Hello everyone, here is an update on my life and activities.

Work and Tenwek

Intern Housing
The first intern housing building has been completed successfully and six interns and two residents are currently living there. The second building will be very similar but with six apartments instead of five and we have just finished pouring the third floor. Currently, we are working to build the staircase to the standards of a building housing doctors–always a challenge, but it becomes a great example of professionalism by the end of the project. The second building is due to be complete June 25th. See it below in construction phase next to its just completed cousin.

CT Scanner
More excitingly, Toshiba donated a CT scanner to Tenwek and we are working to have it installed now. Tenwek currently sends patients three hours away when scans are needed and the machine’s installation will dramatically change patient care for many conditions at Tenwek. We are currently fundraising for the project and are blessed to have just received a $350,000 matching gift towards the $700,000 total budget of the project. Pictured is our team unloading the CT scanner from the container. Two tons is a lot to drag; fortunately, we’ll have professional help to put it in place.

We are working with Engineering Ministries International (an awesome group that coordinates volunteer professionals from all over the ‘States to work on particular needed projects abroad) to prepare the hospital’s utilities (power, water, sanitation) for their expansion. The hydroelectric powerplant made a huge difference when it was installed. Even now, when there isn’t enough water in the dam, power can cost us tens of thousands of dollars in a month. In fact, though we (the hospital) lost money in both 2008 and 2009, the losses were smaller than the amount we paid in external power costs. On the water side, we hope to both expand our capacity and make it clean enough to be comfortable drinking water for everyone.
This is the river from which we get our water (you can see it starts a bit brown) and the waterfall and dam we use to generate power

Grant: Tenwek is applying to USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad program for a grant towards the construction of a new building for the Tenwek Dental and Eye units. It will be a hugely improved space for them with superior access for their masses of outpatients, improved service facilities, and even a few apartments for trainees to stay. We are in the process of writing the grant now, some of which is fun writing, for instance: how does this project advance American ideas and practices. (and how cool is that computer generated image? It took me a minute to realize how they did it.)

Life at Tenwek
Youth Group:
In the local community, I’ve been enjoying working with our church youth group. The group started less than a year before I arrived in Kenya and it has been great to watch it mature from our early simple bible studies to a group with some studies led by the students, an attempt at a self sustaining chicken farm for eggs, and a mission trip led by the youth to a community over an hour away. Here, they are building (and then mudding) a house for the grandmother of two families of orphans.

Social Life at Tenwek: The life of a guest at Tenwek is always fun, but especially now that I’m living in the village about a mile away from Tenwek. I live in a single room attached to their storehouse on their small farm. The family is nice and it is really cool how they both have salaried jobs, operate a shop in town, and run their farm. I love the Kenyan emphasis on education and, even though their kids are young, sometimes I sit in their living room with them each of us doing math homework–of one kind or another. (Sorry about not having a picture, I need to take my camera into the village).

I will be leaving the Kenya June 26th, so all those projects finishing up in June is both fortuitous and a bit imposing. The Intern housing is set to complete June 27th, the CT will be commissioned June 21st, the Grant is due June 30, and the Engineering Ministries International team should be coming in late May.

More excitingly, I have just received word that I was admitted to the M.Eng program in Biomedical Engineering at Duke where I expect to go in the fall. I’ve begun a review of basically all the math I’ve learned in my life. So far I’m at first semester freshman year of college, but I admit, this is taking up time I might have used blogging (not that there wouldn’t be enough time if I didn’t hang out with visitors so much, but I have no problem with that).

Thanks for everyone’s support


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