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November 2013
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January 2014

Entries from December 2013

See You Later 2013, and Hello 2014

I am not sure if I found 2013 to be a likable year or not. Up and down, left then right, the year seemed out to get me one day, and ready to bless me the next. Unfortunately most of the "negatives" of the year cannot be posted on the Internet, but that will not stop me from creating a bullet list of mostly positive happenings:

  • 4 of our girls began class 8 in January, the final year of primary school. I remember buying a few text books for them and attending several parent/teacher meetings at the school.
  • A camp out in February on The Shire was somewhat disatrous. We did see a hot air ballon when we woke in the morning.
  • Kenya elected a new president.
  • Kate continued to post videos to her YouTube channel in 2013.
  • We built a hut on The Shire, and started the barn (where we will live while the house is being built.)
  • Several times throughout the year we asked for financial help. Follow this link to donate and help us continue bringing A Future and a Hope to orphaned children here in Kenya.
  • In July Kate and I went away for 2 nights without any children for the first time in 15 years.
  • We raised money to build a barn/house and finish the fence on The Shire in September.
  • In October I left one of the kids behind at the school. I think it was more traumitzing for me than her.
  • I turned 40 in November.
  • I started a new ongoing series for the blog, Learning to Grow. The point being to chronicle the learning process for the farm.

There you have it my summary for 2013. Sometime in the next few days I will post a financial summary for the year, and we will talk about our plans for 2014.


We are grateful

We had a lovely Christmas. The kids are happy, and now we look forward to a new year.

However, to be honest, November and December, being the Holiday months, are often the most difficult months of the year for us. It is understandable! So many folks are rightfully focused on their family Christmas celebrations.

With that said, we have a lot of catching up to do financially on this side of the planet. I didn't want to say anything and bother folks during the festive season. And we are grateful we had some designated gifts for presents this year! But in the end, our rent payments are behind, our utilities, as well, school fees are coming up, and the orphan-no-more girls are all trickling back from their rural home visits meaning I can't just feed the family on the spur of the moment.

If you would like to donate to A Future and a Hope and help us start our year off, we would be very grateful.


Kate's take on Christmas

Yesterday, Johnny wrote his Bah Humbug post. Today, I would like to counter it.

I love Christmas. In fact, as a child, my family celebrated it 3 times a year while growing up. And although we are celebrating the birth of Christ, for me, I personally celebrate Life, Loved ones, Friends, Music, and just the warmth of knowing that I am not alone in this world.

Christmas is a time when we do extra special things to remind ourselves how much we appreciate the special relationships we have in our lives.

It is a time of vulnerability... singing together whether we can carry a tune or not... giving gifts that may not be perfect, but they express our feelings... and preparing foods for folks.... and just taking the time to put PEOPLE first. In my opinion, if it is done right (with out all the consumerism stuff), it makes our priorities come in line and makes us focus on what is good and right in this world.

The smells, the sounds, and the feelings of Christmas do something to people. Sadly, here in Kenya, it is hot, our families are far, and there are no signs of Christmas... so we have to go out of our way to MAKE them happen.

Still, each year it gets a wee bit easier...

Merry Christmas, everyone! ENJOY IT!

 


Bah! Humbug!

Bah! Humbug!

Ebenezer Scrooge uttered those words about Christmas in Dicken's A Christmas Carol, and I have been in love with them since first reading them. (It is highly possible I actually heard them before reading them. Cannot remember how I first came across A Christmas Carol.)

Bah! Hambug! Is Scrooge's way of calling out Christmas as a fraud. Admittedly my reasons for declaring Bah! Humbug! might not be the same as his, but I will join his voice in declaring that Christmas is a fraud. 

I do not mind the commercilization, after all every aspect of life is now one big commercial. I have grown accustomed to corporations trying to sell me something, trying to convince me that I cannot live without the latest IPad, phone, or whatever might be popular this holiday season. 

I can handle all the terrible Christmas music. Shudder. Barely. I mean it is only for a few weeks of the year, right? Each January I spend as much headphone time as possible washing out all those Silent Nights and roasting chestnuts. 

I do not particularly like the whole it is all about Jesus thing, because clearly it is not. If it was than we would not have Christmas Trees, Christmas parties, Christmas music, gift giving, or any single aspect of how we (Americans anyway) celebrate the holiday. It has nothing to do with Jesus, unless maybe his name was Saturn. I am not sure how a Christmas about Jesus would look, but most likely it would be spent with the guttersnipes. 

I better stop before I scare all of you away. 

I do like family at the holiday. It is great fun with Kate and the kids. (Kate loves Christmas.) I miss my family back home. Family is the reason for the season.

I also like gingerbread. 1525573_10151781994891854_2141371335_n

 

Eggnog, I quite like that as well. 

Bah! Humbug!


Where's the Water?

