Entries from April 2013
This week on Facebook it’s time to focus on Sarah Muthoni. Head on over and like our page and stay tuned for photos, stories, and other interesting facts about Sarah.
There are many of you who really care about what we do. For that we are grateful. In fact, you are the wind beneath our wings with your words of encouragement, and your gifts, too!
I just thought I'd list things we need at this moment so that those of you can keep up, help where you feel led to, and just be a part. These are in greatest need order.
- Food. Currently, our freezer is empty, and our fridge is as well. With 14 (mostly teens) in the house, we always need food. In fact 45% of donations that come in get spent on groceries, produce, etc.. Consider donating so we can stock up on food and not have to eat kale one more day.
- School Fees. Each orphan-no-more needs about $100 to go to school. School starts next Tuesday. So far, we have $100 that has come in towards this need. We have $800 more to go. A little from many goes a long way!
- Rent. Instead of housing orphans in a building somewhere and renting our own fancy house away from them, we've economized and just have the ONE rent each month. Our five bedroom house with 16 people in it is modest for American standards, and it costs us $500 a month.
- Staff Salary. The average worker in Kenya makes $1 a day. We pay ours $150 each per month. Without a job at our home, both our single mom workers would be really struggling. We need $300 to pay their wages this month.
I know these things aren't 'glorious,' but they are our current needs. As this changes, we'll let you know. If extra comes in, we'll use it to help those in need or to buy more food, or to finish the fence on the Shire, but at this point, we just would like to stock up on the basics.
Thank you for considering how you can help.
This week was focus on Grace week on the Facebook page. Unfortunately we were not able to upload as many pictures as we wanted to, due to connection issues. Here is what we managed to post:
Two days after Edith, our first orphan we took in, we found Grace. She was 13 years old at the time, though this photo was taken yesterday, and she's 18 now!
Johnny had visited an overcrowded, poorly run orphanage and found this girl desperate for escape from the home. He snapped a photo of the children, and without even telling me which child he chose to bring to our home, I pointed at Grace's face in the picture and said, "She's the one, isn't she?" I just KNEW.
That was the easy part. Getting her out of that home was an entirely different story. You can read how it happened at the time on our blog back in October 2007:http://purechristianity.blogs.com/pure_christianity/2007/10/amazing-grace.html
School is out for the month of April, but Grace and all the other class 8 girls are at school right now prepping for exams. Grace is 18, in 8th grade, and studying for her KCPE exam. I would campare it to an SAT type exam. It determines if she can go to high school, and it also determines which school she can go to.
Grace is always learning, always studying. As a young girl, she wasn't given a chance to go to school, so when she moved into our home 5 1/2 years ago, it was difficult for her academically to jump right into it all, and I'm so proud of her for studying hard and pressing on, not letting her age get in the way of continuing with her education! Her marks get better and better, and she gets brighter and brighter each term.
No matter what happens with her exam results, Grace has the snap and wit to make it through life. And that I'm certain about!
When Grace first came to our home, she was quite shy. She didn't speak to us, and I thought I'd NEVER get to know her. One day, I sat next to Grace with a string and started doing Cat's Cradle. Lo and behold, string games are universal! She taught me so many games that day. I'll never forget it. It was a small step to getting to know my Gracey. It took two years for her to open up with details of her past. Now, I consider Grace to be more than a daughter, she is one of my friends.
We have a lot in common, including knowing that dressing in your favorite styles can boost one's spirits.
Check out that nicely mowed grass. Otherwise I have no idea what was happening in this photo, but I do like laughing.
We continue to focus on a child a week, last week was Edith, this week it is Grace’s turn. Be sure to like our Facebook page and stay tuned to the blog to see more photos, videos, and stories about Grace.
Here is a compilation of all the posts on our Facebook page about Edith:
Edith, our first Kenyan daughter. She's being featured this week so you can get to know her better.
Edith is 10 now, but she moved into our home on October 27th, 2007, at the age of 4 after her mother died of an AIDS related illness. Edith was very malnourished at the time, and had never seen or used a real toilet.
More about Edith: When we decided to take in orphans, we had no idea WHERE or WHO we'd take in. Our friend, Ben, found Edith's mother very ill living in a makeshift shack between two houses. He'd help her eat and sit with her at times talking, encouraging her all the while, Edith would be playing in the dirt. Her mother, called Edith 'Kamom' (little momma). Edith's mother knew she might not live much longer and asked if Ben would make sure Edith had a Christmas dress. He told her about us and that we'd care for her if she liked. 3 days later, on the way to her rural home, Edith's mother, being so weak from illness, passed away. It was by accident that we heard the news. We tried to see if Edith's family members would care for her, but they already had 6 family deaths due to AIDS, leaving the few remaining relatives with too many orphans in their care. The gladly gave Edith to us, and she became our first Kenyan daughter. Emma (in the photo) was only 9 months old at the time. She knows Edith is her sister, and that's that.
This evening, Edith fell asleep early. She's always been a deep sleeper. I just found her on the edge of her bed with the trundle barely pulled out!
This reminds me of when she first moved in with us in 2007 when she was four years old. She never had a bed of her own before moving into our home. We'd find her asleep in the oddest of places! Once, as she was headed upstairs in a different house, she fell asleep halfway up on the cold wooden stairs. Often times, she'd fall asleep during meals with her hand in her food, and one time, she curled up in a small wooden chair and fell asleep there! Well, I'm off to go pull her little trundle out, tuck her in, and make her a bit more comfy for the night!
