Many of you may wonder “What does an eMi project trip look like?” Here’s a snapshot of our activities each day.
Sunday, May 31 - We arrived in Nairobi at 10pm (after having flown from Denver through Chicago and London) and got to our local hotel at about midnight. Slept to the sounds of a mild party with Kenyan rock music and the occasional rooster crowing.
Monday, June 1 - We met Holly, Pastor Julius and his son Erick at the hotel, loaded into two 9-passenger vans and drove across the beautiful Rift Valley to St. Anna’s Guesthouse in Kisumu, where we would work that week. Most nights of the trip we had dinner at Pastor Julius's home.
Tuesday, June 2 - After breakfast we drove 90 minutes to the project site in Kabondo. After a walk around the land, we went to meet the 50 orphans in a structure they use for school about 5 minutes drive away. We then met with Pastor Julius, his sister (who is the government’s appointed supervisor of the children’s care), and Holly to discuss their vision for the orphanage. There were many questions to consider, such as the type of housing (home vs dorm), what to do as the kids get older, whether to have latrine facilities or restrooms and showers in each home, whether to have kitchens in each home or a community dining facility. Each decision comes with trade-offs that range from cost to the actual feel and function of the community. We returned to Kisumu and Pastor’s home for dinner. After we got back to the hotel at 9pm, about half of the group shared their personal testimony with the team. The remaining team members would share theirs over the next day or so. This is a rich time in every eMi trip as we learn how similar we all are despite our very diverse backgrounds.
Wednesday, June 3 - The architects stayed in Kisumu to work on developing the plans of the orphan homes and dining facility so we could share the progress with Pastor and Holly that evening. I took the remaining team members back to the project site where we performed percolation tests on the soil (to determine the size and type of on-site wastewater system), water quality testing for two of the community’s water sources (a 45-foot deep open well and a nearby river), and we used a 60-meter tape, compass, sight level, and GPS unit to survey the layout and topography of the site. It was a lot of fun stretching the tape through 7-foot tall corn fields and our team had the energetic assistance of the local Kabondo community members as we went about our work!
Thursday, June 4 - Our team got feedback on the design and spent much of the day developing the REVIT models for the buildings while the site team worked on analyzing the survey and water testing data from the previous day. Typically, we have about 4-5 workdays like this one but due to the extended transportation on this project and the need to present on Saturday, we really only had 3 days to pull our design together into a presentation. This could have caused great stress to our team but we worked together incredibly smoothly and joyfully.
Friday, June 5 - After getting more feedback on the layout of the inside of the homes and the dining facility, and coordination of the septic and absorption field layout, our civil team met with the local Living Water International representatives to determine the factors to consider in drilling a new well to serve the kids. Unlike the current water sources which have bacterial contamination and must be boiled or treated with chlorine before use, our project will include a 60-meter deep sealed well, a pump and two days worth of water storage. We hope that the LWI folks will be in position to help us further when Touched By Love is ready to dig!
Tomorrow I will share the details on the remaining days of the trip, including our presentation of the completed project and our closing time with the full team in Nakuru.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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