Welcome to the caffeinated engineer! You’re arriving on the eve of my departure to Oxford, England and then to Mwanza, Tanzania. I will be accompanied by my two closest friends: my beautiful wife, Allison, and brother, Derek. We’re headed to Mwanza to check out the existing coffee scene in the city and see if there may be any business opportunities. We are also planning to meet up with Dan Tanner, the director of Mavuno Village. Mavuno Village started as an attempt to help the growing number of children who have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic. Mavuno Village’s mission is to construct a Christian, family-style village, supported in part by farming, which will teach the biblical values of family and equip the children with skills for their future. For more information, I encourage you to visit mavunovillage.org. I visited Dan five years ago after high school and it was my experiences during this trip that guided me to become an engineer.
Now, I am hoping that we can work together in coffee opportunities, but also in projects focusing on sustainability. The first project I will be looking at will be a pilot scale greenhouse on Dan’s property next to Lake Victoria. I will be adding information on this in the projects section of the blog as the details unfold, so stay tuned!
Finally, there’s a whole page on me, but nothing on the other two characters coming on the trip, so here is a quick summary on Allison and Derek.
There’s type A and then there is type Allison. Allison is organized to the extreme and has a list for everything. She keeps my thoughts and energies focused and has been the biggest supporter during my engineering career. She teaches high school English and her main areas of interests are classical education and ballet. Allison was classically educated by her mother and constantly amazes her students and others with her depth of knowledge on all subjects. She can also be found dancing whenever the opportunity presents itself and has begun teaching ballet to her students after school. She is a people person and is a constant reminder to me that relationships are what really matter in this short life.
Forget Red Bull, being around Derek Garde will give you wings. It has been awhile since he was playing little brother. He is the model of living life to the fullest. Several years ago, a childhood friend of Derek’s visited Toledo for a collegiate mission’s trip and saw the poverty that existed within the city. He contacted Derek and two other friends. These four developed an incredible fundraiser—dribbling a soccer ball from Cincinnati to Toledo. In June of 2012, they walked and continuously dribbled a soccer ball all the way to Toledo and raised $12,000 for Toledo Lifeline, an inner-city NGO. If you can’t find him snowboarding, wake boarding, longboarding, or surfing, you may catch him in rare form—studying. Currently a nursing student at the University of Cincinnati, Derek desires to help others above all else and genuineness is his most well-known trait.