I just thought I'd update everyone with what projects we have going on on The Shire and where we are headed with it all.
For those who don't know, we are doing our best to learn how to become more selfsustaining. Admittedly, we've never done this before, so we are giving ourselves 5 years (4 1/2 more to go) in the learning process before we try to do it again with another family for orphans.
At the moment, we do not have the expenses of water, electricity, nor rent. We do however, need to expand the capasity of those elements in our lives. Our electricity (solar) is not enough to sustain a refrigerator nor is it able to do our electric appliances such as electric ovens, blenders, or kettles, or microwaves. We turn the power on in the evenings only. It's a very simple life!
Also, we haven't lived on The Shire with our 16 member family through a dry season yet. So we really think we'll need a lot more water storage during a drought. Either that, or a bore hole. A borehole can cost upwards of $20,000, so water tanks with a roof over them for collection might be a cheaper option.
As far as the farming aspects go, we cannot plant many (any) crops until the rains come in April. At the moment, we have half an acre of potatoes growing, a small amount of sweet potatoes, a few herbs, and some banana trees that are still young. It will take us some time to get all these things grown for eating, and even still, they will not be enough to sustain us.
From a financial aspect, meat is the way to go... Meat is expensive and it reproduces itself. With some extra money, we can finish our pig sty, build a chicken coup and chicken tractors, and also buy some more livestock. We have two cows at the moment, and one on the way! So that is a great start.
How does this help our orphans-no-more? Why do all this work? I believe that we are teaching them 'how to fish' so to speak. If they learn how to plant things in the ground and how to use solar energy instead of living on the grid, and how to collect, store and use rain water, then they can live a beautful life on the small income of an average Kenyan family. Plus we are teaching them to love and respect life. All life. It's not normal to find a Kenyan treating his animals with love. I believe it is a give and take with animals. So our kids are learning this first hand. Also, it's all good for the planet, and great for the kids' souls.
In our case, we have to do things on a much larger scale because our family is the size of FOUR average families, so we may never be completely selfsustaining. We have two staff we must pay, and a part time worker plus our 16 family members. Food is our biggest expense as well as transport. Admittedly, we quite enjoy not having a car, but we are considering getting a quad-bike (4 wheeler). We could carry more food on it, and we could get in and out of these terrible roads during a rain.
So where do your donations go?
- Food for the kids, us, animals, and locals who are working here helping expand
- Transport to and from town
- School fees, uniforms, books, field trips, etc... for the children
- Back into the community through locals who ask for jobs
- Into The Shire
We are not frivolous people. We conserve water buy using composting toilets, harvesting rain, and not having a bath nor running shower. We have a very simple life.
We also, walk. A lot! We use public transport when we can, too.
We don't take vacations, nor holidays, and we don't fly to the US spending lots of $ on fundraising. All fundraising is done through word of mouth through you, on social media, and occassionaly with online campaigns.
We are just normal folks trying to make an impact in the lives of those we can touch.
*Butterfly says, "Plus, if there is ever a Zombie apocolypse, we will survive."