Current Affairs

News Media Fast

I am a consumer of news. I read several different sources on-line plus I generally buy the Daily Nation here in Kenya almost every day. I have always enjoyed being informed. I like knowing what is going on across the world, and am one of those rare people who actually enjoy politics.

That has changed over the past couple of years. I have come to realize that being informed is not all that useful. In fact it can be harmful. Anxiety, anger, regret, and a whole host of other negative emotions accompany the consumption of news media. Politics has become less and less enjoyable as the middle continues to disappear. (U.S. politics)

December will be a news free month for Johnny. I will not read, watch, nor discuss any current events beyond Kasambara (the village we live near) and Nakuru. I will not follow the U.S. presidential campaigns. (I am just going to vote for the Libertarian candidate no matter what I read or see on the news. Why waste time consuming what will not feed me?) I will not read about terrorism. The recent attacks in Beirut, Nigeria, and Paris have had zero direct impact on my life. Knowing about them has only added negativity to my otherwise peaceful existence. I am no better off for the knowledge. It seems to me that knowing of these things, seeing them, only adds fuel to the fire. It is what the perpetrators of these criminal acts want, attention. I will deny them that.

I will still follow news of a musical nature, I mean who could live without music? Plus perhaps news related to science. Otherwise I will black out all news of current events. All that extra time will be spent reading more important things, consuming art instead of voyeurism, and enjoying the peace and quiet. 

If I die from a lack of being informed on what is happening in France, well then you guys will know that watching the news is important. My prediction is that I will come out on the other side, January, better off. Very much still alive and happy without knowing what is happening in the world. 


Why I Do Not Watch the News

The terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi reminded me of something I had not thought about in awhile.

I was in Port Arthur, Texas when terrorist flew planes in buildings in the U.S. In fact I watched these events unfold on t.v. To this day, more than a decade later, I can vividly recall the horror. The plane crashing into that second building and the subsequent collapse of the towers. The people panicked and running in the streets. The jumpers. All right there in my mind. Not something I want to remember.

Because I watched these events on t.v., live, they are etched in my memory. There is something about video that impacts us more than the written word alone. I am not sure what it is, but I am sure that a live feed can have more impact than an article read the next day. Watching footage of death and destruction, real death and destruction, is not healthy.

After those events in New York and D.C. I decided to avoid live news coverage. No longer do I watch news unfold. Instead I read about it the next day. It makes life better, for me at least.

This is why I did not watch a single news update about the Westgate shooting. I read about it the next day. It did not lessen the gravity of the situation, but I will not be haunted by those images.

Our house is a house that reads the news instead of watches the news.

 


Family

I love reading the news. Scanning headlines for interesting sounding tidbits brings me happiness. I learn many interesting facts and/or psuedo facts. Example, read an article in Newsweek yesterday about secrets in the Vatican. I now know that the Pope likes toast, and apparently the vatican is riddled with corruption. Politics intrigue me. The process, the images, the posturing, the elections, and all the flim flam that goes along with it. 

In fact this year is full of politics. Campaigning going on for presidential elections in Kenya and the U.S.A. They are only going to get noisier. 

So noisy that concentrating on anything else will get difficult. Unless of course we switch off the news, but since that is unlikely we need a plan.

I propose that we remember what is really important. Governments will come and go. Sometimes our pick will win, and then other times not. That's not all that important. 

So what's more important than current events? Wars? Economic crisis? Celebrity gossip? Terriosim? 

For me it's this:

377162_312741098754735_344704739_n


Keeping it Real

Posting on Facebook often times trumps my blog writing. I express myself more often there since the response tends to be quicker. My apologies for the slow blogging at times.

We started our week off with a family weeding of the garden that was so successful (i.e. no important plants were removed accidentally) that I hope to have the kids help again next Sunday. They actually enjoyed weeding, too, which was an added surprise.

Things are going on as normal around here. Healthy, happy, growing kids. Several children need new uniforms for school since their dresses are too tight and too short.

Of course we are grateful to all the folks who help us feed these children, and help us bring aid to needy folks around us. We recently started another 'experiment' like the one we are continuing with Millicent. This time, it's a small baby and his mom. Both are showing positive test results for HIV. Both are very skinny and need to get more nutrition before they can take their ARVs to keep the virus from attacking their immune systems. We want to feed them, help them with their rent and other expenses so they can get strong enough to start their retroviral meds and ultimately get strong enough to work and start living a normal life again.

I'm off to spend my evening with the family. We're watching Thundercats (not my fav) and Last Man Standing.

~Kate


The last day

Today was the last day of the school year here in Kenya. Students are off until the beginning of January when they will start another grade level.

Johnny, Makena, Butterfly, Emma Caite, Eowyn, and I all spent SIX HOURS at the girls’ school today enduring, um, enjoying their closing ceremony. Andrew stayed at home playing the Wii. Lucky fella.

