Our second day in Kenya at Into Abba’s Arms dawned at approximately 10:00 P.M. Colorado time. After group Bible study and a little music we got to work. By we I mean them. I just followed the survey crew and took photos. Doesn’t feel like work, except for shooing cows out of the way and keeping watch for large snakes.
I did get to make myself useful fairly early on as our electrical engineers needed to gather some information that was etched in small print onto the side of a transformer which was mounted about 20 feet up a sketchy looking pole. My big zoom saved them from having to send our intern up a ladder. If you’re like me (theatre major) you might have thought transformers were cool toys from the eighties that change into things like cars and hit movies. No, it’s some sort of electrical box thingy that brings power to our homes and occasionally electrocutes squirrels with a very loud bang.
In his communications with IAA, Brad asked if there happened to be any Kenyan design students in the area whom we could invite to work alongside us. Nelson, a resident of IAA and now a college student, is studying engineering and brought several of his classmates in for a few days. This is the sort of thing EMI is trying to do more of, the mentoring of local nationals whether they are students or professionals looking for further training. Each of the students here had taken two or three surveying classes. Brad had elected to not haul in the big equipment, which uses fancy processes I cannot elaborate upon to take measurements and calculate things for you. It’s great, but a bit heavy for international travel. And having lugged a 28-pound camera bag through the airports I don’t blame him. I might shoot the next project trip entirely with an iPhone, but I digress.
Anyway, the team was using very long tape measure and a small spotting scope thingy. I don’t know what it’s really called and I think Brad is napping so I can’t ask. It got the job done, but it’s a bit crude and difficult compared to the fancy gear. Either way, trigonometry is involved so it’s where I leave off, but the Kenyan students seemed to be taking it all in and enjoying the experience and extra training.
During a slow moment one of the students, John, was looking over my camera. Sensing his interest, I showed him a few things and let him take a few snaps of his own. He was instantly hooked and I ended up teaching an impromptu photography course. I really enjoy teaching photography so this was a very pleasant surprise and a highlight of the week for me. John has a good eye and if the whole engineering career path does not pan out for him he could fall back on photography.
I have to add one thing: these architects and engineers amaze me. It’s not just because they can do math in their heads and I cannot. It’s the confidence, the ability to just come in here and know what to do. We arrived, settled our bags into our rooms, met with Jane (founder of IAA) and they all just dove in and got to work. I, on the other hand, got out the camera and kind of stood around awhile thinking, “Ummmm….” Also, they stay up all night. Or at least most of it. Well, the architects are mostly the ones pulling all-nighters. And actually, just one of them. Then they fall asleep between dinner and our evening wrap-up meeting and it’s fun. I won’t name names but I did catch it on video. And it’s on my Vimeo channel.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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