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February 2011

Entries from January 2011

health

Mildred, one of our Kenyan kiddos, was sick recently. She had a fever for a week and her chest hurt. After a while of her not getting better, we took her to the hospital where 3 millydoctors confirmed that she had an infection and a heart murmur.

Treatment for the infection via IV and some home antibiotics has made Milly a happier person, but she still needs to see a specialist to check out her heart issue.

There’s a heart specialist coming to Nakuru in February, and we are scheduled to take her there on the 12th. I am hoping it’s not a major deal, but I’m glad that we can give her a future and a hope.

From one heart to another--

~Kate


school fees…

…are being paid today! :)

Our girls and boys all go to private Kenyan schools. Basically, we pay $100 per child per 3 month term for the ones in primary school (13 of them, 2 more aren’t old enough yet, 2 more are in higher ed.), and $200 per term for ones in secondary (1 child at the moment), and it will be $1,000 for Grace to go to cosmetology school in June. (Still haven’t gotten that money yet).

REI-Backpacks So basically, in order to keep these sweeties in school learning so they can have a bright future, we spend about $1,500 USD each January, May, and September for their tuition (not counting Grace). Uniforms are a requirement as well. Of course, these kids’ feet grow like mad, and so that’s 14 pairs of black shoes, 14 pairs of sport shoes for PE, 28 uniforms, 14 sweaters, 14 PE uniforms, oh, and don’t forget, Kenyan schools do NOT provide text books. Soooo… text books for each child also must be bought along with school supplies, and backpacks, which are the most exciting item of all! 

So there ya have it. That’s a small glimpse into what it takes to keep these kids* learning! Thanks for being a part of what we do!

~Kate

*Note: Our bio-kids are homeschooled.


Look through the Archives

Home_Photo_booksToday, for part of our history lesson, we are studying ancient history and how we can know a lot more about it through the development of written language, I decided to read some old blog posts to the kids. We giggled and laughed and reminisced. There’s lots of good stuff back there, so I just thought I’d suggest you take a trip back to some of our early days by clicking on our archive link


Spending by Category

Alright, it’s 3 weeks or so into 2011, and I believe it’s time to talk about 2010 for a little bit. The logic being that the posts will not get lost in all the “remember 2010” that usually happens the last few days of December and the first few of January. Makes sense to me anyway.

Let’s start with how we spent money. All the money that we had in 2010 was from donors. Actually that is true all the time, we don’t have any other sources of cash. A heart felt thank you goes out to all who donated. Not only from us, but from all the people we assisted with that cash.

2010

29% went to food

This includes us, + 9 orphaned/abandoned girls + Ben’s family of 4 + 2 staff members + whomever happens to be around. (Plus meeting with in town during lunch. I pretty much always am the one to pay.)
15% went to rent In October we moved to a smaller less expensive house, so we should see this % decrease this year
9% went to Christopher’s House This is our boy’s home, though admittedly my record keeping needs to be fine tuned. Some of their expenses get mixed up in our other categories
9% was spent on household This is all the cleaning supplies, and the 2 ladies who help us with cooking and washing
8% was spent on community work This is mostly feeding people, buying meds, etc.
3% was spent on maintaining the vehicles Kenyan roads are terrible on cars, and considering how old ours are I’m amazed this category isn’t bigger. I did spend a bit this month on the van, hopefully that will be it for awhile
3% on gasoline Fuel is expensive, we usually pay around 7 to 8 U.S. dollars a gallon
2.8% was spent on school fees Gotta pay to go to school
2% on miscellaneous You just can’t categorize everything
1.9% on internet Staying in touch
1.9% on personal care This is all the hygiene products. Trust me if you lived with 17 stinky girls you would want to buy as much soap as possible
1.6% computer A new laptop was purchased last year. I’m now jealous as Kate has Win 7. I still need at least 2 more computers.
1.4% on electricity Even though it is not reliable, we still have to pay for it.
1.4% on gifts We have a lot of birthdays in this family
1.2% on water Another one of those unreliable utilities here in Kenya.
1% on Education More expenses related to school
1% on postage, office supplies, etc Also includes some fees for receiving parcels at the post office
.9% on parking fees Can’t park in town without paying the yellow coat wearing guy. Well you can, but then they boot your car, and you have to pay more.
.9% on clothing How this is even possible I don’t know. You would think with this many girls we would spend more on clothes than food.
   

 

If you are still reading either you are really interested in us or super nosey. Either way you may notice that the % does not add up to 100. That would be because at the end of the list there are several small %,s that I just didn’t feel like adding to the table. Stuff like: our trip to Nairobi, DVD purchases, natural gas, books and newspapers, taxes, cell phone bills, school books, a loan, healthcare, and swimming.

