Sunday, April 4, 2010

So Many Intersting Stories

I realize that it has been over two weeks since I updated my blog and that I need to bring everyone up to date on what has been happening. I have been busy with projects and school work. The water well project is over budget and I am trying to find ways to cut cost so we can complete the project. It looks like I have it somewhat under control so I should be able to get it finished. Construction here is real eye opener. There are so many things to consider, plus working for an NGO does not help you get the best pricing. I have really had to work with the contractors to get the pricing in line - not a thing I like to do.

The chicken houses are coming along really well and we will be placing our first group of chicks in early May. Everyone is really pleased with the way this project is turning out and we will soon be able to provide a good source of protein to the children at Sonrise School and Shyira Hospital.

Speaking of Shyira Hospital, I just got back from spending 3 days with the King family at Shyira. Caleb King and his wife, both doctors, are medical missionaries who have been running Shyira Hospital for the past seven years. This is a remote hospital on top of one of the mountains about 15 kilometers from Musanze. The Kings came in and rebuilt this facility after it was nearly destroyed during the genocide in 1994. The hospital is powered by two generators, one of which is broken, and some solar panels which are only partially operational. By the standards we are use to in the United States, you would have to say that the facilities are primitive. A good reliable source of power would be a great help not only to the hospital, but to the schools in the nearby area.  I have added that to the list of new projects I am currently working on. We are wanting to build a hydro electric power plant in the valley near the hospital. What and improvement that would be for the whole area.

While I was at Shyira I met so many interesting people. I apologize for not remembering all the names, but there were just so many that it was hard to keep up with them all. I met a couple from Germany. They are Baptists working as medical missionaries for the Anglican Church in the area of HIV/AIDS and they are in the process of constructing a hospice. Who would have ever thought that I would meet German Baptist missionaries sent to work in Africa by the Anglican Church? I also met three young ladies working in the area, two just out of college from the US and one just out of high school from Germany. One girl from the US was working at the hospital and the other two were working at the primary school near by. It is great to see how God brings all these diverse people together to work in hospitals and schools that most people didn't know existed.

For those that are interested in Google Earth, Shyira Hospital is located at 1° 40' 56" S and 29° 37' 44.3" E.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Work Continues

I am sorry that I have not updated my blog is some time, but it has been rather hectic for me the past two weeks. I have started my online class from Memphis Theological Seminary and I have been working on my Master's project, so I have not felt much like blogging. I am not much of a writer anyway, so it does not take much to distract me. All of the construction projects are coming along well. The chicken houses will be complete soon and then we will have the largest egg laying operation in all of Rwanda. The chicken expert from the largest chicken producer in the world, who shall remain nameless for now, was very excited to see the progress we had made. He is also looking forward to getting the chicks in place so that we can prove that this operation will work in Rwanda. The water project at Sonrise is also coming along well, and I hope to have it complete in another 6 weeks.

There is just so much to do here and there are so many places someone can become involved.  Just this past weekend I was asked to look at a potential hydroelectric power plant. They need someone with a background in several different areas of Civil engineering including open channel flow and design of small dams. If anyone in interested in coming and helping on this for a few months let me know.

 I want to let everyone know that all but two items that were stolen during the break-in have been recovered, and how they were recovered is a great story. One of the kids, Kelly Simpson, has posted the story on her blog and I highly recommend that you read her account. It is an extremely interesting story.

 I have included some pictures below from the power plant sight. It is a beautiful area.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

The generator building

The generator building and river

A view of the river

One of the rapids

One of the many waterfalls in the area

Sunday, February 28, 2010

It is not always easy.

Well, all I can say is that this has been a hard week and I can’t believe that it has been ten days since my last post. Where do I start? Why don’t I bring you up to date on some of the construction projects and then move to some of the other things that have been happening.

The chicken houses are progressing nicely and we will have one house completed by the end of next week. The other three should follow quickly and all four houses should be finished by mid April. We should know by mid March when we will get our first chicks and then we will know when we can expect egg production to start. It has been an eye opening experience to watch these houses being constructed. The use of native materials, stone and timber, along with the fact that no power tools have been used, shows what can be done with the right craftsman putting it together.

I also spent time last week tracking down electrical problems at Sonrise Secondary School. It seems that when the latest building was constructed, there was a voltage problem with the outside light and all the florescence bulbs and starters were burned out. We have replaced most of the bulbs and starters, but there are a few that we cannot access.  Extension ladders are hard to find and we have not found an alternate way of reaching some of the fixtures.

I did travel to Kigali this past week to look at another little construction project. It seems that a section of a retaining wall collapsed at the house of one of the Rwandan employees of Bridge2Rwanda. I went down to try to determine the cause of the collapse and to try and identify how to best fix the problem. Since this happened after a heavy rain, I am certain that the water build up behind the wall caused the wall to fall. I am traveling back to Kigali on Tuesday or Wednesday to meet with a contractor to get a quote for repairing the wall.

I have also completed my preliminary engineering work on the water well at Sonrise School. I will be meeting with school officials next week to go over the design and get their input. I still have a long way to go on this project. I have to get material pricing and estimates from contractors on building the pump house and tank foundations. An engineering team from Baylor is coming top work on a water purification system for the well, and I am working on getting them the information they need.

At this point, all I can say is that I have done it again. I have bitten off more than I can chew. I don’t know why I have a hard time telling people no when it comes to church. Please don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying my work at the church, but I think I have more than I can handle. Wait – I know I have more than I can handle!. Like I said in my last post, the English service has the same problems that all churches have - youth, music, Sunday School, communications, you name it, they have it, and if I were working there full time I might be able to make a dent, but with my engineering and construction responsibilities getting in the way, I find that I barely have time to prepare a sermon. I am not sure what I am going to do when my Memphis Theological online class starts!  The church work is challenging, and while I think the preaching experiences are good, I don’t now and never have seen myself as a preacher. It's nice being called Pastor Bob, but I don't think that is really my role.   I am going to have to spend some time working this out and trying to determine what my role should be in the church. I just know that I have more than I can handle now.

 We also suffered through an unfortunate incident on Wednesday night. Our house was broken into and several items were stolen. Four laptop computers were taken, along with a backpack, camera, a computer monitor, a wireless router, a kindle, an Ipod Touch and several other miscellaneous things around the house.  We are not sure how this happened, but the back door was wide open on Thursday morning.  We are unsure of whether the robber had a key or whether by some mishap the door was left unlocked during the night.  We spent all of Thursday morning with the police and they seem to be doing a good investigation.  Andrew Rucyahana, Bishop John’s son, was been a huge help and blessing for us.  He helped with the translation and with the police. The police have our guards in custody, yes we had guard on duty at the time, and they feel like the night guard and his brother are involved with the robbery. (The brother sometimes substitutes for the regular night guard.)  The district police commander lives across the street and he has become involved. It appears that this is a very high profile incident. Hopefully, we will hear something soon and the police can recover some of the stolen items. I was very lucky that none of the items stolen were mine.

Thanks again for your continued prayers and support. Maybe I will have some more upbeat news next week. I have been thinking about writing “Driving in Rwanda part 2.”

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Chicken House No. 1 ready for roofing!

Bio-security house nearly ready for the roof!

Chicken House 2 is ready for ceiling joist and roof.