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Entries from October 2014

Responsibility

Yuck. 

Responsibility.

That big word that divides children from adults. The word that either excites or fills one with a sense of dread.

Responsibility.

Parents at some point in a child's development start to try and instill a sense of responsibility in that tyke. Usually starts with picking up after yourself, or something like that. Works for most people. We learn how to be and that it is good to be responsible.

So who is responsible for problems like orphaned children? Sure we could draw a chart and place blame on that child's family, government, church, or community. Responsibility is easy to assign to someone else. Unfortunately at some point after we grow up some of us learn to shirk our responsibilities.

Justification is a terrible trait we humans possess. We can justify our bad behavior. Excuses can be found for not helping a child. Not helping a helpless child. Yes we can explain why they are not our problem. We are good at pointing fingers. 

Really? Is evolution going backwards? If we can find any, any, excuse to not stop and pick up a hurting child, then we are no better than the lion who eats the orphaned cubs of the pride he just conquered. 

The time has come for us to recoginize our responsibility. We, you and me, are responsible for each other. Which means we are responsible for the orphaned children of our world. No matter who actually made them orphans. We must understand that the excuses we give for not helping are moments where we deny our humanity and devolve into animals. 

Not all of us can come to Africa and rescue nine girls, but all of us can do something somewhere. 

Step number one: No more excuses.

Step number two: Be responsible. 


Biggest Farm Success! So Far.

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This little bull was born a couple of days ago, and for the time being, is our biggest success on the farm front. The birth went smoothly, or at least as far as we know. We looked across the field and saw the cow acting "strangley." Upon further investigation we found a slimy baby bull, otherwise known as a calf, on the ground next to his mom. After a bit he stood up, fell down, stood up again, fell, etc. till he found the udders and had his first drink. 

Everyone was excited to find a baby cow when they got home from school. Unfortunately for him he is destined for the dinner table, but until then we will grow him as well as possible. 

He is not the only success at the moment. Our new donated malnourished cow is doing well, and gaining strength with each passing day. She has had a few bouts with bloat, but thanks to knowledgeable neighbors we were able to save her. She has even started given us milk.

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We also have two horses, two donkeys, two chickens, and a couple of dogs that all appear to be doing well.

On the planting front our potatoes seem to be growing well. Hopefully the rains will be enough to grow some nice big spuds. 

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The learning goes on and on and on and on, but it is good to have somethings go right.


What we are thinking...

I just thought I'd update everyone with what projects we have going on on The Shire and where we are headed with it all.

For those who don't know, we are doing our best to learn how to become more selfsustaining. Admittedly, we've never done this before, so we are giving ourselves 5 years (4 1/2 more to go) in the learning process before we try to do it again with another family for orphans.

At the moment, we do not have the expenses of water, electricity, nor rent. We do however, need to expand the capasity of those elements in our lives. Our electricity (solar) is not enough to sustain a refrigerator nor is it able to do our electric appliances such as electric ovens, blenders, or kettles, or microwaves. We turn the power on in the evenings only. It's a very simple life!

Also, we haven't lived on The Shire with our 16 member family through a dry season yet. So we really think we'll need a lot more water storage during a drought. Either that, or a bore hole. A borehole can cost upwards of $20,000, so water tanks with a roof over them for collection might be a cheaper option.

As far as the farming aspects go, we cannot plant many (any) crops until the rains come in April. At the moment, we have half an acre of potatoes growing, a small amount of sweet potatoes, a few herbs, and some banana trees that are still young. It will take us some time to get all these things grown for eating, and even still, they will not be enough to sustain us.

From a financial aspect, meat is the way to go... Meat is expensive and it reproduces itself. With some extra money, we can finish our pig sty, build a chicken coup and chicken tractors, and also buy some more livestock. We have two cows at the moment, and one on the way! So that is a great start.

How does this help our orphans-no-more? Why do all this work? I believe that we are teaching them 'how to fish' so to speak. If they learn how to plant things in the ground and how to use solar energy instead of living on the grid, and how to collect, store and use rain water, then they can live a beautful life on the small income of an average Kenyan family. Plus we are teaching them to love and respect life. All life. It's not normal to find a Kenyan treating his animals with love. I believe it is a give and take with animals. So our kids are learning this first hand. Also, it's all good for the planet, and great for the kids' souls.

In our case, we have to do things on a much larger scale because our family is the size of FOUR average families, so we may never be completely selfsustaining. We have two staff we must pay, and a part time worker plus our 16 family members. Food is our biggest expense as well as transport. Admittedly, we quite enjoy not having a car, but we are considering getting a quad-bike (4 wheeler). We could carry more food on it, and we could get in and out of these terrible roads during a rain.

So where do your donations go?

  1. Food for the kids, us, animals, and locals who are working here helping expand
  2. Transport to and from town
  3. School fees, uniforms, books, field trips, etc... for the children
  4. Back into the community through locals who ask for jobs
  5. Into The Shire

We are not frivolous people. We conserve water buy using composting toilets, harvesting rain, and not having a bath nor running shower. We have a very simple life.

We also, walk. A lot! We use public transport when we can, too.

We don't take vacations, nor holidays, and we don't fly to the US spending lots of $ on fundraising. All fundraising is done through word of mouth through you, on social media, and occassionaly with online campaigns.

We are just normal folks trying to make an impact in the lives of those we can touch.

 

*Butterfly says, "Plus, if there is ever a Zombie apocolypse, we will survive."