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Entries from February 2018

What Do You Do When You Children Grow Up?

Our February newsletter, just in case you missed it:

Our children are growing up.

Ten years ago, we thought it would be a great idea to take in disadvantaged, teenage, orphan/abandoned girls into our home to raise them along side our biological children as one, big, happy family. It had its highs and lows, but I am proud to say that we have RAISED them and raised them well. I'll skip all of the 'what would have happened if we hadn't...' stuff and move on to the good news. Grace, our oldest orphan-no-more just graduated high school in December at age 23. This week, she got her first job selling perfume at a large, local supermarket! She is on her way to being independent. She will probably receive her first paycheck in about a month. Johnny and I will brainstorm and decide how much we will support her or if she needs it at all... We are not an institution, and we are her only 'parents.' We are proud of her and her and will always be her family.
Mildred, age 22, is doing the same as Gracie. She just graduated high school as well and is working her first job selling perfume in town with the same company as Grace only in a different outlet. 
Next, Sarah Apiyo age 23, also just graduated high school, and has moved to Mombasa with her sister but is still receiving monthly support from us to help her eat and live since she has not found a job yet.
Sarah Muthoni, age 19, just graduated high school, and we are putting her through a cooking school right now. We have paid half of her school fees, but we lack funds for the other half because all of the other school fees...
Beatrice, age 17, is in a new boarding school because she made high grades on her exams. This month saw the beginning of the school year, so we had to provide new uniforms and supplies.
Our youngest orphan-no-more is Edith, age 15. She just finished primary school and started attending Shiner's Girls boarding school this January. Her school is a bit more expensive than the others because her grades were high so she qualified to attend a better school. We spent about $570 on her uniforms, books, beddings, mattress, tuition, and etcetera... She called yesterday needing more money for school supplies and seems to be doing well.

 

What do we do when our kids grow up?

As our daughters are growing up, we are finding ourselves focusing more on keeping other orphan children in school, as well as feeding the hungry, and helping children with disabilities through our Equine Assisted Therapy program, Horsepower. In Kenya, if you are born with any disability you suffer a life of difficulty. We have seen children locked in dark, tiny rooms and given no food or drink because the parents say the child is incapable of understanding how to eat food due to mental illness! Kenya is VERY FAR BEHIND when it comes to understanding children who seem 'different.' Equality isn't even a thought. Culture in Kenya, especially in the rural villages, is still based on superstitions, curses, rituals, and witch doctors. Lack of education has kept them in the dark and it is harmful to children with special needs. We are doing what we can to bring hope to the children and the parents or guardians. Our impact is small at the moment as we are just starting up, but our vision is big. 
We have regular therapy sessions now happening every week. We have three ponies and one horse bringing so much joy and physical therapy to the children who ride. 
Here is a short video of one of our newest riders who has autism. It is a worthy watch and only 1 minute long. I am finding that this young lad has absolutely zero balance. He marches up hill until the hill wins, and he tumbles down backwards head over heels. It is my hope that he will learn how to stabilize himself as he experiences the changes in his center of gravity every time the horse moves forward and when she stops. This is just ONE example of many reasons why we are doing Horsepower.
One interesting and sweet story is that the lad with autism comes with his mom and dad. They were so touched by what is happening with their son they gave us $10 towards our therapy program. In Kenya, that is a HUGE offering, and we are extremely touched. 
 
 

On the Home Front

Lots has been going on here at home on The Shire. I (Kate) have been playing with mud during my spare time building things such as a bench, a window, and a bathtub. The window was an 'upcycle.' Johnny accidentally put a hot pan on our glass table top (on a silicone mat) and the glass broke. The mud bathtub is not complete as it is drying and needs a waterproof layer in a few weeks. In the mean time, we are bucket bathing in a temporary place. We are raising our water tank higher because we have issues with water pressure. We need a plumber to do some work, but we look forward to having a bath on the Shire after 4 years of patience and waiting. Our phases in 'building' are one 'modernization' at a time..

 

Keep your eyes opened...

Our daughter Eowyn, age 8, will be in a Lipton tea commercial that should start airing some time this month and through the year so keep your eyes open for her cuteness! It is a global thing, and we are excited for her! She'll also be in gifs and other litpon media so let us know if you see her!

Horses are good for other stuff, too...

Every morning, my home educated students must 'work.' Together we feed horses, groom them, and then  most mornings we tack up for rides in the countryside looking for poacher snares and dismantling them. Living in Kenya where wildlife are protected and many are endangered, we take our efforts seriously. This week we found a rare silverback jackal snagged in a snare... Here is the video .

 

Other kids...

Our daughter Butterfly and Makena are working together to write a book with Makena's illustrations (left).
Butterfly is heading out to ride on a 30km endurance ride after raising $200 to support conservation efforts to help save elephants near Mount Kenya.
Emma is still riding and jumping her pony and recovering from chickenpox (as well as Makena, Eowyn, and Starry). She also now has a virus and is feeling quite grim at the moment. 
Andrew is preparing for the SAT and GED, and we are considering our first trip back to the USA in over a decade.
Starlette is still nursing, playing, and riding. She is adorable as always.

 
Thank you for following our family. We try not to put pressure on people nor do we like to 'fund-raise,' although, it is a must at times. Being that it is early in the year, we have quite a lot of needs pressing on us. Last month, we spent most of our funds on school fees for this term for our orphansnomore. We cannot meet these needs without help so I am just putting them out there...
Here is a short needs list of extra items that seem out of our reach:
  • 100-200 bales of hay $300-$600
  • school fees for Sarah M $80
  • Glass for the outdoor tub project $85
  • annual teeth filing for the horses $500
  • tires for Dolly our Land Rover $350 EACH X4 ($1400)
  • insurance $100
  • some repairs on Dolly (again, but she's 20+ yrs old and our roads are not roads at all|) $550
  • a truck full of rocks to keep the arena from washing away $120
  • plumbing work on our water tank $150
  • a small shelter construction to keep our riders and their parents out of the hot sun during our weekly sessions $100
  • passport renewals for all of us, it's that time!! $150 each plus a trip to Nairobi $2,000
If you are feeling overwhelmed after reading this, so are we! Thank you for your compassion and understanding. We also would love to buy FOOD. If you give to us already, thank you. We are a small group that keeps us going. <3 
To all of our sweet and beloved friends out there, we are extremely grateful for your individual support. We are not a part of any "mission organisation." No one is advertising on our behalf and giving us a set monthly budget. We rely on you to share and encourage us. Each month is different based on who remembers us. Thank you for your support. We can receive donations through paypal to [email protected] or checks mailed to: A Future and a Hope
c/o Bob Humphrey
7909 Walerga Rd STE 112-141
Antelope, CA 95843
We also have a bitcoin wallet for those who are into that medium as well. We haven't used it yet, so someone can be our 'first!'

Feel free to share this newsletter with your friends.

Thank you!