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August 2008

Entries from July 2008

Quote of the Week

"You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down, and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of good literature."

Mohandas Gandhi

Care Packages

Ok, I know that I posted about care packages not too long ago, but Johnny and the kids are desperately missing Velveeta cheese. I think it's been over six months since we last had some so I'm posting a list of things we would love to have if any of you guys out there are able and willing to get them and mail them to us! :)

  1. Velveeta
  2. Rotel
  3. refried beans (canned)
  4. Condensed cream of mushroom soup (for Chicken and Dumplings)
  5. condensed beef broth (for beef Stroganoff)
  6. Fajita seasoning
  7. Texjoy
  8. taco seasoning
  9. beef stew mixes (keep in mind we use 3 packets PER meal because we are feeding 17 peeps)
  10. marshmallows (just for fun!)
  11. icing for cakes (we have plenty of cake mixes for now, just no icing)
  12. Taco Bell hot sauce
  13. Pillow cases (we have plenty of sheets, just not enough pillowcases)
  14. Pantene Shampoo & Conditioner (African hair is very different, so their shampoo is as well!)
  15. whoopee cushions (Butterfly and Makena's request)
  16. Medicine dropper
  17. digital thermometer (F & C)
  18. Colored dot labels to label our school books (to prevent orphans from moving them to various bookshelves)
  19. Mr Clean erasers
  20. pam  spray
  21. Frisbees (they tend to break here so we need more)
  22. disposable flossers
  23. headlamps (frequent blackouts)
  24. flavored microwave popcorn
  25. secret deodorant
  26. Any Burt's Bees Products
  27. candy thermometer
  28. corn syrup
  29. globe
  30. throat lozenges
  31. children's vitamins

Don't forget the wish list to the right (may have to scroll down a bit) for books. Johnny loves, and needs books. If you would like to send a DVD for the kids or Johnny and I then great, just maybe email us before hand to check if we have that particular title or not.

~Kate Brooks

Hepatitis A, what's it like?

For those of you who read our blogs, you are aware that I (Kate) had Hepatitis A. It was a crazy 3 weeks! First, I got a high fever with a lot of fatigue. Then I had a mild fever (100 F) and nausea/vomiting for two WEEKS. I got very dehydrated and dizzy and TIRED. After 10 days of sickness without 'normal' symptoms like a cold or Malaria or something, I began to try to diagnose what was wrong.

I had pain in my ribs, high up in my stomach and up in my colon area and I... well... I hadn't pooped in days, so I began thinking of a friend who had the same symptoms who ended up in the hospital with colon cancer. I know, a bit dramatic, but I couldn't piece together my symptoms. My friend had complained of nausea, constipation and that 'pregnant feeling' and pressure on her stomach and that is exactly what I felt like (due to my swollen liver, but I didn't know it at the time). So while curled up on the bed on day 10 (Friday), I moaned to Johnny, "I need to see a doctor." (I never go to doctors, not even when my babies are born!)

So I slept and even cried (mostly because I was SO hungry, but I couldn't eat or drink anything-- reminder, I am breastfeeding and Emma was eating constantly!). Finally, on Monday I went to see a doctor, he did a lot of tests but found NOTHING. The doctor prescribed antibiotics, and sent me home.

After that, I began to turn yellow. I didn't really notice it until a friend of mine came over, and when she saw me walking down the stairs, I saw her jaw drop. I thought it was because I had lost weight from not eating, but it wasn't. She just gawked at me and said, "Your eyes! What's wrong with you?"

At that point I had NO idea what was wrong with my eyes, but when I looked in a mirror, I saw it too. It was kind of scary, but turning yellow was the best thing that happened to me out of it all.

Now I had the key to my illness! My liver had been damaged, and I was jaundiced. After talking to my dad on the phone, he suggested I have my liver function tested. It showed that all was well EXCEPT my biliribun count. The doctor said, "Hepatitis A."

There's no treatment for this virus, but it goes away within a few weeks. Fortunately, now I am completely well, however, Andrew and Butterfly both got it as well. Johnny THOUGHT he might have it, but he just had a mild stomach bug and is just fine now.

We are all doing much better now. Thanks for the prayers!

~Kate Brooks

Kiss my Ugali?

sukuma ugali dish Here in Kenya, they eat a lot of Ugali. I've eaten it, and any of you who have visited East Africa could not have come here without being offered Ugali at LEAST once! It's their staple food. Despite eating it many, many times, I had NO idea what it really was. Ok, well, I knew it was ground up corn in water (using equal portions) cooked until it made a thick doughy cake that you can cut with a knife and squish in your hand. If you push your thumb in it just right, it forms a make-shift 'spoon' so you can scoop up your other food.

One day, while visiting a very poor family, we found they had taken the night's leftover Ugali and watered it down so much that it looked like Grits! So I got to thinkin'... I wonder...Yep, after doing some research, it turns out, that is EXACTLY what Ugali is-- thick Grits! Now, that takes ugali to a whole new level! I have a hard time stomaching Ugali, but I SURE can stomach Grits! I'm from Texas!

Now on to Sukuma Wiki... I just found out what THAT is, too! (It's only taken me a few years, but I'm learning s-l-o-w-l-y) Sukuma Wiki (usually served with Ugali) is two swahili words meaning "push through the week." It's a leafy green vegetable that grows easily through almost any climate and Kenyans eat it just as the name implies. They eat it like a college student eats Ramen Noodles and microwave popcorn. It's almost ALWAYS served with Ugali. Can you guess what it really is?

