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Bees, Glorious Bees

The last post about the home invasion was pretty intense, and just a bit scary. This one will be more light hearted and easy on the old emotions. Before I jump into the bee harvest, an update on the robbery is in order. 

Saturday and Sunday I basically just chilled out and attempted to deal with the trauma of waking up to violent thieves in the house. I spoke with friends and officials, read from a book, and contemplated how to better secure the house. Monday, today, I went to see the police. They were helpful and sympathetic. I filed a report, was given lots of phone numbers to call in case of any future events, and given hope that they will do what they can to help find the culprits. Today was a busy and tiring day, but in the end as I sit here on The Shire I do so with more hope and peace than yesterday.

This past Saturday I had scheduled to have honey harvested from a beehive and another hive that had been damaged moved to a new hive.

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This hive is right next to the house.

The hive we were harvesting honey from is right next to the house. We did not place the hive there on purpose. Someone just temporally put it down to go and do something else, and before they returned to the box it was occupied by bees. It was a little nerve wracking to live so close to a hive at first, but so far as I know no one has been stung by the bees yet. They are pretty calm and not scary. The harvesting went on well, and the bees seem to have gone through the invasion of their personal space with poise and dignity. I am still not sure how much honey we have harvested, mostly because the bees were still flying around and all that has been going on since the break in.

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Bees have resumed coming and going

The other hive was a hollowed out log that had become broken on top some how. It was suggested to me that we try and move it to one of our yellow box hives. I agreed and the attempt was made. Unfortunately so far the bees do not seem to have taken up with the new hive. I did see some flying around today when I went to take these photos, but none coming in or out of the new hive.

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Hollow log hive.

You can't really see in the picture above but there is a hole on top of the hive. There was not really any honey inside either.

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Potential new home

 I just want to take a moment to remind everyone that part of the reason we purchased this land was to produce food that could be used in our work in Nakuru. To this day we have utilized some food from the homestead for relief. I have given people pork several times, which is always a real treat. Usually when you are not even sure where your next meal will come from, organic suckling pig is not even close to being on your mind. Maize, collard greens, pumpkins, and bananas have been used to help feed the hungry. The Shire is helping to feed the hungry.

~Johnny


Home Invasion!

I know I have not been blogging lately yet I had planned on revitalizing the blog and utilizing it again. It was not my intention to restart the blog writing with the following story, but this just happened on Friday night so it is fresh news. It was suggested to me that I go through the event again and remember as much as possible to help with dealing with the trauma, so I did and wrote it out as best I could. I have decided to share it with you here:

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Not Friday Morning but today. Similar beautiful morning.
Yesterday started off as a fairly typical morning, lots of sunshine promising a nice day. I had conservation with my youngest brother, then went to town met friends for lunch, after that I went and said hi to someone, and came back home. I got home a bit late for me, around 5 in the afternoon. Fed the dogs, made dinner, and watched some t.v.
 
Went to bed around ten p.m. Was woken at midnight by dogs barking and the sound of the back door opening. Looked out my open bedroom door and say a guy standing there. I said something to him, can't remember what exactly and he replied with something as well, I think he actually asked me how I was. I rolled off the bed picking up a club that I keep next to the bed and a flashlight. As I am standing up something hits me hard in the right arm, but I don't take much notice of it at the moment as I am charging towards the guy I saw at the door. I chased him out of the house through the lounge and quickly lock the door behind him. I turn on the electricity and start switching on the lights and trying to figure out how he got in. While doing that I come across a second guy by the back door and he exits the house. I close the door and lock it and discover that they made entrance through a tiny window in the shower. So I lock that door from the inside, then lock the girls bedroom door from the inside as well. That's when I hear someone trying to pry open the wooden window in my office. I go and see some kind of farm tool being used to break the window open. At some point, and I really have no idea when, I had removed my computer from the office and put it on my bed. The window gets opened and I start fighting with the guy there, who I can now clearly see. I did not recognize him, though I was pumped up on adrenaline at that point so it is possible he is someone I have seen around. He is talking to someone that I cannot see next to the window, and I can hear someone breaking into a window in the girl's room, which is the room next to the office. Around this time the adrenaline begins to wear off and I started to be able to think straight again, and since I had no idea how many they were I started to try and figure out how to get out of this without serious injury to myself. I start talking with the guy at the window, who claimed his name was Simon and that there were five of them altogether. I only saw two, but could not be for sure how many where out there. He told me some story about how they were just hungry and trying to get something in order to get food. So I offer him the cash I had, three thousand shillings, and he takes it while also taking my headphones off the desk. I was tempted to smash him with my club at this point, but not knowing how many I would have to fight afterwards I thought better of it. I re-close and lock the window as best I can. 
 
