Previous month:
April 2014
Next month:
June 2014

Entries from May 2014

Helping more people

To bring folks up to speed, 9 1/2 years ago, we moved to Kenya, almost 7 years ago, we started taking in and caring for children who have no parents, 1 1/2 years ago, we bought land, built a hut, and built a mud barn that serves as our house. One month ago we moved in to our barn/house.

We are working on making it more liveable. Our solar is up and running, our composting toilets serve us well. Today a plumber is coming, and we now have 20,000 liters of water storage. The rain collection works, and we have managed to fence in 5 of our beautiful 12 acres. We built a fence and stable for some livestock, and yesterday Makena got her baby donkey. I am looking at a pregnant cow, soon, too.

We still do not have plumbing nor kitchen counters nor floors, but those are in the works. We are building a kennel for the dogs to help us protect our future chickens, animals, and guests.

But what is all this for?

Just yesterday, Johnny was telling me we need to start thinking about how we can help more orpans.

That is our goal.

How is what we are doing able to be replicated?

We don't have the answers right now, just ideas, but we are going to be brainstorming and working on those details.

For now, we are helping the children who live with us in so many ways. They are living a normal life. They go to school and play sports and study. They get cuddles from us, and good food, and comfort. They are learning life skills along the way, and teaching me some as well!

We are helping locals in this area, too. Odd jobs pop up each day, and we hire guys who need a little cash. Yesterday we asked a young lad who needed work to move some stones with the wheel barrow. He did a good job so today he is coming back to help us build the kennel. We have a water tank hole to be dug, and leveling... lots of little jobs around.

We have two single moms who work for us as well. They reside in Nakuru, but if they like the idea, we will build them each a small house and let them farm some of the land for themselves, too.

So as we tread forward to reaching our goal of helping more people, we are impacting the people who are already in our circle of impact and even just beyond...



Monthly support

Just thought I would say, that we are grateful for those who helped us with our recent campaign.

We are excited about the progress on The Shire. We have solar panels installed, put a deposit on the kitchen counters, gotten pipes for some plumbing, and started building a fence for animals...We have what we need to continue there, but we don't want to spend floor money and plumbing money on groceries, and we can't grow food just yet...

So... maybe, just maybe some of you would like to help us with monthly support?

We could use a little help.

The Solar Post

Yesterday Matthew (a friend and fellow missionary here in Nakuru) and I went to Nairobi to purchase our initial solar system. The trip went smoothly and we made a purchase at the third company we visited. This is what we bought:

Solar System

Our fist time to buy anything like this. Well except for the small panel we bought for charging our phones.

A little more detail:

120 Watts Solar Panel

We now have 2 120 Watts Canadian solar panels. Canadian Solar has apparently been bought out, but these guys still have their panels. Panels that are German technology made in China. In other words we have international solar panels.


Epsolar Charge Controller

Electricity goes from the solar panels to the this little device called a charge controller. Which does as it's name suggests, controls the charging of the batteries.

Ritar Power 12v 100AH Battery

There are 2 of these batteries. Which of course will store the electricity generated by the panels. Our plan was for 4 hours of power in the evening time. We have lights, t.v. DVD, speakers, and charging of phones/computer.


200 Amp Fuse

I believe that after the batteries will be this big 200 Amp fuse. I think. Matthew knows the layout, but somewhere after the batteries but before the inverter charger comes this fuse.

After you have generated and stored your electricity it needs to be inverted into something useful. Since we are in Kenya we will be transforming it for a 220 system. From this inverter charger the power goes to the house and we can flip on a light. We bought this particular one because we can charge the batteries with the generator through it should the need too arise.

Electrical Lot and Mounting Hardware

Oops. I almost forgot to include the wire and mounting hardware we got as well.

Did we stay within budget?


Now that I've put this photo in the post I realize it is hard to read. We spent 175,000. ($2,002) Plus fuel for Matthew's car, lunch, and a stop at the media store to pick up Frozen for movie night this weekend. Within budget.


It's a Belated Mother's Day Post

Soooooo, I forgot Mother's Day. Which if you know me is not that shocking. I (Johnny) do not really go in for these "greeting card" holidays. Sorry Mom, but I am sure by now you expect nothing less from me.

