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Entries from May 2013

The Hut

I will be heading out to The Shire (our new piece of land) tomorrow to finalize plans to build a small circular hut. This small hut (approximately 12 foot diameter) will house a caretaker (most likely me, Johnny) during the construction phase of the building we will live in. Unfortunately insecurity is a big issue here in Kenya, and theft of materials will happen without constant watching. Most people never leave their property unattended. Took me a long time to adjust to that thinking, but experience has taught me that if it is not nailed down and guarded, it will disappear. 

Eventually the hut will serve as an office or be used as housing. 

It will be built out of mud, a common practice in the community. Though we will be using a method from England called cob, basically a mixture of straw, sand, and clay. Ali, who will be helping with the hut, has built several homes out of mud before. His own house in fact is mostly mud. A very simple little thing. No electricity, no running water, just walls, floor, and a roof. 

It's a bit exciting as this will be the first structure we build on The Shire, putting us one step closer to moving on the  land.


Mercy is, in my opinion, the most dramatically changed child in our care. She is not the same in any regard as the child that moved into our home more than 5 years ago. She is now a young lady full of hope, laughter, spunk, and smarts.

Join us on our Facebook page as we take a look at Mercy over the next few days.

mercy cover photo

You Can Help

The best way to help is by donating money. We need money to feed, clothe, house, and all other things the kids we have rescued (as well as ourselves.) We also need funds to develop The Shire so we can move out there as soon as possible. Once living on The Shire we will be better able to grow food, and help/rescue more children.

Donations can be made by check, make it out to A Future and a Hope and sent to:

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

Bob will deposit the check into the bank, and 100% is available for our use. 

Or you could send via PayPal. There is a button on the side bar, the left hand side of this blog. Or you can send the donation to [email protected]

MoneyGram, WesternUnion are also available. Just send us an email and we can make the arrangements from there.

Wire transfers between banks also possible now. Send an email and arrangements can be made. ([email protected])

Sarah Apiyo in Summary

Sarah ApiyoI was supposed to summarize Sarah’s week this past Friday, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

You see Sarah embodies why we rescue and care for children perfectly. She is the, or rather was, the epitome of the orphan problem here in Kenya.

She started life out in a rural village where girls and women do not hold the same place in society as men and boys. Her tribe practices wife inheritance, though the custom has not adapted well to the modern times. You see instead of the husband’s brother marrying his brother’s widow in order to care for her and maintain the family name and property, it is all about acquiring that property for himself and sex. Women more often than not find themselves powerless in these situations. If they refuse then they could lose the farm, or even worse, as was the case with Sarah’s mother.

She lost her life. The man who wanted to inherit her grew violent when she refused him and stabbed her to death. Sarah and her siblings found the body the next morning. The village/family took all the boys in and the land. The girls were turned out, which left Sarah living with a mentally unstable grandmother in extreme poverty.

We heard about her and invited her to live with us. Now she is in school, fed, healthy, and has a family that will not sell her off or turn her out just because she is a girl.

Sarah is a bit of an enigma though, a hard nut to crack . She is perfect in the sense of why we came, and it gives me a lot of pride to have been part of her rescue and securing her hope in the future. Yet she is a distant girl. Very quiet and emotionally reserved. So on one hand all those good feelings about saving her, on the other hand we are missing the feelings from her. Frustrated me for a while, till I realized I am the same way. One day she will express her feelings, till then she has a safe, loving family that will respect her feelings.


This last couple of weeks, thanks to donors helping us pay school fees, get food, etc... I was enabled to catch up on some expenses and do normal things like spend one on one time with my kids. I've been taking each one on a mommy date.

It's been giving me much needed individual bonding time with my daughters. I think it's as much a gift to me as it is to them. Plus, I can buy them personal items like bras and panties!

Today, I took Sarah Apiyo on her mommy date. We had some giggles trying on funky jackets at the market, got some much needed things like shoes, panties, and bras... but people can be SO annoying.

I took her to lunch, and our waiter approached the table and asked, "Is this your Househelp?"

Seriously?! He was asking if Sarah was my MAID?! Grrr.... Then when I told him she was my daughter he countered, "Oh, so you have a children's home."

I snapped, "No. It's MY home."

"You mean she lives with you?"

"Yeah, all of my children live with me." <DOH> "I have 14 of 'em, too." At this point, I was hoping he'd walk away and pack my leftovers as I had asked so we could leave... but he kept on...

"So if I have an orphan, I can just bring it to you."

(I'm practically steaming.)

"No. I'm not a children's home. I'm the mom of 14 children. I do everything. I don't hire nannies. We are a family, and I'm not taking in any more..." (by this point, I was too exhausted explaining, I just sighed, "Please pack our food. We're ready to go. Thank you."

<insert teenage eyeroll from this grown momma>


Running blind

I like running. Ask my parents, I always have.

Recently, I've started back at it. Each morning I'm up running. (Don't run away... this post has nothing to do with fitness.)

During my hour alone, I get to think. It's like when Johnny mows the lawn. It's 'his' time to think. I guess we're both a little wacky. <giggle>

The other day, I woke up at 5:30 and was out the door at 5:50 am. The sun comes up at 6 am every morning with only a few minutes variation through out the year because we live on the equator. It's a perk. :) No need for alarm clocks.

