Previous month:
November 2012
Next month:
January 2013

Entries from December 2012

Bye Bye 2012

I suppose this will be my last post for 2012. It has been all in all a good year. Not perfect mind you. The biggest let down of the year is that Babu Lonnie and his lovely wife, Patti were not able to be here in Kenya this year. A big disappointment for us and them, but there is always next year, right?

Despite their absence Ali has been working on the nursery school (remember Lonnie and Patti are the educators and are setting up a school at the boys home) building furniture, painting, and getting the electricity installed.

Kate gave us a really good summery of the year, which you can read here.

That's all folks. See you later 2012, hello 2013.

 

 


Looking Back 2012 Land Campaign

Perhaps the biggest event of 2012 for us was our fund raising campaign to buy a piece of land here in Kenya and the subsequent purchase of land.

We had attempted to raise money before for this purpose, but apparently our timing was off till this year. We set out to raise 30,000 dollars and ended the campaign with 34,000. Almost 200 people came together to make this happen. Now we, I say we meaning A Future and a Hope, own almost 12 acres of land just outside of Nakuru.

It still boggles my mind to think about it.

In 2013 we will build. We are not sure exactly how yet, but we know we will start with fencing and the driveway. Actually we have already begun the fencing, which is paused at the moment till we get more funds. (Sign up for our newsletter for an opportunity to help us plan the layout of the farm and the housing. You will find a sign up form in the sidebar of this blog. ) Andrew, our 14 year old son, and I have already begun clearing the driveway. Soon we will actually be able to drive up to where the houses will be built.

If you have been thinking of visiting us, 2013 could be your year. I promise you will be impressed with this piece of land.


A Look back at 2012

As with every year, once it's over, it can all be a bit of a blur, but I thought I'd list some highlights and lowlights that I specifically remember.

The first thing that comes to mind in 2012 memory is when our cook of 4 1/2 years, Leah, decided to take a job with some other missionaries without telling us. That was back in June.

We also sold our 1990 Camry leaving us with only a 1985 Van, and our not running 1972 Mini.

Then in August, after living in Kenya for 7 1/2 years and not traveling back and forth to the States for visits, we did our first ever online fundraiser.

230 people came together and gave us a successful campaign, proving to the world that missionaries CAN be 'out of the box' and not funded by churches and still accomplish great things! This gave other missionaries hope, as well!

September/October, we bought 11 1/2 acres of land for A Future and a Hope on a beautiful mountainside.

We also began fencing the front.

During the land campaign, we sold our red, 1972 Mini, in exchange for a Great Dane puppy named Obsidian. He was chronically ill so we ended up returning him to the breeder.

But a month later, we got a new Great Dane puppy from the same breeder named Music. He's healthy and strong and keeps us safe from intruders because most Kenyans are deathly afraid of dogs.

October also marked 5 years of living with our orphansnomore! Also, it marked our oldest orphannomore's birthday. She turned 18. She's starts 8th grade next year, so she's still in our care for a while.

We put power-steering in our '85 Nissan Van because it was our only vehicle.

Then in November, we did another campaign for a used 4X4 to ferry our family and whatnot to the land, which being up on a mountainside requires a rugged vehicle.

December, we bought a green, 1993, Mistubishi 4WD with power steering, automatic transmission, and 7 seats.

Also in December we had the head of Lunette Menstrual cups visit us and we spoke to many women about their bodies and gave them cups.

Also, the man who bought our '72 Mini decided to GIVE it BACK! So now our son Andrew is learning to be a mechanic by practicing on that car.

 


2012 Highlights: School Fees

Wait how can paying school fees have been a highlight? I’ll tell you, for the first time since we started to pay school fees we paid on time. Not just the first term, nor just the second term, but for all three terms.

Much thanks to our donors who of course made this possible.

Speaking of school. Keep our older girls in mind. Four of them will be doing class 8 this coming year. At the end of the year they will take an exam, which will determine what kind of education comes next for them. High school or some type of vocational training. They are way behind in grade levels, but with hard work and support I hope will do well in 2013.


Happy Boxing Day!

