Prior to the official start of the conference, I was part of a 3-day mission hospital design symposium. This symposium aimed to develop an online resource that can be used by our staff and volunteers when designing a hospital in the developing world. There is a large gap between the quality of hospitals in the United States and those in countries that our projects are in. It was our goal to determine an appropriate level of design that improved their current healthcare conditions, but was reasonable for the type of equipment and services they would be able to offer. We even discussed topics such as the Ebola outbreaks that will surely change the way mission hospitals are designed and operated. With input from several healthcare professionals, both from the US and Africa, we were able to make some progress towards creating standards to follow for future projects. In the coming months I will continue to work on this mission hospital resource.
On Friday, the ACDP conference began with lectures and activities for a special arm of EMI, the Disaster Response volunteers. EMI has been responding to disasters worldwide since 1981, and has a great network of volunteers who are ready to drop everything at a minute's notice to provide immediate aid to survivors of disasters. As part of this, the conference also offered emergency preparedness training. Our favorite part of this was when the interns stalked and photographed different volunteers as they walked around downtown Colorado Springs in order to point out the volunteers' levels of awareness. Not one of them were caught taking photos! I guess we should all be more aware of our surroundings…that creeps me out!
On Saturday, lectures ran from 8:30 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon. Participants could choose from a wide range of topics including design in the developing world, cross-cultural ministry, water sanitation and hygiene, appropriate technologies, and information for new volunteers, staff, or spouses. At night, we got to hear an amazing talk from Nabeel Jabbour, a Christian man born in Syria, raised in Lebanon, educated in Egypt, and now working with the Navigators in Colorado Springs. Nabeel gave us a glimpse at some cultural differences between the Arab world and the US. He even offered us copies of his book, The Crescent Through the Eyes of the Cross! I will be reading this soon as I am so excited to hear more about Islamic culture in the midst of so much news on ISIS and the Middle East.
Dirk & Rex discussing the design of Mission Hospitals:
I got to see all of these girls that I hadn't seen since we interned 2 years ago!