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Entries from February 2013

The Big Idea

As Kate continues researching houses and building materials I have been trying to figure out how to get on the Shire (our new land) as soon as possible. Many crazy ideas have passed through my grey matter. Tents, wooden shacks, small stone house, shipping container and even converting a vehicle into a house. No decision on what will be built first, I mean besides the fence. I did have a big idea on how to motivate us to get out there by the end of the year.

Though now that I have had a day to think on it, I am afraid it will be somewhat anticlimactic. You know like Star Wars Episode 1.

Here it is:

I want to force our hand so to speak. To create a situation where we have to be on the Shire by December 31st 2013. My idea would free up future cash flow to use on materials, labor, planting, and shaping of the Shire to feed us and other orphaned/abandoned children.

This is it, small though it now seems. I want to pay the rent on our house for the rest of the year. I mean pay eleven months now, 440,000 KES about 5,036 U.S. dollars. Redo the lease to expire on December 31. This would mean we would need a living space on The Shire by then. Not the main house, but a smaller house.

Now that I have typed that out, it doesn't feel like such a big idea. Yet from our perspective it could be a bold move. Those of you who know us you know we like bold moves.

I confess that I did not think it was possible to raise the money and then buy 12 acres. I was wrong. The money was raised the land purchased. Moving there on December 31st is possible. Paying a years worth of rent all at once, feasible. Caring for more children who need family, is within our grasp.

With help of course. Which is the real test of this plan. If we receive the money to pay the rent, it's a go. If not, well it is back to the drawing board.


Consider this... (Kenyan perspective)

Considering how much poverty is rampant in East Africa

Considering how much sickness and disease there is and that the average lifespan is 45 years

Considering that education is not free and that the government is corrupt

Considering that the average person makes $1 a day and jobs are hard to find even if the person has an education

Considering how many people are having 10+ children despite their poverty

Considering how many people have HIV

Considering that many tribes practice wife inheritance and polygamy

Considering how many orphans are being made every minute due to these issues

It isn't difficult to imagine that the life of an orphan is not easy

An orphan is considered a nuisance

As you can imagine, people living in survival mode have no time for extra baggage that eats their food and costs them money

Even if the orphan child is related by blood, they are still a burden to their relatives

In fact, most of our orphansnomore have many siblings

I can't save them all. I can't even help them all, but what I can do his help as many as I can. I've taken in as many as I feel I can love on as my own. If I add more to our family's numbers, I would begin to push myself into a position where intimate time with them, home work help with them, feeding them, clothing them, and even the dynamic of our family would be too institutional and compromised.

I am, however, hoping in the future other folks might be willing to take the leap, build a house on our Shire perhaps, and care for orphans along side your own children, giving them what they have lost-- a family who cares.


Valentine's Day

It's the one day of the year that I bathe all my biological children, dress 'em up smart, do their hair, make 'em wear shoes, and take their photo...

...to remind me on the other 364 days of the year that underneath all that African dust, bird's nest, bed-head hair, bare footed, worn out clothed bodied children, are some adorably cute American children who, if living in a different continent under different circumstances would probably look cleaner, fresher, and better on more occasion than they do living on this side of the planet.

I can remember 5 1/2 years ago, the one time we visited the States since moving here 8 years ago, my parents bought their visiting grandchildren some new, matching clothes from Old Navy for the 4th of July. As they were walking around, I can remember expressing my thoughts out loud, "Oh my goodness, my kids are CUTE!"

My step-mom just chuckled, "Every mom thinks her kids are adorable."

But what she didn't understand was that every day since moving to Africa, my kids were covered in dirt. Their clothes being hand washed and dried on the line wore out faster than I could replace them.

My kids looked American, and it was a WOW moment for me. So once a year, I try to accomplish that, and for some reason it's usually today.

It didn't happen. I got them cleaned up, but I just never got around to taking the photo. So you'll just have to believe me. My kids are cute.

Happy Valentine's Day.

 


Johnny & Kate's terrible, no good, very bad day

We are stuck at the shire as I write this.

It all started with a horn.

