Saturday, May 25, 2013

Project Test Pile

Project work continues. On the 13th we dug and poured a test pile so we can confirm the soil bearing capacity. We are now waiting for the concrete to cure so we can do load tests on the pile to measure load vs deflection. In total we are looking at having to do about 320 piles for this project. Thankfully we can proceed with this pile work during the monsoon season with minimal disruption and once the pile work is completed we will be through the bulk of the wet season.

We continue to receive additional approvals that we have been waiting for. Only one minor approval remaining.

Pile Boring Rig

Very labor intensive operation

and dirty

Pile reinforcing steel

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Hospital Project - Renderings

We have recently had the final renderings completed for the project.  These images include a number of cost saving features compared to the previous models that we were given. We are excited to see how this project is starting to shape up and move forward.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Severe Cyclonic Storm - Mahasen

It sounds as if Holly and I are about to experience our first Cyclone.

Mahasen is barrelling straight toward us if the current predictions stay true.  It is due to hit land in about two days (Early Friday morning).  Thankfully it is only ranked as a CAT 1 Severe Cyclonic Storm with winds predicted between 120-150 km/h. In general all the expat houses are secure and our compound is on a relatively high embankment off the floodplains (20 - 30' above high tide) so we are relatively safe. Storms like this are much more challenging for those that live in the floodplains and do not have solid houses (Mud, termite infested Wood/Bamboo & Tin). Everyone here has been talking about the devastation of the cyclone back in 1991 that hit this area and killed 138,000 people. That was a much more severe storm though as it was a category 5 Super Cyclonic Storm with sustained winds over 250 km/h.

Please pray with us that this storm will not cause loss of property or life.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Holly experienced her first Surgeries here in Bangladesh last week. Thankfully she was not under the anesthesia herself, only a passive observer. I know for myself I am a bit skirmish with the cutting, pulling, blood, etc. during surgery, but Holly seemed to be right into it.

She was able to view an appendix being removed laparoscopically and this one month old baby having the valve between his esophagus and stomach repaired so that he can be able to eat on his own.

Holly all scrubbed up for the surgery

The one month old baby under Anesthesia

The team preparing for surgery

Dr. John Tripura, our national surgeon

Stitching the incision

X-ray of the Stomach and affected areas

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Project Groundbreaking (Ceremonial)

We had the ceremonial groundbreaking for the project last week (April 26th). At the moment we are still waiting on one final approval in regards to the hospitals property agreement by our American legal team. Once we have this approval we can sign the contract with the contractor and get right to work on the construction of this project. Please pray that we can acquire the documents that our legal team is requesting in a prompt fashion. The whole expat medical team and national hospital staff here are all excited about the new project getting underway as this has been in the works for the past 10 years and beyond.

Harold saying a few words

The official unveiling of the building

Project managers and some of the Doctors

It was a private ceremony with only the hospital staff invited.  There was still in the order of 400+ people.

The official groundbreaking (Ceremonial)

Bengalis are quick to move on from the ceremony to refreshments. (It was a super hot afternoon)

Project Sign. A local artist did a rough painting while we wait for our final digital rendering.

The current model of the hospital (DRAFT).  We are still working with the design firm to finalize this rendering.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Motorbiking in the Hills

Jamin and I took a couple hours one evening to go for a motorbike ride out into the hills. I have been out a couple times with Holly for short rides but never that far out. It was great fun to get out into some unknown territory and through a number of small villages exploring the countryside.  The trail started out on nice paved roads, then to brick roads and finally to simple dirt trails before back to brick and eventually we met up with pavement again. We did about an 80 km loop by heading North toward Chakaria then heading into the hills toward Lama, starting south through the hills and eventually going Southwest until we hit the highway in the next major city south of the hospital. The scenery out in the hills is incredible with the views from the hills looking down on the rice paddies in the valleys, driving through the rubber tree plantations, meeting the locals going about their everyday business along the sides of the roads, etc.


We started out on paved highways. Watch out for oncoming traffic!

Jamin on the Honda XL in the hills

Rice paddies in the hill valleys

Jon taking a quick break to enjoy the scenery

Tobacco plantations in the valleys

Tobacco Plantations (cash crop)

Rice paddies

Brick Roads
Rubber Tree Plantation in the hills

Collecting rubber sap by making notches in the tree and collecting the sap in cups (much like maple syrup)

The rubber sap is dried out in trays then hung out for final drying

Kids chasing after us on the motorbikes

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Jamin & Sarah

It was great to have my brother Jamin & his wife Sarah here for a couple weeks.  Jamin was able to provide some valuable electrical engineering advice and input for the new hospital project along with giving recommendations for upgrades to the existing facility's systems to improve power stability. Sarah was able to help with teaching English at the nursing college, with Holly's girls sports clubs and doing various other tasks to assist with the new hospital project. It really feels like just a couple days ago that I was waiting for them in the Dhaka airport and now today we just dropped them off again. Despite their first two days in country being Hartals (country wide strike) and the last two days being large demonstrations in Dhaka, including what was labeled by the American Embassy as a "Siege of Dhaka" today, we had no major travel issues.  Only minor schedule changes and transportation adjustments. Thank you for coming out to Bangladesh Jamin & Sarah.


Jamin working in the office

English class at the Nursing College 

Jamin looking at the generator substation

Sarah working in our new office

Jamin gathering electrical data

Volleyball at sports club

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Dulahazara Safari Park

Dulahazara Safari Park is only 1 Km south of the Hospital. I would say back when it was originally built it had a good idea, the animals all had very large enclosures that you had to actually use a "Safari" vehicle or go up into tall structures to see the animals. Now however it seems as if the large enclosures would no longer contain the animals so they are penned up like any other typical zoo.  The only difference is now there is a long walk between cages as there is so much land that was designated as roaming areas. It was still an interesting visit as I wanted to see a Bengal Tiger.  

A man (potential tour guide) getting his head rubbed by a monkey

Lots of Monkeys... Picking through garbage.

Asian Bear up in a tree

Really high up in a tree

Bengal Tigers

Very huge Hippos

Burmese Python

It was a hot day - you can see the sweat on Jamin & Me

Group photo with Mr. Elephant

Feeding the elephant some grass

Another quick fun side trip.  Right now we are heading to Cox's to catch a flight this afternoon back to Dhaka.  The last 10 days of their visit has just flown by.