Here's where we're looking:
Throughout the Bible, we are specifically called to take care of the poor, the orphans, and the widows.
"...visit orphans and widows in their affliction..."
"Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed."
"Learn to do good; Seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow."
Most of the ministries that we work for are focused on one, or all, of these three groups. However, Gordon & Cheryl Roedding of the Christian Missionary Alliance saw a need and heard a call beyond these three types of people. When Jesus said "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," (Matthew 28:19) the Roeddings understood the importance of spreading the Gospel to all people groups, including educated college students and business professionals. To do this, they decided to teach English classes near the local university in their city of Bamako, Mali.
Before I started working on this project I hoped that I misheard them, and that they really said Bali...
Although both are sandy…I think the similarities stop there. Mali is known as the home to Timbuktu and is becoming better known to Americans now because of its 8 cases of Ebola. The architecture is a mixture of simple African, Dogon, and Sudanese styles. It is also hot. And dry.
The current building that Cheryl & Gordon use for their English program Go Global, has been outgrown. The couple is interested in designing a large community center that could be used for meetings, conferences, and classes. As the clients don't own property yet, nor have they raised the funds necessary for construction, I am focusing on a schematic design and brochure that they can use for fundraising and support. Once they are further along in the process (and our West Africa office in Senegal has been opened) EMI will make a site visit to develop the design for construction.
|Hope Community Center Progress, Bamako, Mali|
Since 1977, Bongolo Hospital has been serving the people of Gabon and neighboring countries. Not only does this hospital treat thousands of people per year, it also trains local African nurses and surgeons, offers AIDs clinics, and leads many patients to Christ. Over the years, EMI has designed and master-planned many buildings and additions for Bongolo. This semester I have been developing an eye clinic that will be extremely beneficial to the center. Currently, about 70% of cataract surgeries in Gabon are performed at Bongolo. With this new facility, the doctors will be able to treat and train even more people.
|Bongolo Eye Clinic|
One of the coolest things about working on this project now, is that I will be going to Bongolo in February! As their hospital campus expands, we will be offering design and planning ideas for efficient and calculated growth. I will also be able to see some of our projects under construction.
While in Africa, our team will also be making a trip to Equatorial Guinea, to begin design on a seminary. I don't have too many details on these trips, but they are bound to be two very packed weeks!
I also would like to plug the movie Mary & Martha really quickly. It provides a glimpse at the needs of healthcare (and simple mosquito nets!) in Africa, and reminds me of why I'm doing this work!