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February 2014
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April 2014

Entries from March 2014

Get to know our names...

I used this photo in the last article, but I thought, if you haven't already, you should learn to recognize our faces. This is a challenge for you. Get to know us.

My family, pictured below, are more than just faces. Each one of us has a story and a voice. Can you recognize who we are? Zoom in, learn our names.

Here are our names in Photo order from left to right:

Johnny, Andrew, Mercy, Mildred, Grace, Mary, Sarah, Teresa, Makena, Beatrice, Butterfly, Sarah, Edith, Emma, Éowyn, and Kate


They give of themselves, too...

Each morning, I wake up at 5:30 am, make sure there is breakfast for my 16 member family, then I walk with 4 of my orphan-no-more daughters to town. It takes about 35 minutes to get to town. They board a public vehicle that drives them 30 minutes to the foot of a hill, of which on top, their school is located. Then they walk for another 45 minutes uphill to the school. School starts at 7:30 am and ends at 5:pm.

I am proud of them.

See, when they were younger, before moving in our home six and a half years ago, they didn't have parents to pay the school fees for their education. They missed a lot of school. They understand the privilege it is to get an education, and I am so very proud of them. They do not complain that it takes 2 hours, mostly on foot, to get to their school, and yet another 2 to get back home. Instead, they diligently do it every day.

I walk with them as far as I can, then turn around and walk back home. My walk is only 1 hour and 10 minutes. Do I HAVE to do it? No. I do it for many reasons, but the main reasons are that I enjoy my morning chats bonding with them, and I don't want to require that they do something I am not willing to do myself. So, we do it together.

Bringing these girls a future and a hope is not always easy. But they put forth effort to change their lives as well.

If you are a financial supporter of what we do, we all thank you. My girls are grateful and give back with energy, hope, and desire to persue their dreams...



Already Packing


Even though we have not officially chosen April as our move in month for The Shire Kate is already packing. What I mean by " officially chosen" is that I have not yet given notice with the owner of the house we are currently renting. We still have around 5 days to give our month notice if we are to move by end of April.


Besides packing there are a few somewhat big hurdles to overcome before we can move.

Electricity. We do have a small generator that will power lights and recharge our devices in the evening. We can survive a few weeks or months like that, but we will need to purchase solar panels and batteries to lessen our dependence on the noisy generator.

Plumbing. Currently we have an outhouse. Said outhouse is on the other side of the property, making nighttime potty breaks a pain. We want to use dry composting toilets, but I am concerned about being overwhelmed by the amount of solid waste. Meaning we most likely will need to install a septic system. The water tank installation and running of pipes can easily be done while we are there. One thing living in Kenya has taught us is how to live without running water for extended periods of time.


Those are the biggies, but we are still optimistic for an end of April move in date.




What is left to be done

So my mind has been spinning with all that needs to be done in just a short time...

Johnny and I are trying to finish our barn, AKA The Prancing Pony, so we can move to The Shire with our 14 children this April.

Reasons for moving so soon include:

  • It is a window of time when the children will be out of school making them free to pack up and move as well as able to transition to a new school (the younger ones who currently school in Nakuru).
  • It is so difficult traveling back and forth to The Shire to work on things while leaving the kids at home
  • The girls who are attending High School near The Shire are walking miles and miles each day during wee hours of the morning and late evenings. They need to be closer to their school.
  • We can work on things while we are there.
  • The Prancing Pony is rent-free
  • We can plant food and get started on the garden
  • The rains are only going to get more plentiful and the roads more muddy if we wait until the next school holiday in August.
  • Right now the roads are still passable with a big moving truck, but they won't be for long...

Currently, the Prancing Pony (house) is not quite livable yet. We raised half the money we needed last year, and we have managed to build a 2000 sq ft structure. We have mud walls, wooden shudders, a fence, and a roof, but that is about all. We still need to do a lot of things to make it work for us, some of which we can do while living there...

We need:

  • to smooth and plaster the walls
  • Level and smooth the floors
  • Tile in the wet rooms and put stones in the kitchen
  • put in cupboards, shelves and cabinets in the storage areas
  • have the toilets built
  • put in a septic tank
  • buy a gas fridge
  • get solar panels, inverters, etc.. and run the wiring through the house
  • put in the basic plumbing for the sinks
  • buy a gas cylinder to fuel the fridge and cook with
  • get 6 more water tanks to collect rain water so we have it during the dry season
  • buy a kuniburner for heating water
  • get a truck load of sand for building
  • pack up our belongings and hire some trucks to help us move
  • find a primary school for the younger girls, pay their school fees and get new uniforms

Whew! See? That's not too much now is it?

<needing encouragement>


Transmission Replaced


The Pajero, known as Montero in the U.S., had the transmission replaced a couple of weeks ago. So far so good. We were unable to find a brand new one for our 1994 vehicle, and would have likely been unwilling to pay the amount a new one would have cost ( close to how much we paid for the Pajero.) We were blessed to have someone donate $2,500 towards the repair and the day the money arrived a used transmission became available. In fact when it was all said and done and the last bolt was in place we spent exactly that amount of money on the job.

Unfortunately someone forgot to put in said last bolt. Which then caused an oil leak, which then led to fuel injector problems, and so forth. I am sitting at the garage right now as I type this having a fuel line pipe replaced. Sigh.

If it isn't human error it's the rough roads. It is hard to win car wise in Kenya.


Family Photo

I am not going to make any excuses for the lack of posts over the past few weeks. Instead I will share with you our latest family photo:



What a bunch of kids. It has been a blessing being a part of their lives, and seeing the transformation from hopelessness to a hope filled future. These guys are why we are here, and make the effort more than worth it.


Here is another family shot:

Brooks Family

If you have not done so yet why not head on over to our Facebook page and click on the like button? It not only strokes our egos, but can help to raise awareness of what we are doing. (Here’s the link.)