Here at the house we rent in Nakuru we have approximately 20,000 liters storage capacity for water. Which is a decent amount of water to have on hand. Tanks are a necessity because the tap is not always on. The water company pumps water to us a few hours a day, every other day, once a week, or whenever they feel like it. Really there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason behind the pumping schedule. We have tried to decipher the thinking behind it, but just cannot. So we catch the water when it comes.

When you take in 9 additional children one of the first things you realize is that they need lots of water. Especially when you take those children and teach them to bathe everyday, or at least as often as possible. Toilets get flushed many times each day. Water is drunk almost nonstop throughout the waking hours. Many, many, let me say that again, many loads of laundry need to be washed and rinsed. Like I said, we need lots of water.

Once we move out to The Shire our water supply will be less certain and smaller than here in town. Hence our need to be creative with our water supply and storage. We will have access to water piped from a nearby well. This water comes with very little pressure. We plan on putting a tank in the ground near the pipe so the water will be able to trickle in and fill the tank. That water will then be pumped up the hill a bit and used in the house. We will also collect rain water and try to tap a spring up on our hill. The waste water, grey water, from the house will be recycled and used in the garden. Toilets will be dry composting in the house, and we are digging a pit latrine outside.

Water is something I used to take for granted back in Port Arthur Texas, but now appreciate the effort it takes to get the substance into my house.

 

 


My Day

I have been spinning around in circles. Yesterday I woke up to find the neighbor's dog had killed our puppy. We buried him, then I ran to our friend's house with the kids to do minced pies, then during the pies, I got a call from the vet at my house, so I ran home with the kids and assisted in the removal of the reproductive organs of Fang and Fluffy. I actually helped perform surgery. No gloves, either bc he forgot them.

Then while my hands are holding up Fluffy's fallopian tubes, I realized i was 30minutes late for the christmas party for our EAWL, and I was supposed to sing (lead the carols) and bring food. So I ran to get dressed as soon as the last tube was removed, leaving her with the vet wide open. So he had to suture her up on his own. I washed my hands, threw on a dress and makeup, and noticed I still had blood on my elbow! Washed up again, grabbed my bread, pumpkin soup, and whatnot and ran out the door! While there, the bike repair man came to the house to fix the kids' old bikes... I got home, started organizing the house and books with Michelle, fed the kids, paid the repairman, crashed on the sofa and fell asleep at about 9 and woke up just now at 5... so it has been cRaZy...


Busy, Busy, Too Busy

December is supposed to be the month where we try and take the pace of our lives down a notch. The girls all go off visiting relatives and or friends, and we schedule as few events as possible for the month. Unfortunately it seems like we have been very busy this month, despite the girls being away from home. 

Photo (3)Of course our biological children are around being noisy, messy, demanding, and all things children. 

We are building the barn/house on The Shire which requires constant input and consideration. Perhaps a bit of bad timing on our part, but we are eager to get the building up so we can move out there as soon as possible.

Seems like we have been visiting lots of friends and they have been visiting us as well. In fact Lonnie Hatfield along with his wife, Patti, and a few other friends are here working on the nursery school. Good to see them, even if it does add to our busyness. 

Maybe we can slow down tomorrow?


Shift

December, that time of the year when we like to look back and reflect, or try to find a moment of peace to attempt reflection anyway. Some of the trends in our life this year are easy to spot, like the shift that has taken place in our ministry/work.

Our focus has shifted from simply caring for orphaned children to creating a sustainable system for orphan-care. A system that incorporates our philosophy of providing family, opportunities for a good child hood, education, and creating caring members of society. We have gone through many ideas on how to generate income so as to reduce our dependence on the need for donations from abroad, and there really is only one way for us. Agriculture. 

Farming will not only help us feed the children but generate income as well. We will be growing vegetables, fruits, and raising animals for milk, eggs, and meat. A major shift from dispensing aid to those in need. Now we will grow some of that food we give away.

This farming project will also teach vital skills to the children, and hopefully inspire them to help change a little part of the world's food supply.

A shift. A shift in a more sustaniable direction. We will still need finiacial help, but instead of spending that money on food we can spend it on other things like school.

A shift to a permanent location. The Shire is not moving.

A shift from only consuming food to producing food.

A shift from town to a rural farming community.

A shift to more space.

A shift that will help enable us to impact even more children.


Missed It

Apparently yesterday was Giving Tuesday. Missed it. Guess that is why the money did not come pouring in. We also missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Actually now that I am thinking about it I have never shopped on Black Friday. Not that that is a good thing, just me avoiding crowds. 

Gimmicks are fine for the moment, but we cannot survive on them. We need folks to give even if it is not Giving Tuesday.

If you would like to help us out here is how:

Check made payable to A Future and a Hope and mailed to:

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

Or you can use paypal, link on the side bar (afutureandahope@gmail.com)