Now no one is trying to break in and  I am trying to figure out if they really have gone. The dogs were still barking and close to the house, which gave me reason to think they had not gone. Though next day after going over it I believe they went through the fence to the neighbors and down towards the road. I only have one small light outside in the front of the house, and I cannot turn it on from the inside. So I go around turning off lights so I can see out the windows. Did not see anyone, and dog barking had moved off down towards the front gate. Now my arm is hurting, and I decide that I cannot just stand in the hall by the toilet for the rest of the night. So I go out and check around. I did not go too far from the house, as I did not want anyone to sneak in while I was out. They had left. This game me time to examine my arm, which is just bruised and not broken. I found what he had thrown at me, a heavy car part. 
 
Spoke on the phone for awhile with Kate, Andrew, and Butterfly. Everyone I know in Kenya would have been asleep at this point. Anyway the night passed without further incident. I called the chief around 9:30 in the morning. She was not around but promised to come by in the morning. She will help me with reporting to the police and talking with the elders and neighbors. Ali came to check on me and stayed for awhile. 
 
All in all a fairly terrible night, but I am glad to have escaped with only a minor injury and a small loss of cash. (They also broke into another of the houses which I did not find out till daylight.) Also first time in the past five months that I was glad the children where not here. (Edith and B.T. are away at school, and the others in the U.S.)

 


July 2019 Newsletter

The following is my July newsletter which I am sending out right now:


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Johnny Brooks
Here's the thing, I do not know what to write in this newsletter. Do I share my feelings about the massive changes that have taken place in my life? This e-mail hardly seems like the right place for that. Do I share with you, my subscribers, the fear I have in making wrong decisions for the future? Again this monthly update for A Future and a Hope just does not seem like the appropriate venue to express those emotions. Can I express the regret I feel for decisions made decades ago? I think not. What about the hope I feel for the future? Or the sense of freedom that I now have in my life?
 
No this letter is meant to inform you of what is going on with the work here in Kenya.
 
A Future and a Hope still has children in school. In fact I spoke with Edith, who is at a boarding school in Nakuru, on the phone a couple of days ago. She called because she needed some school supplies, but the very first thing Edith asked me was, "Is it still boring there?" Which is Edith speak for "I miss my sisters who are in the U.S. right now." As do I. The seem to be having a good time, despite the requirement to wear shoes everywhere they go.
 
The Shire, the almost twelve acres of land I am living on right now, is lush and deeply green from the rain that it has been receiving. Despite that the weather man predicts that it is not enough rain and as a result we may have crop failures in parts of the country. It is hard to despair of that amidst all this greenery, and of course the weather man has been wrong before.
 
I wan to take the time to thank those donors who have stuck with me during these radical changes. Your hard earned money has enabled me to continue on here in Kenya. Several donors elected to move on after Kate's video and our split, which I can hardly blame them for. I am not sure how to go about adding new donors, but I have faith in what I am doing and in the one whom I follow.
 
Once again thank you to those of you still here. Not just those who give money, but the ones following my journey as well. Your prayers, messages, packages, gifts, and thoughts all have had a huge impact on many many people over the past fifteen years.
 
Here's to the future.

20190718_152222Collard greens, I harvested a couple of bunches and gave them to a couple of herdsmen. Not sure they were very excited seeing as to how this is a relatively cheap food here in Kenya and when a white man drives up on a motorcycles and asks you if he can give you something, well sukuma (collard greens) was probably not high on the list of expectations. 
 

I could use your help, specifically your financial help. Funding has taken a dive and I need to restock the house (in preparation for the school holiday coming up,) feed animals, and continue to help the poor and sick in the wider community. Please consider sending a donation my way, every bit counts and makes a huge difference. You can send via PayPal using [email protected] or send a check to :


A Future and a Hope
7286 N. Birdsong Ln
Prescott Valley, AZ 86315

Please note this is a new address as Bob, who handles the banking for us, has moved from California to Arizona. 

