Sunday, March 1, 2015

EMI + Bongolo

The first leg of this project trip was spent in LeBamba, Gabon at Bongolo Hospital. It was a huge privilege to go to Bongolo, as EMI has done two previous trips and other in-house projects for this hospital. We love partnering with Bongolo, because as part of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) they are having a huge impact on the nation of Gabon. Not only do they provide healthcare for 1/3 of the country, but they are striving to train local African surgeons, nurses, and midwives so that it is no longer necessary for westerners to provide so much of the healthcare. Currently, the hospital staff includes American general surgeons, physicians, and opthamologists, surgical residents of many nationalities, Congolese general practice physicians, and Gabonese CRNAs. An average of 900 patients are seen each week.

Overall, the travel time to Bongolo was about 3 days
On the way to Lebamba we stopped at a pastor's house in Lambaréné for lunch. They fed us omelets, tomatoes, baguettes, and mysterious local fruits that were far too sour to eat! 
Our transportation for the 11 hour ride from Libreville to Lebamba was this van. It only took the American doctor about 7-8 hours to drive it, but Africans are known for their unique view of time. Nothing is too important to hurry.
This is the whole design team plus Keir, the head surgeon (red shirt), Ally, a visiting nurse that cooked dinner for all of us every night (front and center), and Paul the ground's keeper (the head popping up in the way back)
Our goal at Bongolo was to provide several things. First, we came up with a new master plan so that the hospital's future growth is strategic and functional. Second, we were tasked with the design of a surgical consultation space, a lecture hall and dry lab for the nursing school, and a new lab closer to the center of the campus. We also had a team of 4 electrical engineers that analyzed the entire site and provided suggestions for improved electrical practices. Work on these trips is intense. Most days were from 7am-midnight. Now that we are back in the office, we will continue to develop our drawings into a construction set that can be used to build our designs.

The team discussing master planning with two of the surgeons
Beautiful Bongolo Church

1 comment:

  1. Looks amazing and exhausting! What is the native language? French?