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December 2013

Entries from November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving Day, though of course not a holiday here in Kenya, but nonetheless we have marked it as a family.

We awoke to Thanksgiving Day on The Shire, having camped out the evening before. The barn is coming along nicely, and the fence as well. In fact another missionary and his boys came along and helped with putting up barbed wire. We are looking forward to the fence being finished so we can focus on planting trees and bushes without worrying too much about them being eating by the neighbor’s cows and/or goats.

The local elders pointed out a flaw in our plan and are insisting we correct it. We have to build a toilet to be used during construction. Ali is getting quotes now to have a pit latrine dug as quickly as possible. Hopefully it will get done speedily and the elders will be appeased.

No turkey for us this year, they are a bit expensive here in Nakuru. Perhaps next Thanksgiving Day we will have grown our own turkey. Instead of fowl we will dine on beef today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Materials Are Delivered

Rain equals mud in Kasambara, where The Shire is located. Mud equals difficulty in driving. A sacrifice we are willing to make to bring A Future and a Hope to more children here in Kenya. Thankfully we have a four wheel drive vehicle, unfortunately that is not always true for the delivery trucks. Finally after days of struggling the building materials are delivered. Now let the building commence.

Building Materials for The Shire Building Materials Building Materials.

Weird Supper

We have 10 Teenage children. TEN. Two of whom are 19, one is 18, and a third is 17.


I was busy making things for the craft fair, so I thought, let me just ask my grownup children to be creative and make supper.


I ran the idea by them, and their eyes lite up. I told them they could use any food items they could find. Just make supper. Now keep in mind these girls have cooked Kenyan meals all their lives. This should be no big deal, I thought.


Giggles, laughter, a few crashing noises resonated from the kitchen. I decided to take a peak. On one counter, two girls were shredding cabbage and carrots for cole slaw, then on the stove top I saw our oldest pressing something in a pan. They decided to make cole slaw and pancakes... Interesting. Which the pancakes would have been fine except they didn't put any raising agent in the flour, no eggs, but they DID add chocolate chunks. I will give them that! As our oldest orphan-no-more pressed each pancake as FLAT as she could in a puddle of oil, I just had to bite my tongue and not say a word.


Each pancake was dripping with oil and had the texture of rubber. I nearly choked on my first bite because it just wouldn't go down! I tried to hide my struggle with a grin. The syrup they made was overly thick and too sweet, but it was a great supper because I didn't make it.


Learning to Grow - In Love

Love is one of those things that religion, philosophy, and music have tangled and complicated almost beyond recognition. 

I learned that the Bible has several different words for love: 

  • Agape - love in a spiritual sense
  • Eros - physical love
  • philia - mental love

There could be more, but that alone is enough to make muddy what should be crystal clear. I know if I love you or if I don't love you. Greek words are not needed, nor is a classification of that love. All love is the same. Love is love. Love is sacrifice. If I love you I will give up a part of myself for you. Simple.

The hard part is learning to love someone who does not love you back, or whom it is not natural for you to love. 

When the girls first moved into our home it was simple enough to love them. I mean they were cute little kids who needed us, easy receptacles for love. It became more difficult when the love was not reciprocated. Downright near impossible when they started demanded our self sacrifice. That was a game changer. I had to learn to grow in love towards the children, who because of the trauma they had experienced, found it hard to love in return. 

I do not have any big fancy Greek words to describe what happened. The love was strong enough to weather that storm. In fact I grew to love them more, because they were pushing so hard against us. In my mind it was the same sacrifice that Jesus made for me. He loved me before I knew him, before I could reciprocate that love. He sacrificed himself so that I could know love. That is how I have grown in love. We sacrifice now for these children, so that one day they can love as well.

Not that I have learned all there is to know about love, but for sure I know that I love these children.

Learning to Grow - Tree Tomato


I had never heard of a tree tomato before moving to Kenya back in 2005. They are popular here and can be found all over the place. I do not care for the taste of the fruit, but the children enjoy them. 

We planted one on The Shire and may end up giving it a buddy as well. Unfortunately I have since learned that the tree does not have deep roots and has weak branches. Meaning it does not do well in windy areas, and we have a high windy season there on The Shire. So we will not be investing much time and effort into the tree tomato. 

Our monthly budget for November

Just in the light of keeping things candid, November and December are the hardest months of the year for us. It is easy for us to get lost in the shuffle with the busyness of the holidays.

I completely understand it.

... but it does make caring for 14 children (TEN teenagers!) a bit difficult, and being far from our families (haven't seen mine in 6 1/2 years), it can be a low time for us mentally as well. I try to psych myself up and focus on the positive as this time of year rolls around, but I will admit, our expenses become greater, and donations become smaller making this time of year very hard to 'chin up' through.

I am not asking for a holiday. No. I am just asking to be able to keep food on the table, get the bills paid, and hopefully have some extra to help some extra folks, too.

This is the budget for taking care of orphan girls in Kenya. The marked items have been paid. The rest we need help with.

Rent $488

Staff $288

Electricity $380

Water $53

Garbage $3

Cell phone airtime for the teens and us $23

Internet credit for teens and us $190

cooking gas $41

Transport so the girls can visit their families $214

Pet care $59

Market (produce) $238

Groceries for 16 $952

Allowance $119

Kids $59

gas for the cars $119

Insurance $9

Hygiene (soap, shampoos, etc) $55

Cleaning Supplies $98

Misc $238