I hope you had a peaceful and relaxing Christmas Day. We did. Kate planned out a party on Christmas Eve, which went well. She then invited a missionary couple over to spend Christmas Day with us. We played games, roasted marshmallows, and sang Christmas hymns. All in all it was a nice couple of days for us.

It is now the time of year that we stop and reflect on the past twelve months. All the ups and downs, the friends, the enemies, the successes and the failures get an opportunity to resurface in our minds. I have found that reflection is a powerful tool in my life. A means of shaping myself into something I find acceptable.

Expect posts in the next few days of us reflecting on 2012, and looking forward to 2013. This has been a big year for us. I did not expect we would accomplish our goals for this year, but we have and then some.

Since it is Boxing Day, whatever that is, let us start out with something light and frivolous, movies. I am a movie lover through and through. I enjoy most genres, and occasionally even watch foreign films. So what did I like this year?

  • Dawn of the Dead – The original from 1978. It had been years since I last saw it, and the rewatch was delightful.
  • The Three Stooges – I had expected this to be a terrible movie, but it was good. Admittedly some of that, if not most of that, goodness was me enjoying the fact that the girls loved this movie. They were nonstop rolling on the floor.
  • Prometheus – I’m a geek, and a love of the Alien franchise.
  • The Dark Knight Rises – Fantastic end to the trilogy.
  • Star Trek Insurrection – Rewatched this one with the kids. Remains my favorite Star Trek movie.
  • The Avengers – Enjoyed by the whole family. I think Kate even liked it.
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi – The best documentary I saw this year. I do not even like sushi, but I would eat Jiro’s any day.
  • The Guard – One of the best movies I watched this year.
  • Sleuth – The one from 1972. Brilliant.
  • Modern Times – I had actually not watched this Charlie Chapman film till this year. Loved it. The kids all enjoyed it as well.
  • Red Dog – Great dog movie.

Enough for now. I promise more serious fare over the next few days.


Christmas, Blah

I am not a big fan of Christmas (Johnny speaking.) I do not appreciate the Holiday Season. It just does not appeal to me. I am not entirely sure why I feel this way. I am not a Scrooge, or at least not completely. I like Jesus, and I’m sure would have liked Baby Jesus as well. Actually I suppose I am ambivalent towards the Christmas holiday.

The food is enjoyable. I can’t stand Christmas music. Presents are nice. The decorations drive me crazy. I like thinking about Jesus’ birth. The commercialization horrifies me. 

Really if it were not for Kate I could pass the season without ever even mentioning or thinking of celebrating Christmas.

I much prefer Easter. Now that’s a holiday I can celebrate. Rabbits who lay eggs are way more cool than reindeer who can fly.


Maize

For several years now we have been planting maize (white corn) and beans on a friends piece of land. I started out doing it as a way to help out this friend, John I. He had the land, 2 acres, but no way to cultivate it. So we worked out a deal. We buy the seed and labor, and he provides the farm land. We then share the harvest at the end of the season.

We do not eat much of the corn, instead we end up giving it away. Kate will be going out to Elementeita tomorrow to distribute some of the maize to needy families. Ali will be throwing a party for the community as well. Fun times.

Here are some photos of the harvesting:

john i and harvested maize

The guy in the blue shirt is John I. Yes that is hair under that blue turban/wrap,thing on his head. His dreads are several decades old.

loading maize into sacks

The maize is loaded into sacks.

 

sheller

It is then taken to a guy with a sheller. He removes the kernals from the cob, and the maize is ready to be ground and given away.


Address Reminder

I hope everyone is staying warm. It's nice and toasty here in Nakuru right now. In fact we took the children swimming yesterday.

I wanted to remind everyone of our mailing address for donations:

Make your check out to A Future and a Hope and mail to:

A Future and a Hope
c/o Bob Humphrey
7909 Walerga Rd STE 112-141
Antelope, CA 95843

If for some reason you want to mail the check directly here to us in Kenya (we receive all the money that comes into the CA address) you will have to make the check out to Kate Brooks and mail to:

Kate Brooks
P.O. Box 2974
Nakuru, 20100
Kenya

Paypal remains the same, use back2kenya@yahoo.com or afutureandahope@gmail.com 


Whatcha doin'?

