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Entries from November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Kasambara Kenya. Today we will be celebrating with other Americans here in Kenya and thinking of and missing our friends and family back in Texas. 

So what am I thankful for?

  • My wife. She is a hero not only for all she does but for putting up with me. I am not the easiest person to be married to, but she loves me and for that I am grateful. 
  • The rest of my family. Let's face it without you I wouldn't be here. 
  • Freedom from religious obligation. 
  • All the donors who make what we do possible. 
  • And a whole host of other things. 

HHappy Thanksgiving. 

The Struggle

Sometimes The Struggle weighs heavy on me. 

The choices I have made in life, they impact more than just me. 

I have chosen to fight, to struggle for, life, justice, and love. That fight affects more than just me. 

It impacts my whole family.

Is it worth it?

Right now sitting here at 9:53 p.m. listening to Black Sabbath I'm inclined to say, "yes it is worth it."

We have rescued 9 girls and impacted many hundreds more. Plus our own biological children are growing up in a way that is not only unique, but meaningful. 

Not to mention myself and Kate. We have become so much more than what we were in Texas. 

Once upon a time we just sat in church, listening to sermons and paying our tithe. Reading supposed Christian books and listening to terrible music just because it was labeled as Christian. 

Got tired of that and tried the American Dream, and well it didn't work for us.

Creating family from the ashes of lives, well that is just plain awesome. 

I don't mind tutting our own horn here. What we have done, with the assistance of the Divine, is just phenomenal. 

Children who had no future, no hope at all, now can actually dream of being models, doctors, teachers, and presidents. 

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, except for one fact. We (Kate and I) will fight for, love, sacrifice, discipline, teach, and be silly with all our children. Our blood and our adopted blood.

The struggle is worth it. 

What's going on...

All of our children are out of school for the next 6 weeks! Grace, Sarah A, Mildred, Sarah M, Mercy, Mary, Teresa, and Beatrice have all gotten their hair braided especially neat, and have gone to visit relatives across the country with self esteem to show how happy and healthy they are.

Edith has stayed home with us because she just felt like she wanted Mom and Dad this year. So we are happy to have her here along with Andrew, Makena, Butterfly, Emma, Éowyn, Johnny and myself.

During this time while some of the girls are away, on The Shire we are working on little projects like burying a water pipe the animals keep stepping on, plus putting gutters on some roof tops for water collection, leveling an area of land for some animal training, and also we are working on putting a cob (sand, clay, straw, water) floor in the girls' bedroom while most of them are away. So the kids who are home are sleeping in the loft! The bunks are being broken down so we can start stomping and making mud for the floor!

A friend bought us 8 camping showers! I am looking forward to trying them out and seeing if they work for us in making our bathing experience a little easier.

Matthew Barrow has been coming up to the Shire to work on the Earth Bag house for one of his orphan boys. Andrew will also move into the two bedroom house with this young man once it is complete. Then we will have Andrew's tiny room to put a desk in, freeing up the hut for guests!

We could always use volunteers around the farm.


Things I can live without

Recently I read a post by a facebook friend going on and on about the things she sacrifices... It was interesting, to say the least, but it got me to thinking about the things we live without, and I thought, hey let me see if I can name some. Oddly enough, I'm quite used to this simple life, so this isn't to make me look like a martyr. It's just for interest.

  • Hair dryers

  • Hot Rollers

  • Curling iron

  • Clothes iron

  • Dish washer

  • Clothes washer

  • Clothes dryer

  • Hot water

  • Tea kettle

  • Flushing toilets

  • Bath

  • Shower

  • Microwave

  • Vacuum

  • Floors

  • Air conditioning

  • Heaters

  • Electric appliances

  • Blender

  • Mixer

  • Rice cooker

  • Coffee maker

  • Crock pot

  • Car

  • Food processor

  • Toaster

  • Fridge

  • Freezer

  • Juicer

  • iPod

  • CD player

That's just off the top of my head.

I miss having floors and a shower the most. The rest, I can live without.