Thank you for all your help.


Easter

I hope you all had a fun and contemplative Easter weekend. We spent the weekend at home and enjoyed grilled pork for Easter Sunday, some homemade chocolate eggs, and an egg hunt. Not overly exciting, but plenty of opportunity for meditating on resurrection and it's place in our lives.

He said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.” Mark 16:6-7

There is another passage, but I cannot remember where off the top of my head, that speaks of that same resurrection power that Jesus used to come back, residing in us. We possess the ability to resurrect. Now since I have never witnessed someone bringing themselves back to life after death, I will be taking this metaphorically. Which to me is just as powerful, actually maybe more so. I have always appreciated the power of story and faith more than facts and evidence.

With all that is going on in our lives right now I admit to finding it difficult to hope in resurrection or to find it's power residing in me. There is much uncertainty swirling in the future of our family. I do not have answers for what will be three, six, or eight months from now. 

I spent much of Saturday thinking on the darkest emotions and thoughts that have been attempting to surface in my head over the past months. I just let them bubble up to the surface and proceeded to meditate on them. Looked at them from one side, then another, flipped them over and took a look at the underbelly, and when Saturday was finished I was able to expose those thoughts and feelings to the power of resurrection. 

I am a practical minded person. I spend most of my time in the here and now not up in the spiritual realms. I believe in the spiritual, it just does not have much place in my day to day life. Yet there are moments in the year when I embrace the spiritual whole heartily, Easter weekend is one of those times. The spirit of resurrection had an impact on me and all my festering thoughts and emotions. Cleansing so to speak my mind. 

I feel whole and right.

I am still sad that Kate and I are no more and still feel some trepidation towards the future. Yet hope has returned. Faith can be a wondrous healer.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Empty-tomb


Monthly Supporters

Hey guys, I know we hardly write blogs (not even sure blogging is still relevant), and I hope to change this. In fact, I hope to start a new blog with a different title, and I'll get into all of that another time!

We recently lost one of our biggest monthly donors because they felt lead by God to donate elsewhere. I get it, and I understand that what we do in Kenya is not for every one, nor do we expect people to give for the full duration of our work. Those folks helped us through SO MUCH, and they were a huge support over the years. Sometimes one must make a change. It is so important to follow one's heart.

 So at the moment, we are down a sizable amount, and we are needing help finding folks to help us fill this gap!! Don't worry if your gift is only $5 or $10 or whatever... any will do. Seriously. A bale of hay for the horses is $3 a day. If you could help with that, that would be great. Seriously. ANY amount.

Would you consider supporting us monthly? We are a project that you can actually talk to. I am an individual, not an institution. I am ME. I help children, women, single moms, etc... I am conscious of the environment, and I hope to be an encourager to those who feel as if they want to do more with their lives. YOU. CAN. DO. IT.  

If you'd like to give monthly, you can visit Paypal.com and donate to [email protected] or use the following form:

 

You can also make a check out to A Future and a Hope and mail it to:

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

We also use the Wave app to receive money and one could send via Western Union or MoneyGram


Days 32 to 36

Some photos from Kate:

Starlette playing in vermontStarlette playing with big blocks in Vermont

  ApplesThey visited an apple farm.

Kate in tophatApparently, they visited a hat store as well.

Lindt chocolateKate's favorite chocolate, Lindt.

Kate horse racing signThe lovely Kate


Day 31

Kate, Makena, and Starlette are in Schuylerville, New York. All I know about Schuylerville is that it is a village in Saratoga County and it is the site where the British surrendered during the Battle of Saratoga. Kate seems happy enough to be going to this village:

Kate and bill

On the way Starlette had her first McDonalds experience:

 

 


Day 24 to 30

The past six days here on The Shire have been pretty mundane days. They have been busy days, but nothing out of the ordinary or exciting has happened. We continue to care for the animals, develop the farm, and work with the horses. My (Johnny's) workload has increased due to Kate's absence which keeps me busy for most of the day. It does not leave much time for writing, thinking, and communicating. 

Kate, Makena, and Starlette are currently in Connecticut. They are enjoying the company and fresh air. Starlette is having a bit of a tough time with all the time changes, but she is full of smiles and giggles during our video calls.

Three more weeks.