I do feel slightly guilty. Since we are not exposed to commercials none of the children remembered either. We did recoup a bit before the end of the day and finished the day with a bit of grilled sheep. It was dark when we ate (still no electricity) so I am not sure if Kate appreciated the meat or not, but it was what we had to offer.

Despite my ambivalence toward Mother's Day as a holiday I do appreciate motherhood. In fact that is why I am here in Kenya right now typing this blog post. Children who had lost a mother needed a new one.

Seems difficult to imagine replacing a parent. There is some kind of bond between a child and their mother that can never be duplicated in another (in fact we started season 3 of Falling Skies last night and that line "You're not mother" appeared), but a new bond can be forged nonetheless.

The children we are caring for, and the future children we will help, needed a new mother. They did not need an organisation to order them in nice little rows with other motherless children. Nope. These girls needed a new mom.

A mom does more than just feed you. She does more than just help you with homework. More than washing your clothes, providing a house to live in, more than disciplining you. She does all those things and one more that an institution simply cannot do.

She loves you. Moms love their children, which is why they do all those things. Moms do not get paid to care for children. Nobody hired Kate to mother these girls. She does so because she loves them. Even when they try to be unlovable.

On this day after Mother's Day (I forgot, sorry) consider that the solution to the orphan plight of our world is not more orphanages. It is more moms.


I'm a mom.

I've been trying to write an article about who we are and what we do, and I just can't seem to get the muse.

I'm a mom. That just about sums it up.

I mean, I decided seven years ago that I would take in abandoned and orphaned children into my already large family and do what I do best... Be mom to them. My husband agreed to this crazy idea, and well...

Now for the last six and a half years, we have been parents to 9 Kenyan daughters as well as our five biological children.

We live a pretty crazy life up on this gorgeous hill in Kenya! It's all for a good cause. We hope that others will follow and take the leap to help orphans and abandoned kids, too.

They need family not institutions. And personally, we can't take in the nearly two million orphans in need here in Kenya, so we hope to set up a system that functions in a fairly self sustaining manner and replicate it so that other parents can care for children in need, too.

At the moment, we are in the beginning stages of sustainability. We have eleven acres, a mud house, and potential!

Stick with us and follow us on facebook as well as here on the blog to learn more.



Like our Facebook Page


Our Facebook page has 700 and something likes. Can't remember the exact number, and I do not have internet access at the moment. (Also I'm sure to forget to look it up when my phone finishes charging on the little solar panel and I can use the internet again.)

If you have not please consider surfing over to our Facebook page and hitting the like button. The more connections we can make the more opportunities we can create together to care for the children we have now and the ones who need us now.

I thought about creating a page on Google+, but then I couldn't think of anyone who actually uses it. Still thinking about it, but until I can access the World Wide Web again it will stay just a fleeting electrical impulse in my brain.


I'm Back

Hi from Johnny

My break with social media has come to an end. All in all I would say getting away from the online world for a bit worked out great. I felt that it was all just becoming too much for me to cope with. Thankfully this "sabatical" coincided with our move to The Shire. Which made it pretty easy to stay away from Facebook and the blog. No electricity and all.

We still do not have permanent electricity, but the generator is working out for t.v. time in the evening, and I did purchase a small solar kit for charging our phones. (Plus we take the opportunity to charge our computers, while watching White Collar.) Soon we will make a final decision on the solar setup and purchase enough to power lights, t.v., DVD player, and charge phones and computers. Not enough for refrigeration. I am still hoping for a propane powered fridge sometime in the future. (In the meantime I have burried my Coke Zeros in a claypot with water in the ground.)

Shelves have been installed in the Prancing Pony, stones laid in the shower, drainage put in for said shower, and we are enjoying the peace and quiet of a community without electricity, gates clanging at all hours, and horns constantly hooting.

Personally I am not too keen on the dirt floor we have in the house. There is just something "unclean" about walking around on dirt. Kate has plans to install more stones around the house in the future, so clean feeling feet are at least something I can still hope for.

Thank you to everyone who has made this move possible. We are putting together a system here on The Shire that can be duplicated on another piece of land in order to care for more children. This agriculture based approach will hopefully allow the homes to be more self sustaining. We have not yet planted much beyond fruit trees and herbs, but piece by piece we are taming The Shire.