Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sweatin' My Djibouti Off

By Kristen's Husband: I know it's been a while since my last entry on here (I only have one other one), but I wanted to send an update of what I've been up to Africa. I'm currently deployed to Africa supporting humanitarian construction operations throughout the Horn of Africa. My job is more of a "desk job" compared to other people in my office; I am not a 'country engineer', but I do support engineering operations in my deployed location and I augment the country engineers when necessary. I recently returned from Uganda where I provided engineering expertise during a preconstruction meeting for replacing a deteriorated ceiling in a pediatric wing of a clinic. I have also performed construction inspections for various schools and clinics in Djibouti. All very good and rewarding work. While in Djibouti and Uganda, I am/was able to travel and enjoy (or try to enjoy in Djibouti's case) the surrounding areas. Here are some of the pictures from my experiences:
This is a clinic we funded in Djibouti. We typically don't construct a lot of building using military labor, this is so the local population gains employment (unemployment is beyond terrible here) and experience in different construction methods.
This is part of a medical school in Djibouti where we are increasing their classroom capability.
This is another section of the school, I really enjoy their ladder they built. Who says you need more than one nail on each side of the ladder steps? Probably the same person who says the gaps should be equal distance and everything should be parallel.
This is the beginning phases of a clinic for a nomad group of Djiboutians. This one has interesting stories with the local "government" expecting hand-outs to work on "their" land. Don't you think a free clinic is pretty good hand-out?
In Uganda, we are repairing a ceiling in a hospital complex, it's actually fairly large for the given population. I really enjoyed these pictures of how to be sanitary. It's amazing to learn that cholera still exists in the world. One of our translators actually contracted it when I first arrived in Africa from city water. Scary!
Behind me is the "Djiboutian Grand Canyon" with Abdi (one of my Djiboutian translators), the landscape of Djibouti is not exciting unfortunately, just imagine what you see behind me, but flat, and that's practically the rest of the country.
Luckily, the one thing Djibouti does have going for it is vibrant coral and water ocean water.
A good shot at some of the fish and coral.
While I was in Uganda we had a half day to go on a game drive. It's amazing all the animals are free to roam where ever they want.
I don't know what's cooler, the giraffes (my favorite animal) or the smiling warthog in the lower left.
Now this is what I call a road block. It probably took us 15 min to get passed the elephant. More like it took 15 minutes before he let us pass. He eventually moved to the side, but as we passed he charged at us. That was pretty frightening. Luckily I had a good driver.
This is a great shot of a very dirty water buffalo. Most of them had birds that just rested on them. It's like something out of the Jungle Book or Lion King.
Here's my driver, wearing a FC Kaiserslautern shirt. How random is that!? My driver played soccer for the Uganda national team and has a friend that plays for FCK.
Here is a great touristy shot while I was at the equator. Unfortunately no water swirling demonstrations were happening while I was there.
This is me and the country engineer Bong at the "source" of the Nile River at Lake Victoria. There's a spring that comes up through the lake (you can actually see it) which we are standing next to near the sign.

I'm almost half way done with my deployment and I should be fairly busy for a good remaining portion of the time I have left. As far as deployments go, this one is very cush, but time away from my beautiful wife Kristen is never easy. I miss and love her very much and I miss everyone else back home as well. At least I can say I'm making a difference here and it's certainly a visible one. I hope the rest of my deployment continues to go by quickly so I can get back home to Kristen and the pets.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quick Updates

- Finals this week.  1,2,3...ready, set, go!

- After subbing the past few weeks here and there, I have a new profound admiration for elementary school teachers.

- I hit the ten pound lost mark.  I know my clothes are fitting looser, but I don't see the difference.  I wonder if I will always feel like the fat girl?!

- Celebrating your anniversary while your husband is deployed blows.  Period.  But, cookies help.  Just a little.

- Making friends is harder as you grow older.  At least for me it is.  Doing a lot of self discovery lately.

- Officially 1/3 done with this deployment.  Yay!  The more time that passes, though, the more I miss him.  Wonder if/when that goes away...  And how numb will it feel if it does?

- I am still trying to figure out where I "fit" in this world.  I am getting to a whole other level of spirituality and think that I need to have more talks with God.  Maybe he can help.

- I really have the traveling bug right now, but no one to travel with.  I wonder if I could muster up the courage to go somewhere alone???