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in Senegal

Inside EMI web feature – by Jenni Keiter / Senegal

EMI Senegal's first project trip

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in Senegal

Much of Senegal lies in the Sahel, a transition region from the Sahara desert to the lush jungles of equatorial Africa. As little as 40 years ago this area was lush and green. Years of drought have allowed the Sahara to creep southward, making it impossible for farmers to earn a living. The UN estimates that as many as 50 million people will be forced to leave their homes by 2020.
Sandiara, Senegal
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in Senegal

Eric Toumieux (left) is the founder and director of the Beer Sheba Project. He has lived in Senegal with his family for 17 years. When he purchased this land, the local people thought he was crazy. They believed the land to be cursed. Indeed, desertification had crept in and it appeared to be useless, but 10 years later the campus is an oasis of green. Over 100 species of birds have returned and the farm is thriving. It serves as a training and discipleship school for local students.
Sandiara, Senegal
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in Senegal

A view of homes in the Mbour area. One of the desires we heard was for quality Christian education in Sandiara – a town 20 minutes from Mbour. Many families feel they must send their children to Dakar – nearly two hours away. In partnership with the local community, the Beer Sheba Project wishes to create better schooling close to home. This was the focus of the EMI design project.
Mbour, Senegal
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in Senegal

Gabriel (left) is a Senegalese engineer who joined our team for the week. He wished to practice his English and everyone welcomed the years of knowledge and experience he so willingly shared. Whenever possible, EMI includes local design professionals who understand regional building needs and practices.
Sandiara, Senegal
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in Senegal

Pastor D– is an evangelist at heart—he planted this church in the village. He often plays his drum in villages to attract attention in order to share the gospel. Since many locals gather at church here, the government installed a toilet at the back.
Sandiara, Senegal
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in Senegal

In Senegal, the traditional meal is shared by about five people around one large bowl. Lunch at the Beer Sheba Project was our team’s first experience in dining together this way. It was a tradition we enjoyed repeating!
Sandiara, Senegal
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in Senegal

We met Martijn, a Dutch engineering graduate who was visiting his parents. Martijn had long felt a pull toward missions, specifically with Missionary Aviation Fellowship. Though he was conflicted about finishing his engineering degree, he followed through with it. He was delighted to learn that EMI not only offers an opportunity to use his training to serve God, but shares a building with MAF in Uganda. He joined our team for the week, where he made valuable contributions to the building design.
Mbour, Senegal
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in Senegal

Jason Chandler prepares to climb the water tower for a look around. As EMI’s WASH Program Director, Jason came to search for opportunities to partner with local communities to bring clean water and sanitation help. The community in Gorou has raised funds to repair a broken generator to operate the pumps and water tower. The system can provide enough water for crop irrigation and household use for about 10,000 people, however many people have left since the system broke down.
Gorou, Senegal
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in Senegal

Jason Chandler with Nathan, a Gorou village elder. Nathan was in line to become the next village chief when he fell gravely ill and passed the leadership on to his son. A Christian leader came and prayed for his healing and as a result, Nathan and all his family came to know Christ, as well as many others in the village. Nathan told us he now desires to work for the church because it is the body of Christ.
Gorou, Senegal
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in Senegal

Young boys are often responsible for tending their family’s goats or sheep and gathering baobab leaves and fruit. I watched in awe as this young boy climbed all the way to the top of a tree that was probably 30 meters tall.
Sandiara, Senegal
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in Senegal

Hutch Kerns is a landscape architect and served as our master planner. He was in Senegal for a different mission trip just six weeks prior when he crossed paths with John Agee, who asked him to join the EMI team. Once the Sandiara school design was underway he rarely left the work table. Hutch’s abundance of energy and enthusiasm infected the whole team.
Mbour, Senegal
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in Senegal

Civil Engineer John Agee (left) and Structural Engineer David Wright are pioneering EMI's new Senegal Office. John is a Civil Engineer who spent a month with John Dallmann years ago in Cameroon. He began praying for West Africa and the Wolof people and those who God would send to reach them, not realizing he might be one of them. John’s love for the people and culture of Senegal was evident.

David Wright is the Director of the Senegal office. He is a structural engineer from Northern Ireland who has spent most of his working life in Africa. When EMI first asked the Wrights where they would like to serve, they put the question back: “Where do you most need us?” David’s servant leadership was evident.
Mbour, Senegal


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