With that said, I started my run in the dark. Our roads are not paved. They are covered in rocks, marred with pot holes, and make for a challenging run in the daytime...

....but this morning, things were different. I couldn't see all the pot holes. I just RAN. I stumbled here and there at times, but for the most part, I was able to run without any incident.

I discovered as the sun rose above the horizon and painted the sky vibrant pinks and oranges, my focus went from darkness to the sky... So instead of looking at the road as I was prone to doing to prevent twisting an ankle, I went from blind running to blind running. And I learned something.

I wasn't looking at the obstacles in the road. And it caused me to run faster than usual. (I use endomondo to track my speed & distance).

It hit me that sometimes, it's actually better to not see clearly. Take moving to Kenya. If we had focused on the pot holes in the road to 'getting to Africa,' would we have done it?

I've always been the dreamer. I don't want to see the "reality of it all" as some would say. No, not me. I KNOW the pot holes are there, and I know the stones might make me stumble, but I'm ok with that. I just look up at the sky and run into the sunrise. And ya know what? It's OK.

Chase your dreams.



Johnny’s Time Line

5:30 a.m.    Kate’s dog wakes me up.

6:45 a.m.    Drive girls to school.

8:00 a.m.    Drive to auto garage and have mechanics look for leak in the Pajero’s cooling system. They can’t find it. Since I am taking a guy out to The Shire to do a survey they send a mechanic apprentice (Andrew) to look for the leak after the car is nice and warmed up.

11:00 a.m.   Pick up Matthew (one who is to do the survey) and drive out to The Shire. While he and I are surveying Andrew looks for leak in car. I stand around with a hose full of water up against a measuring rod and take orders from Matthew. Survey seems to go well and Andrew has found the leak.

2:00 p.m.    We are back at the garage, mechanics start working on broken pipe. Matthew heads home and Andrew and I have lunch.

4:30 p.m.    Car finally finished, and I pay a bill of about $16.50 U.S. dollars and head home.

5:00 p.m.    Head to the girl’s school to pick them up, a few other kids tag along for the ride. We are back home half an hour later.

6:00 p.m.    Dinner.

7:30 p.m.    T.V. (Last Man Standing and Ben and Kate)

8:20 p.m.    Typing out this time line.

Trusting Your Gut

It is so easy to sit around and talk about wonderful concepts and practices. You know like all the time I spent talking about having a leadership structure for our team that was linear/functional instead of hierarchical in nature. No one is to be the man, instead we all are the man. You simply lead at what you are good at doing.

I talked about this for months before actually having to put it into practice.

I had gone to a village a few hours away to see an orphaned girl and assess if we could take her in or not. This was back in 2007. I met the girl and ultimately we decided to take her in. This story is not about her, we will talk about her next week. No this story is about the extra girl we picked up with her, Sarah Apiyo.

Sarah Apiyo 2007 I had sent Ben back to the village to pick up the girl I had met before and at some point he calls me and tells me he met another girl as well. Turns out the two girls were living with the same old lady. Ben wanted to bring them both back to us in Nakuru.

I didn’t know what to do. I had never met Sarah Apiyo before. Would she fit in with us? Was she a bad seed? Did she know any English or Swahili? We had the space, but would we be a good fit for Sarah?

Finally I trusted my instincts and let Ben be the decision maker. He was there with Sarah and was more qualified to decide. Linear leadership.

Sarah came home with Ben and has been with us ever since. He made the right choice.

Sarah Apiyo

Sarah Apiyo goes by "Apiyo" often since we have two Sarah's in the house. The word Apiyo is Luo for twin. She has a twin brother out there some where, and I'm sure she misses him.

When Sarah first moved into our home back in 2007, she was quiet and pretty scared. But she was one of the first girls to tell me her story.

Village life is completely different from town life. Sarah's father had died from illness, and her mother was being abused by a man who was a known murderer by the community. In fact, now that she was without a husband, this man tried forcing her to marry him, and when she said no....

Sarah has many siblings, one of whom is a twin brother. They were sleeping outside their small house due to lack of space. They went to the house to make tea when they found their mother had been stabbed through the neck, her lifeless body was on the sofa in a bloody mess. Pretty traumatic for a young girl and her siblings.

To make matters worse, an Uncle came to take the children away, but since girls are considered useless, he only wanted the strong boys of the family. Sarah was left alone, separated from her twin brother up until this day.

She has older sisters who are grown and live in different parts of the continent, but they are not in positions to care for Sarah. She lived with her very old grandma who, when Johnny went to meet Sarah, came out with a machete after him thinking he was an intruder!

To sum it up, Sarah lives with us now, goes to school, and is experiencing things she would never have dreamed possible before.

Sarah apiyo's fb cover

Here’s BT

Beatrice cover photo

If you are paying attention, then you realize that BT’s week was last week. I didn’t get this post up on Friday, power outages, lawn mowing, forgetfulness, and grilling pushed it out of my mind. Let me give you a few photos of Beatrice:

Upside Down Beatrice

It is upside down Beatrice, with right side up Makena.










Beatrice and MusicBeatrice and Music











Beatrice doing homework.Beatrice and homework, notice the not too pleased look.










Beatrice on a bike.Beatrice on a bike.