rest of the team seemed to get on well enough.

Fashioning a rod for my hand level -
it's important that the equipment quality
always matches the skill level of the surveyor.
Working with the Kenyan university students.
Not sure why I need equipment to see what Nelson apparently
sees better with his naked eyes.
I’ve probably mentioned it before, but one of the biggest initiatives we’re pursuing at EMI is the inclusion of local engineers and architects in the organization. We’re striving to be ‘all people serving all people’, instead of the ‘West to the rest’ mentality so many mission organizations (including ours, if we’re honest) have tended towards in the past. To begin with, we’re trying to achieve a goal of 25% involvement by local engineers/architects for all levels of engagement with EMI – volunteers, interns and even staff – within the next 5 years. As of the beginning of 2015, we had achieved a level of approximately 10%, organization-wide.
The students even got a crash course in photography from EMI
photographer (and spouse to Kevin, one of the co-leaders
of the other EMI team in Kenya) Jenni Keiter.
Jordan in a sea of kids at the nearby school where the IAA
children attend. The blonde woman is Jane Gravis, the Founder
and Director of the IAA children's home.
Alisha became a magnet for the kids during the week, especially
after she started teaching every morning in the pre-school on
the IAA campus (both IAA kids and village kids alike attend
the pre-school, Monday through Friday mornings).

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