By: Brian Granse
I was called by God to join the team that went to Guinea Bissau in February 2017. This trip was my very first time overseas. God placed the WAVS School, out of the other exposure trip opportunities, as a special interest to me. I suppose part of that reason is that it’s a vocational school that offers welding as one of its main courses.
Doing some welding in the WAVS Shop
Welding was my heartfelt desire that I first became aware of in high school, and now I have been working in manufacturing for 22 years as a welder. With that said, and having my manufacturing skills/experience, I was really impressed with the equipment resources that are present in the welding and machine shop at the WAVS school. I really wasn’t expecting to see that type of equipment available for the students to learn from! While I toured the welding department I remember saying a few times that I don’t even have such a nice mig welder of my own, and that you can’t even find what they have at Home Depot (and Home Depot has some nice machines). The machine shop in the welding department was truly outfitted to be able to manufacture anything from steel that could possibly be needed, whether it’s of thin or thick steel! Again the available equipment is beyond what I had expected. Any student that has the opportunity to attend this school is blessed. It was also comforting to witness safety being used, for instance PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) from the instructors and students. Things like safety glasses, gloves and earplugs were all in use!
Helping to install some security gates with the welding students
The staff of the school was another standout for me. I did attend a few of the English classes where I learned how well Mario (a native to that area and a WAVS teacher) spoke. He was very fluent in English. No joke, even I could learn some things about English in his classroom (Don’t tell anyone, but I felt exposed. haha!)
Drawing near to our departure from Africa we got to tour Bissau. It was really cool to see the land where the new WAVS campus will be. It’s about 40 miles from the current WAVS school. Before visiting the land, we had the chance to meet and be shown around a private university that is about a mile away from the new school site. It was a very friendly interaction from the university’s director and he even went with us to the new WAVS school site. These two schools will compliment each other with the courses available.
All in all, during the two weeks of exposure from landing in Dakar to leaving Africa our team was very well taken care of by a strong team that is composed of from the WAVS staff, and other missionaries. They are just super great people.
I will be a contributor to the workings and financial support of this school over the long run.
I am looking forward to another trip.
English Conversation Club