Again thanks to all who made it possible for us to spend this money and create the table that appears above.


inside their minds…

I took Grace, age 17 to the pool with us two days ago, and she was laughing at an older man who was learning to swim. (She, herself, is afraid of the water.) I told her he was doing very well for only having 3 days of lessons.

She ridiculed, “Can’t you learn to swim in one day?!”

My response was to pay for her first swim lesson and let her try. Ya know, put her theory to the test….

Let’s just say, she’s going to need a few more lessons.

old swimmerThis incident caused me to have a glimpse into a 17 year old Kenyan’s mind. It showed me that despite being 17, there’s still a great deal she doesn’t grasp.

Now, Grace, because of her age doesn’t want to go to her 6th grade class level, and I don’t blame her. She missed a lot of school as an orphan girl before we found her 3 1/2 years ago. So we decided that it’s best to send her to a polytechnic type ‘college.’ However, most of the schools won’t take someone without them having completed 8th grade.

We found one school that will take Grace; however, she didn’t come home from her holiday when she was supposed to. Now she is waiting around the house sulking because she missed her opportunity to go to the cosmetology school when it opened the beginning of January. She was in Mombasa with an uncle and didn’t come home until the 14th of January. When she arrived, school had been in session 2 weeks.

She keeps asking me, “Why am I not going to school?” and I keep explaining, “You came home late. I told you school was starting on the 4th. We weren’t certain you were going to go to the cosmetology school instead of 6th grade like the other girls. You didn’t come home in time to work out the details. Now we don't have the money to pay the fees and buy all of the ‘equipment.’ Plus, if I did, you’ve already missed 3 weeks of classes. You’ll have to wait until June when classes start up fresh again.

Getting her to understand how things work is like getting her to understand you can’t teach an old man how to swim in just one day.

This is just one of the many issues we deal with on a daily basis while trying to care for people from a different cultural and educational  background.

~Kate


Things that go bump in the night…

Last night I tried to get the kids to go to sleep a bit early. They lay in bed and jabbered until their usual 9:pm bed time. Finally they fell asleep…

At some point during my sleep, I was aroused by strange sounds in the other room...  Some lights were on. I noted the time- 12:40 AM, and I was suspicious someone was in the kitchen snitching the breakfast rolls…

I reluctantly put my feet on the cold floor and climbed out of bed to find…  four girls in full school uniform completely unaware of what time of day, er night, it was!

I think I need to invest in a lighted digital clock for their room since this isn’t the first night they’ve erred on the time.

Living with 20 peeps is full of love, life, and laughter!

~Kate


Don’t be deceived

Just a thought I was having today…

If you happen to have a desire to help orphans, and you see some skinny, snotty nosed, sickly looking kids, you may think it's the place that NEEDS your funds the most, but I'm thinking that if the kids look unwell and are in the care of someone, then perhaps that someone is corrupt and is 'eating the money' people send.

If you want to sow into a good project, then look for ones that have healthy kids with smiles on their faces. I know of several good projects here in Kenya, not just our own. I'm just sayin'...

edith smile


A Plea?

It’s 2011 and we have plenty of hope for this year. Lots of projects we would like to work on, like producing as much of our own food as possible.

The more we can produce of our own food, the more money we have available for school, medicines for the sick in our community, clothes, and otherwise creating a life worth living for as many people as possible.

We have made it a habit to not continually ask for money on our blog, emails, or Facebook. In 2011 we will continue to operate in that manner.

However that does not change the fact that we do rely upon donations to not only survive, but to bring the love of God to as many unloved people as possible. We take seriously the concept of living out one’s faith by helping the “least of these.” While still promising to not inundate with pleas for money, we will mention it from time to time.

Currently we need money to scout for farm land and to be able to lease that land. Then prepare for planting, and all that goes with that. We need money to purchase animals (chickens, cows, rabbits, and whatever else will be useful.) We need cash to pay school fees, buy food for our two homes, pay bills, and assist some folks in the community.

There you go, that’s the plea. If you want to help us here’s how:

Write a check to Kenya Fund and mail to:

713 West First Street
    Beaver Dam, KY 42320

or use paypal and send to back2kenya@yahoo.com or  afutureandahope@gmail.com

Or you could even use Western Union or MoneyGram. Send to Johnny Brooks in Nakuru, Kenya.

There you go, that’s my plea. Feel free to email and ask any questions. Want to know how we spent our money last month, ask. Want to know about accountability, ask. Just send an email to afutureandahope@gmail.com