Calgary Engineer Helps Design Hope in Honduras

Henry Doornberg’s short-term mission trip, unlike many, did not involve bricks and mortar but rather computers and ideas. Doornberg, an electrical engineer from Calgary, Alberta, is a member of River Park Christian Reformed Church.

Henry Doornberg, with his daughter Abigail, who documented the trip as the media professional on the team.

He recently returned from a project trip to Honduras as part of a team of 13 architects, engineers, and design professionals who volunteered their time with Engineering Ministries International to design a medical clinic called Clínica El Buen Pastor.

From the project’s work hub at a small boarding school, the team staged daily trips to the project site, to the existing clinic, and to local construction sites and suppliers. They also held collaborative design charrettes with the clinic doctors.

“One of the major tasks I had,” said Doornberg, “was to determine if the neighboring power substation would create havoc on any diagnostic equipment operating within the new clinic, such as EEG and ECG machines.” With a delight that perhaps only someone in the field can appreciate, Doornberg explained the second law of thermodynamics: “Equilibrium is created as the distance from the substation and its transmission lines offsets the effect of electromagnetic radiation. Problem solved as long as we’re far enough back from the emitting sources!”

The death of Doornberg’s father in December 2012 and the desire to do something to honor him provided the impetus for this mission trip. Doornberg and his father, who was in construction, had worked together on a number of projects over the years. “This health clinic in Honduras . . . fit in well with my work experience and knowledge and tied in nicely with the kind of project work Dad and I enjoyed doing together,” he said.

“I am glad that the Lord has given me the ability to do what I do, and that I was able to use my skills on a volunteer basis,” said Doornberg. “Hopefully this will in some small way create a larger impact on lives in Santa Maria del Real as this vision for a new clinic comes to fruition.”

The team is continuing to work on more design details and will provide Clínica El Buen Pastor with a final report within the next six months.

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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