Kale aka Collard Greens!

kate's-head ~Kate Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya East Africa

Co-founder of A Future and a Hope

You call THAT lucky?!

Recently, our rabbits had babies, and today, as we were heading out to take the orphans to school, one of the little balls of fluff was courageously eating grass out in the yard, and it sparked an interesting conversation between Pauline (Ben's wife) and me.

I told her that in America, some people believe that rabbits' feet are lucky, and you can actually find someone with a dead rabbit's foot hanging from their key chain. Pauline's face scrunched up in disgust, and her eyes glared at me with disbelief.

So I asked her if she knew of any 'good luck' charms Kenyans have. She said that if you walk through a doorway and a SPIDER lands on you, it's good luck. I told her that most American's FEAR spiders! They wouldn't consider it lucky at all, but perhaps if it was a lady bug or a love bug it would be.

She proceeded to tell me that if a dog or rat crosses your path as you leave your yard, it is bad luck. Interesting enough, Americans have a similar notion about black cats.

It goes to show that 'lucky charms' are just a matter of perspective. Take the Chinese for example. They would hang crickets in tiny cages in their homes in order to bring good luck, but when I was in Bible College, we had a plague of crickets, and it was my job to suck them up with a vacuum cleaner-- slurp, thud, crunch, squish....yucky smell.

~Kate Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya East Africa

Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, sharing our home with orphaned girls

More A

I hate to bring everyone down with another post about illness, but unfortunately Hepatitis A just will not leave us alone.

Andrew is now yellow. I, Johnny, am having the same symptoms as Kate. Butterfly is vomiting and complaining of similar symptoms.

Certainly we are not very happy people today, but we are still pushing on. We will still eat nachos today.

johnny's-head Johnny Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya. Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, a home for girls.


I have a friend here in Nakuru, a missionary friend, who's job is sustainability. He looks for ways to generate income for the mission he works with here in Kenya from sources here in Kenya. We are not just talking about fund raising but rather business opportunities, farming, or whatever will do the job.

This is an area I have thought of for A Future and a Hope and our ministry to the sick, dying, and poor. If I am perfectly honest, and I try to be most of the time, then our project can never be 100% self sustaining. I mean we are living in a developing country, and well locally there is just not enough good will towards orphans. Fundraising here in Kenya just will not work for us. (Since we do not really spend much time fund raising at all it would be good for some of you to fund raise for us. We have had several individuals as well as groups raise money for us, and it is a huge blessing.)

What about business opportunities here? I have to admit that I have not put much thought into it, that is until I met Denny Huebner, my missionary friend who does sustainability. He seems to think about it a lot, well he should since that is his job, but anyway he inspired me.

Currently we have a 2 and a half acre farm that we have rented. Unfortunately we have been hit hard on the farming side this year. The farm inputs, things like fertilizer, seeds, labor, and other stuff, became very expensive this year. The price increase wiped out most of our profit margin. Then there are the things you cannot control at all like weather. Nakuru simply has not received enough rain this season, and our crops are suffering for it.

Consequently I am looking at other sustainability projects. One of our team members has experience running a small shop, he would sell grocery items and other household goods. He also ran a barber shop and a cinema hall (TV hooked up to DVD player.) Circumstances forced him to stop the business, and he has not had the capital to restart.

This could be something that could work for us. We could invest in his business and get a part of the profit. We benefit, and he benefits. Could be a start on the road to self sustainability.

Certainly I cannot sustain this project with one small shop (hard to explain to those of you who have never seen these small shops.) Really our investment could be as little as a thousand dollars, so we cannot expect to survive off of one shop. However it could be a start.

Sustainability. It is necessary for the long run, and good for us. Any ideas?


johnny's-head Johnny Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya. Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, a home for girls.


Almost forgot (well maybe not.) Should you want to give us a gift then please do so. You can use ([email protected]) or make a check out to Kenya Fund and mail it to P.O. Box 1113 Groves TX 77619-1113 All you gifts are tax deductible (in the U.S. anyway) and we will send an acknowledgement to you.


Yesterday (Sunday for us) was an interesting enough day to blog about (as IF any other day isn't around here, ha!) Anyway, it was quite eventful. First of all, let me say that I (Kate) am feeling MUCH better. The toxins in my blood must be decreasing because my strength is coming back. I even did half of a karate lesson! I'm still a nice golden yellow color, but I'm strong.

Also, yesterday, we had 15 visitors from the USA pop over for a visit. They were actually visiting some dear friends of ours named Susan and Denny Huebner. They help street boys through ROHI and you can visit their blog here. Our guests had a great time meeting the girls and our family, checking out the baby tortoises, and all of our ducks, geese, & chickens. I even cooked up some termites for them! One lady says they taste like pork rinds! They do!

Another event yesterday was the final discovery of our BABY RABBITS! After a failed attempt to produce healthy babies in confinement, we let our rabbits loose knowing that she'd do a much better job on her own. (Those of you who know me well know how I feel about people meddling with childbirth!) Anyway, I knew her babies were due on Butterfly's birthday, but we didn't know WHERE her nest was. Now the rabbits are three weeks old and just yesterday we saw them hopping out of the Goose's nesting place! A success!

That sums up our Sunday.

blog-kate's-head ~Kate Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya & Co-founder of A Future and a Hope