Things we do have

  • 13 daughters and 1 son

  • Health

  • 2 Donkeys

  • 2 Cows and a calf

  • 2 Pigs

  • 2 Dogs

  • A cat

  • 2 Horses

  • 2 Rabbits

  • 2 chickens

  • A husband

  • Lots of books

  • A Samsung galaxy mega

  • IPad mini

  • A bed to sleep in

  • A place to call home

  • A trampoline

  • A motorcycle

  • Friends and supporters who love us and actually read my posts.

Some things we hope for

  • Another motorcycle so Johnny and I both can go out together

  • Enough monthly supporters to keep food on the table and in the troughs

  • Finances to finish the building projects we have started

This was quite random! I hope you enjoyed it!



Trashy Monday

What to talk about this Monday? What fits with a drizzly Monday morning? Monday, Monday, Monday. I know how about garbage?

With a family that is as large as ours we produce a good amount of waste. We do try to purchase as much fresh produce and meat as possible, which reduces waste by, a lot. Plus all the food related waste is now consumed by pigs. What they do not eat gets put into compost heaps. So all that stuff is food for our food or future dirt.

The rest is another story. Here in Kasambara (the name of the nearby little village) there is no garbage collection like we had back in Nakuru. So we, or rather I (Johnny) have to deal with it.

I have to seperate all the trash.

 Nasty business, but we do have soap. I have four basic piles: Plastic, Metal, Glass, and Combustibles.
The combustibles are easy enough to deal with, they become fuel for a fire. The others are more difficult. Thankfully Andrew (our 16 year old son) has made inroads in the scrap metal community and so he is in charge of getting rid of the metal. 

The plastic goes to Michael (farm hand) who takes it to a recycler and makes a little money on the side for himself. 

Glass, is just sitting there for now. Hopefully some of it will become windows in the future, and some are used to help water new trees.


Next Monday I may have to show you are waterless toilets. 

Our Earthbag house

What is an Earthbag house? It's a house made out of earth bags of course!
Why are we building one? We have friends who took in nine street boys and helped them through boarding schools and has parented them along the way. One of their young men is graduating high school this November and wants to persue agriculture. Being that the Barrows and our family are close, we offered to have him move to The Shire where he can be a paid staff member as he learns how to run a farm! He needs a place to live, so we are building a small two bedroomed house. One bedroom will be for Andrew as well. Since we like to keep costs down I am Eco-friendly, we are building the house out of Earth.
The process: First, our friend Matthew Barrow drew up a floor plan. Then we dug out a level spot saving the clay for use in the walls later, and then poured a slab.
Now we are using mesh vegetable bags to hold our sand/clay mix that is moistened with a bit of water.
Around and around we will go until the walls are tall.
Here's our progress so far.

The dirt is free, but we will need mesh bags, windows, doors, floor tiles, cabinets, solar panels, roofing materials, a pit latrine dug and built, a shower, and labour to get it all done. From start to finish, we need about $8,335 to get it complete according to Matthew Barrow's projection.

We have 8 pages of listed details if you are interested.
We are hoping to raise the money for this project by the end of November using word of mouth instead of doing a campaign.
Would you consider helping us spread the word and donating? We will keep folks updated as to our goals and how much money has come in through the blog and facebook. Keep checking in, and make sure to let us know if you give whether it is designated for this particular project.
You can donate by clicking on the button in the sidebar.
Thanks for being a part!



Before and After photos that will touch your heart

November 2007, after a week of living with us, Grace finally smiles..

Seven years later, today, she glows...


Teresa is on the right in this 2007 photo. We were buying her food and helping her years before she moved in with us...

Now she has been our daughter for five years.

Sarah Apiyo lived in a village when we found her in 2007...

Now she's been living with us for seven years. (Front)
Even animals need a chance.. Sagana was starving at another home..
One month and many vet checks later, she's filling out...
The Shire when we bought it in 2012
The Shire a few months ago 2014.
Mildred on her first day in our home in 2007...
Milly now.
Edith on her first day in our home in October 2007...


Edith this morning.
Roheryn was not being fed in his previous home...
Roheryn is filling out after two months here.
The beginnings of our reciprocal roof in 2013...
The beauty of it now.
Our first building 2013
The hut completed.
The hut now.
The inside of our house/barn.

The inside now.

Thanks for helping us get this far. People from all over the world bringing a future and a hope to our family. We feel the love, and we pass it forward.