Our orphansnomore are off until January. They are all visiting friends and families (if they have them). In the mean time I'm trying to get in some bonding time with my bio-kids and continue to do our normal stuff that involves bringing a future and a hope to people beyond the orphanednomore boys and girls in our two homes.

Here's my 'schedule' incase you are interested and keep in mind that not mentioned is all the regular meal prep, laundry, hanging of clothes on the line, cleaning house, etc... that we must do! We don't have help right now in the house since we've sent everyone away.

TODAY, SUN 9th, Practice carols for EAWL with Fien, then later in the afternoon with Michelle. Advent activities: read a Christmas Story to the kids and make Peanut Butter & chocolate chunk Fudge, record video?

* MON 10th, In the morning work on some paperwork, then Kate & Eowyn head to Nairobi to pick up head of Lunette menstrual cups Caron Rhoman. Advent activity while I'm away: Give the kids a little money. Buy Mom & Dad a gift!

TUES 11th, Take Caron to see Elephants & Giraffes, travel home to Nakuru. Advent activity: Kids wrap your gifts for Mom & Dad.

WED 12th, Leave early to go to Elementaita to feed people in the community a Jamhuri Day lunch. Distribute food to poor families as well, and talk to a few ladies about Menstrual Cups with Caron. Advent activity: Invite some neighbors over to play games or we can play just as a family depending on how tired we are from the trip to Elementaita.

THUR 13th, I have an EAWL meeting in Gilgil so Caron will go out to the community with Ben or Ali to help some folks with Meds & food. Advent activity: Kids go through toys and decide what to 'give away'. Kids make supper for us!

FRI 14th, Take Caron to see our mountain. Clear some brush, or just have a picnic. Advent activity: Dress up Husky, Fluffy, & Music in Christmas stuff, take a family photo!

SAT 15th Talk to the women down in Lake View about Menstrual cups and give them out. Advent activity: make peanut brittle & Christmas blizzards

SUN 16th, Go to Kiondo to feed the community Christmas lunch. We will distribute even more food through Ali to the ones he thinks need it most. Advent activity: Make Ginger Bread houses (contest)

MON 17th, Prepare for EAWL lunch tomorrow. Advent activity: Decorate gingy houses part II; wear a sarong day!

TUES 18th, Play and sing at the EAWL Lunch @ Fien's. Advent activity: Collect firewood for Christmas eve; camp out on the land for the night; play survivor?

WED 19th, Return to Nakuru from the land, Advent activity: Make menu for Christmas eve, Caron watches kids while mom and dad go out?

THUR 20th, Johnny takes Caron to Nairobi Airport. They leave at 5:30 am.

FRI 21st, We are hoping to take our kids to Nairobi for two nights in the city. Maybe?

SAT 22nd, (Nairobi?)

SUN 23rd, (travel home) Make Buck Eyes or bake pies/ cheese & apple

MON 24th, Prepare for a Christmas party with Madeleine, Stu, Baz, Fien, Michelle, & Matthew. Make Egg nog, build bon fire, Cook, cook cook! sing carols with friends, make smores and dampers by the fire.


We did it!!

Just incase you missed the news, yesterday, our car campaign finished. It was a close end, but with 7 minutes left on the timer, we reached our goal of $9K for a 4X4 vehicle!

31 people helped us reach that goal, and we are grateful for every single one of those people.

Right now I (Kate) am in car hunting mode. I have several prospects, and being a Toyota fan, I'm going to try to get a Toyota Surf or Toyota Land Cruiser from the late 90's. That's not set in stone, and I don't want to rush this process.

Fortunately we are in the dry season right now, so I have a couple of months to make sure I get a good vehicle. Admittedly, I'm so excited, I don't want to wait that long, but at least I know I have a window of time before it becomes too difficult to drive out to the land in anything other than a 4X4.

Not only is having a 4X4 a wonderful thing for our African roads, but it's also a HUGE blessing to me personally because we'll have second vehicle. If we want to travel as a family, we'll all be able to go together a bit more safely. And when Johnny is using one vehicle, I'll still have access to the other.

Thank you all very much for supporting us and helping us reach our goal!! We are very happy indeed!