This is a link to a short video interview with Edith that Kate posted on the Facebook page. (Just click anywhere on the above sentence.)
Before moving into our family 5 1/2 years ago, Edith's life was tough, even when her bio-mother was still alive. Her mother was so ill from the time she was born, she didn't get much attention. They lived in poverty due to her mother's lack of ability to work. Edith's only toys were a tin can and some soil outside their make-shift house. If you ask Edith about her mom, she has no memory of her since she was only 4 when she became mine. She doesn't know how different her life is comparatively, but that's ok with me because now Edith gets to be a normal kid. Here's what she's doing now. Check out her dance moves! (Click on the preceding sentence for a Facebook video.)
Edith likes playing dress up.
Edith loves pizza and lasagna.
A little more about Edith:
Growing up, my parents always called me 'Up in the clouds Kate.' Out of all my kids, I think Edith is the one that follows that definition. When all the other girls are getting ready for school, you might find Edith outside in her PJ's singing to herself and playing in the dirt having no care that she might be late for school. She enjoys playing by herself, and lives in her own world. She can go to school with shoe laces in her shoes, and come home with them missing. Like her daddy, Johnny, she has a phlegmatic personality, which means she's quite peaceful and takes her time doing things. Slow and steady, she gets things done. She has matured and grown by leaps and bounds over the last 5 1/2 years.
I'm proud she's mine.
Edith talks about supper. (Click on the previous sentence for a video of Edith talking about dinner.)
More about Edith:
When Edith first arrived in our home, I thought it was going to be fairly smooth. I knew a few phrases in Kiswahili so I assumed communication would be easy.
Edith didn't speak English at all. She never lived in a house with toys or toilets for that matter, so the learning curve was great. I never imagined how difficult it would be to teach this 4 year old who never had parental guidance in her life, things without knowing her language! Let's just say, we've both learned a lot over the last 5 1/2 years. Her English is fantastic, and my Kiswahili is definitely BETTER.
Edith loves dirt. I mean she really adores it, especially if it is mud. If you can't find her anywhere in the house, usually you will find her outside playing in the dirt.
Like our page on Facebook to follow along as we focus on Grace next week.
Edith and dirt go together like peanut butter and chocolate. The girl loves playing in the dirt, and especially if it is wet. Mud could very well be her best friend. We just tell ourselves that it must be good for her skin, after all people pay good money to have mud rubbed on their bodies.
By the way if you have not liked our page on Facebook, go ahead and click the link and do so. We have picked up the activity over there. You never know what you might learn about us and our orphan-no-more children.
My kids are all out of school this month. They are watching "Karate Kid" with Jaden Smith. For those who may not know, his character moves to China and struggles with culture issues.
While watching (listening from my room), I'm reminded of some of the struggles my family went through when adapting to Kenyan culture.
I take note of my Kenyan daughters' faces as they watch some of the conflicts the protagonist endures, and I wonder...
- Can they understand? I mean really?
- They have never really experienced any other culture. Though we've introduced them to new culture by morphing two cultures together in our home.
- Kenya is such a young country (50 years old) that they still have tribal clashes among their own people.
- They have yet to mature into a unified people of various ethnic peoples, though progress is in the air.
- In fact, most of them still don't accept the Indians who are 3rd and 4th generation Kenyans as KENYANS. They are still 'foreigners' to most of them, let alone white Kenyans.
- There is a point in the film where the protagonist tries speaking Mandarine to a man on the airplane JUST because he looks Asian, and the man's response is, "Dude, I'm from Detroit." My Kenyan daughters didn't get it. They were quite confused. To them if you LOOK like a foreigner, you ARE a foreigner.
- I explained how diverse the citizens of the USA are, and how Emma & Éowyn who are Kenyan by birth will always LOOK foreign to her fellow darker Kenyan mates... which in turn sparked this article.
I'm curious to see how my children grow-- all of them. I'm hoping that by having a mixed family, they'll be more open minded to the fact that we should not judge people by their skin color, facial features, outer appearances.
And for my Kenyan daughters, I was wondering if they have the capacity to think beyond their own culture. Can the relate? Can they understand how challenging it is for us at times and for my bio-children to live in a foreign country? Admittedly, it's not foreign to my bio-kids, but no matter what, their skin will cause them to be treated as foreigners.... Unless...
Unless there is change.
Let's hope that as more and more different races infiltrate Kenya, there will be a change...
I'm embracing the Global Citizen.
Check out this note Edith left on our bed:
By the way if you have not liked our page on Facebook go ahead and do it now. Kate has been posting all kinds of great stuff about Edith the past couple of days. www.facebook.com/afutureandahope
-Ran 5 miles
-heard about the Boston Marathon Bombing
-Felt sick about it and angry with people for being cruel, grieved for those who innocently got hurt today
-took a video of Edith dancing for our fb page
-Went to town and got two packages in the mail which partially redeemed my feelings for the human race (Thank you Marcia and Marcy!)
-I met my son Andrew for lunch, and he paid for my lunch with his leftover birthday money. Another redeeming moment for humans.
-I rushed home to meet some visitors who just came back to Kenya and popped by.
-hugged some of my kiddos
-rushed off to the women's league
-painted a butterfly
-ate cake at the League
-road home with Fien
-served supper to my beautiful family (which was our home grown chickens in a stew- poor dears)
-ate some Camembert and home made bread as a snack
-gave the kids some licorice from Marcia's care package
-Ate some chewable vitamins (I LOVE chewable vitamins)
-typed this (left out bits)