I have to admit, it did have its high points. Several of our girls were in the top 3 students of their grade levels, so we were able to clap for them and take photos with them as they received awards, which included two plastic baskets, and a small cooking pot.

IMG_0098The pride on their faces as they recited their poems, songs, and dances as they scouted across the audience for a glance from us- their ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ was priceless. I guess it was worth the other 5 hours and 45 minutes of lectures from headmasters and teachers and potential flu catching (got it last year after the ceremony) from all the hacking of students and parents.

Hawkers were outside the building with their soggy ice cream and small trinkets waiting to prey upon parents’ pride. It was typical, but we made it through it all. Only half a day sitting, listening to preachers trying to convert the students, and ungifted singers singing louder than the microphone could handle. Ok. It was painful, but I’m holding on to the priceless moments…

So, tomorrow Ben will travel with four of our girls to Gem, a rural village where these girls were living with their old grandparents before coming to our home. Then over the course of the next week or so, we hope to send the girls to various friends and family for the holiday. It will give us some time to be a nucleus family and to reconnect and make sure our biological children are not getting lost in the shuffle, and it will give the girls a chance to impress their villages with how beautiful, healthy, and smart they are. (Each time they go, the village wants to send us ALL the orphans they know. They are quite impressed with our girls.)

I’ve scheduled a ‘day’ for each of my bio-kids in December to spend it alone (or with Eowyn, too) with me. We have an advent calendar we are putting together to count down until Christmas, and we are still planning a 4 1/2 day trip to Nairobi!! Whoo hoo!! I’ve been to Nairobi one night this entire year, and our kids haven’t left Nakuru in over a year. This will be good for them. The other holidays (April and August), the orphans-no-more all go off and visit family, whereas our bio-kids just keep doin’ their norm staying at home with us- not to mention they even go to school at home with us.... I hope we can pull this off. It’s much needed for all of us! I think it’ll be good. I’m a flexible chic, so if it doesn’t work out, I’m sure we’ll be creative and still have a good family time even here in at home.

~Kate

*The photo shows some of our kids in their school uniforms.


Look Here

So much has been going on in the news lately. Makes it hard to compete for space in people’s lives. I mean come on, why read this little blog when you can be reading more exciting stuff about death, war, mayhem, and royal weddings?

I’ve resigned myself to not wooing the masses. In order to keep the crowds happy you have to be nice to them all the time, and I’m just not all that good at being nice all the time.

What we are accomplishing here in Kenya, and what we have accomplished so far, we have done without compromising in order to attract readership and donors. I’m not bragging, well not that much anyway, but instead trying to explain.

You will not find flashy websites here. No high powered fund raising campaigns. No high definition videos. Just us. Plain old Johnny and Kate.

Not that those other things are bad or wrong, they are just not us. We have to be who God asked us to be, and not anyone else.

Which of course leads to the question; Who are you?

I’ll let you know as soon as I figure it out.


Wageni

The_Open_Door This week has been loaded with people in it, and I love it.

Life in Kenya is often times difficult to explain. The culture is different.

And sometimes, being in Kenya doing the same things day in and day out makes me a little stir crazy; however, this past week, we had visitors in and out, and it made life interesting.

Trena Ivy popped over with her friends Kris and Barry. Denny Huebner came, Lonnie is here, and Cheryl Insua and her friend Denise also visited. Tomorrow I am going to see some familiar faces from my past as well… Ron & Brenda Hammonds along with Byron and Cynthia Miller. Then on Thursday, Denny will be back, plus another friend will be visiting us for dinner as well. Then yet another missionary will be spending the night this Saturday…

In case you are wondering, we have an open door policy. It’s always opened!


It might get boring...

Yesterday evening, Johnny was spending time with me instead of sitting in his office, because I asked him to, so he was forced to 'talk.' LOL.

In that conversation, he began to tell me of all kinds of things we did during the day yesterday in the community that even I, Kate, wasn't aware of! I mean, I know we feed folks and such, but what occurred to me was that it just 572-bored-kidbecomes 'the norm' to do what we do, so much so, that we forget to even tell each other about it, let alone our blog readers.

We fed several families yesterday, saved a child from Malaria by getting her treatment, and took several other peeps to the hospital as well. We do it so much that Johnny and I CAN'T mention every time we do these things or you'd just get bored to pieces reading our blog!

So we try to come up with other things to talk about here, but hopefully you realize that most of the stuff we do just goes on without mentioning. ;)

Of course, I have to say that NONE of what we do has been done on our own. Every thing that we do has been done by YOU. (I'm not trying to get more money here.) I'm just saying that info because it is true. We have no sources of income a part from donations so that means it is you who feeds the hungry, clothes the (pretty much) naked, and takes people to the hospital.

Thanks to everyone who helps us help them!


Congrats

Though Barrak Obama was not my choice for President of the United States of America, I couldn't be happier with his victory. I believe he will help take the country in a new and better direction. 


Congratulation to the Obama family. History has been made, and yesterday was a good day for America.

Obama