Last night we decided to celebrate our anniversary at The Shire. Butterfly age 9, Emma Caite 6, and Eowyn 3 came along. On the way there, our horn wouldn't stop tooting. We stopped the car and as Johnny stepped out, he stepped on a 2 inch long thorn. We unplugged the horn since there was an electrical issue. Then once we arrived at the Shire, we found all our water had spilled out in the Pajero. As I collected wood, Johnny managed to stab his arm with some more thorns and was dripping blood. He had a few more 'thorn incidents' but it was more of a nuisance than anything. So Johnny began chopping the wood with a machete, and I went on a hunt for water. No water around our Shire, so I called our friends who are about 10 minutes by car down the hill, and they gave us some. With limited time before sunset, I quickly returned and made a fire. We also discovered people are still trespassing and cutting down our trees, by the way, but that's another article... We ate supper by the fire, watched the sunset, and finally relaxed a bit. In fact, we were so drowsy we went to our tents early...

At 12:33 am I heared Johnny calling my name and saying, "Kate, you aren't going to believe this. Come here." It took me a while to find my glasses and get oriented. I could sense the urgency in his voice. He wouldn't tell me what happened, he had to show me.

I stepped out of the comfort of my tent into the chilly air to find Johnny brushing off Safari Ants. He said he woke up to them biting between his toes. These ants are huge. If you try to pull one off, the head keeps biting even when its body is yanked away. Johnny then showed me the edge of the tent (a hole I previously had duct taped) where hundreds of giant ants were climbing in to get to our food.

The really scary part was that they were crawling up my legs and into my pajamas in total blackness. My torch wouldn't stay lit, and even scarier was that my six year old was asleep in that tent with thousands of hungry ants. We couldn't stop moving. Stomping our feet and dancing around in the dark trying to figure out how to get her out of that tent without getting bit!

I held the light and Johnny rushed in, scooped Emma in his arms and put her in our 'safe' tent. I jumped in to check her out. But of course I had ants all over my legs and Emma had some on her so they piled in our safe tent as well where sleepy Butterfly, disoriented and crying Emma, and sound asleep Eowyn were squeezed. It's a VERY small tent. Add Johnny to that mix, and let's just say we didn't sleep last night. My kids were quite traumatized by the experience, and I even phoned my friend down the hill to see if we could sleep there (poor dear, having me call her at 1 am!), but Johnny was in his very holy undies with pants left outside FULL of ants. So leaving wasn't really an option. Not to mention that right outside our tent door, if we put our feet on the ground, we'd risk getting covered & bitten.

This morning the fire was easy to start, and we saw someone hot air ballooning across our view, but we have ant shy children who don't want to sit or walk anywhere. We packed up the tents, removed most ants, and poured out the water so we wouldn't have to carry it down our long walk to the bottom of the hill. Got in the Pajero, and it wouldn't start. No water means no work getting done as we wait for Andrew and a mechanic to help us out. It's really hot out here, but...

Still, I love being on the shire.

 

 

 


Well Pleased

Apparently it takes more than two weeks to unlearn thirty years worth of religious indoctrination.

Something has been bothering me for a couple of years now. Part of my nature, which some might consider a negative trait, is to ignore problems. That impulse is so powerful, that often times I can literally forget about whatever it is that bothers me. Which is what I have been doing with this particular situation, trying to ignore it till it goes away.

I have been getting the same answer to prayer for at least two years now. No matter what I pray, how I pray it, where that prayer is made, I get the same answer.

I was listening to a sermon this morning where the guy posed the question "What if this is the only answer to prayer?"

Something clicked in me. I need this answer. Preachers, Sunday school teachers, parents, Bible school, and myself have been telling me that God does not like me. He cannot even stand to look at me. Thirty years of that is hard to wash away.

Yet the answer I get to my prayers is the opposite of that message that God is displeased with me.

The answer to all my prayers is the same one Jesus heard after his baptism.

Luke 3:22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”

God has been telling me that He is pleased with me. He has been saying "I like you." I am still learning this, but this morning at least I feel liked, wanted, and loved by the Divine.

Perhaps this is the answer to your prayers as well.