Disaster Response

I can hardly believe that I am writing this post from Nepal. I arrived late Saturday night after a long flight with stopovers in Chicago and Abu Dhabi. If you asked me a month ago what I would be doing in mid-July, this would not have been my guess. The opportunity came last-minute when I received an e-mail from Engineering Ministries International (EMI), an organization I have worked with in the past, calling for volunteers for a Disaster Response (DR) trip to Nepal. I was on the DR e-mail list because I did DR training at EMI’s ACDP Conference (Association for Christian Design Professionals) back in 2012. Since I had finished school, I decided to respond with my availability. I flew out two weeks after finding out I would be going on the trip. During those two weeks I did a lot of research into stone masonry construction. I am in a team with a project leader and structural engineer to propose improved construction methods for a housing rebuilding project that is being implemented by an organization called Tearfund. The issue that we are addressing is that people are already starting to rebuild their homes, but are often using the same methods as before. We intend to propose very simple solutions that work with their current methods to make their homes more earthquake resistant. We will develop a manual that will be provided in training to local builders and homeowners.

We spent Sunday in Kathmandu at the Tearfund headquarters. We went to an international church in the morning (apparently Nepali Christians worship on Saturday) and then met in the afternoon with the Tearfund representatives to plan out the next several days. On Monday morning we drove three hours to the Makwanpur region where we are spending a few days to study materials, costs, current building methods, and where the houses failed. Please continue to pray for safe travels, good health, and effective work and interactions. I pray that even though we are doing very physical work and won’t have time to develop deep relationships, that through our actions people will experience God’s grace. I look forward to updating you on how the trip goes! If you are interested in learning more about EMI or supporting them, check out their disaster response page on their main website.

View of Kathmandu on the drive out of the city

View of Kathmandu on the drive out of the city

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