Work hasn’t yet started because we wanted to make sure that the project would be properly designed, ensuring that the building will be very durable and work well in relation to future building on the site. We were very fortunate that our good friend and Semiliki supporter Caroline Ray took it up as a Corporate Social Responsibility project with her firm, engineering consultants, Arup, as an Arup Cause project. This means that they are providing their engineering, design and project management advice to the local team in Bukavu, who will build the operating block.
Caroline is just back from Bukavu having conducted a survey of the St Matthieu site. She shares a few words about her experience here:
It was a privilege to visit Bukavu and the Health Centre at St Matthieu. I was given a very warm welcome by the team, particularly Bahati and Dr Denise. Many thanks to them and to the Bishop for hosting me and making my visit enjoyable as well as productive for the project. Land has been cleared and levelled for the operating theatre building and in the 4 days I was there we managed to discuss the draft plans for the new building both with the medical staff and with two local engineers. The site has some constraints as, similar to the entire town of Bukavu, it lies on a steep slope. We discussed options for how to deal with the levels and came up with solutions to many of the technical challenges. All of this was achieved with a mixture of French, Kiswahili, sketches and smiles…not to mention pacing the ground with a tape measure, much to the amusement of waiting patients and relatives at the busy maternity ward.
I’m amazed at the dedication of all the staff who tirelessly serve the needs of the local population whilst working in very difficult, cramped conditions. I can see why this project is so badly needed and am happy that in a few weeks, with a few more tweaks to the design, we should be in a position to start construction on site.
Part of the cleared site. Watch this space…
You can see the final plan for the operating block, currently being drawn up by the engineer in Bukavu, here: Bukavu operating theatre building plan 15-07-14.
Another post will follow soon on the blog when the work has begun!