Meet Ashley Hoffman

Myrtle Beach resident, Ashley Hoffman, a 23 year-old 2007 graduate of Clemson University with a B.A. in Architecture, will soon start her first professional job. No, she’s not working for a local architectural firm; Ashley is going to Jinja, Uganda, for four months as an architectural intern for Engineering Ministries International (eMi). She will leave August 12 for Colorado Springs, Co., for a week of orientation and then head to Africa.

July 2007 Candid

Why Uganda and why eMi?

I thought about this for a year before I committed. I have a friend who also volunteered with eMi in Uganda and loved the experience. It’s the perfect time for me to do a mission trip, as I’m unattached and not ready to settle down. I’ll learn a lot about architecture, too. I plan to go to graduate school in a few years, but my professors all recommend that we work a few years first. I could have gone to other places, but Uganda appealed to me the most.

I like that eMi is a Christian ministry. They ask for a pastor recommendation and your faith background, as well as your educational background, as part of the application process. I also had to raise my own funds for the trip. Fortunately, my parents are sponsoring me, but I did write support letters asking for prayer.

What will you do there?

I think I will work mostly in the Jinja office, but will go out in the field for some projects. Some of the work that has been completed includes schools, hospitals, churches, orphanages and water systems.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

I don’t know, really. Most people there speak English, and I will be staying with an architect, his family and two other interns. We will have internet access, so I can keep in contact with friends and family. I’m not taking my blow dryer! I also have to dress like the locals; a lot of long skirts, no low cut blouses, etc. I’ve never done a mission trip, and I’m really excited!

eMi is a non-profit organization made up of architects, engineers, surveyors and construction managers who donate their skills to serve the poor and needy around the world. They have designed over 380 development projects in over 70 countries and territories. For more information about eMi, visit their website, www.emiusa.org.

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