This is the text of our recent newsletter, which if you are not currently receiving please subscribe. The video in this post I created several days before the newsletter was written, but it goes along with it well.
We have been reading about the shootings in the U.S. today, have read about the recent terror attack in Istanbul, and on and on and on. Houston, we have a problem.
I spent most of today mowing grass and weeding around our baby fruit trees. Plenty of time to ponder on the world and the dire straits we find ourselves in. There was plenty of brooding time, lots of chances to become down and disheartened. Ample opportunity for the total lack of control I have over any of this to grab me by the neck.
Yet I did not spend time dwelling on this negativity. I am staying informed, but I am not allowing it to dominate me. You see, I think I have found a solution for what ails us. We need more good people. We need good people to stop watching the news and to go out and do something. We need the good ones to show a better way. Violence begets violence. Love begets love, Peace begets peace.
It is not easy, and honestly does not always thwart the violence. We took in orphaned and abandoned girls here in Kenya. Embraced them whole heartedly. Our biological children adopted them as sisters and learned the new girls language to help them feel at home. We hugged, kissed, disciplined, and tried to show the love of God to them. It worked, is working. Though not perfectly. A couple of the girls have rejected our embrace and chosen other paths. However the good that has been done outweighs any of the bad.
These girls, the majority of whom are now adults (though still in school as they missed much in the early years,) are good people. They will not take up sniper positions and shoot at some just because they are different than they are. Our girls will not hurt/kill someone they have power over. They are good.
This is the solution. We need more good people.
We can make good people. It takes effort, love, and lots and lots and lots of time.
Yipee! It is raining here in Kasambara, Kenya. In fact as I type this it is raining. The grass has already turned green again, and the trees are soaking up water. Hopefully the trees we have planted can do a lot of growing this rainy season so they will be strong enough to survive the dry season.
Speaking of rain we have a bit of an issue with our roof. The rain comes down from the hill with the wind sideways, and hits our house in such a way that it comes inside. Well it mists inside anyway. We have a plan to fix it, and with help from our friends over at Child2Child we will soon have a price on materials.
Check out the two videos below. The first is Kate showing the rain in the house, and the second is me showing where we will stop the rain from coming inside the house.
Unfortunately it only drizzled. It has sprinkled a few times in the past week, but we are still waiting those "tank filling" heavy rains.
I am not sure off-grid people have the best of reputations. There are some pretty weird people living off-grid and if we are honest they get all the attention because they are weirdos. (Like the people in this article on CNN's website: http://cnn.it/1qJAi4N ) Kate and I choose to be different, contrary to our culture at times, but we are normal everyday folks. We go to dinner parties. We have a big car. We have many many children. And, we like electricity.
Unfortunately where The Shire is located there is no electricity. We have no choice but to generate our own or live without it. We did no electricity for a couple of weeks, and well, I like me better when I can watch t.v.
There are really on two feasible choices for us, solar or generator. We chose solar as our primary source of power because in the long run it is cheaper. The generator takes constant fuel, oil, and servicing. Plus it is noisy. The solar system makes no noise until I turn on the power in the evening. Then it hums, kind of like an old fridge.
There you go. We are off-grid not because we converted to some Mother Nature worshiping new-age cult or became hipsters. Nope. We are off the power grid because we have no choice.
That is not to say we do not appreciate the side effects of no grid hookup. Not having that monthly bill is nice, and no ugly power lines to mess up our view. Also it does feel good to use green tech, at least until you remember how much it cost.
I am sure the power lines will find their way to us, eventually. When that time comes we will hook up, maybe, possibly.
The past couple of days I have been loading soil into a wheelbarrow and hauling it over to my raised beds. Not particularly difficult work, but tedious labor. I keep finding my mind wandering and questioning the purpose of all my digging. I am not a farmer, at least not yet. I can understand that the digging and hauling is important for the here and now. The food we will eat this season will be worth the effort, and it is rewarding labor. Yet consumption of all organic home grown food is not the end goal here on The Shire.
Enough food to share and/or market to generate income that can be used to care for more orphaned/abandoned children; that is the goal. The main thing is rescuing children. Creating opportunities where none exist. Giving the hopeless a hopeful future. Loving and being loved is our purpose.
That is why I dig. That is why I will continue to learn to farm. That is why I will try and grow pumpkins. The future of these children and the ones we have yet to save depends on the digging.
Woe is me, woe is me. Trying to use Safaricom (our local mobile phone service provider who also provides us with access to the internet,) has been a challenge this morning. I tether my computer to the phone and then have to shift the phone around the desk until just the right spot is found. Unfortunately that spot will only work for ten minutes or so, then once again I have to slide the phone around till the perfect place is found. Sigh. All this while ~Eowyn (our six year old) is begging for me to turn the wifi on so she can watch YouTube videos.
I suppose it is still amazing to be in the middle of rural Africa and be able to connect at all to the world wide web.