Yipee! It is raining here in Kasambara, Kenya. In fact as I type this it is raining. The grass has already turned green again, and the trees are soaking up water. Hopefully the trees we have planted can do a lot of growing this rainy season so they will be strong enough to survive the dry season.
Speaking of rain we have a bit of an issue with our roof. The rain comes down from the hill with the wind sideways, and hits our house in such a way that it comes inside. Well it mists inside anyway. We have a plan to fix it, and with help from our friends over at Child2Child we will soon have a price on materials.
Check out the two videos below. The first is Kate showing the rain in the house, and the second is me showing where we will stop the rain from coming inside the house.
We now have two more solar panels on top of The Prancing Pony (what we call our house.)
Then we added two more batteries. Well actually we bought four as we replaced our originals which were not working.
These added panels and batteries now give us a full evenings worth of electricity. Still not enough for refrigeration, but that is a future project.
After we purchased The Shire and put up a fence (half the land,) and built a little hut I (Johnny) started to push for an early move in date. I wanted to be on the farm in order to start developing it without the hour commute or sleeping in tents.
When The Prancing Pony (our current home) was nearly finished I suggested we move in. No electricity, no running water, and worse of all no floor.
Having never lived without a floor I didn't realize how difficult it actually would be. The dust is killer. Poor little ~Eowyn keeps stubbing her toes. I cannot walk around in socks at the end of the day.
Not that I am complaining, well not complaining too much. We started saving money as soon as we moved in, which in some months (like this one) is fantastic. Development became easier as we are here twenty-four hours a day, and we are able to participate in the work more.
Still a floor, more electricity, and a bathroom would be nice.
We are running a fund raising campaign at the moment and several new folks have come into contact with us. So maybe it is time for one of those "why do we do this?" posts?
That is both an easy to answer question and not so easy one at the same time.
Easy part: Children, all children, deserve to grow up in a home. A home with family who loves them. A home where family cares for their needs. A home where they are safe. A home where they can be who they were created to be. A home that provides hope in the future.
Easy enough to explain. The children deserve the life we are providing for them. We believe it is our responsibility to work towards providing these children with a future and a hope.
The harder part of the why question is, why us? Why does it have to be Kate and Johnny in Kenya caring for orphaned/abandoned Kenyan children?
Honestly I am not sure why it has to be us, and some days I really wonder, "Why me?"
I suppose the best way to explain it is that I took the following passage from the Bible seriously:
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
Several years have passed since I read that and found the inspiration to move to Kenya with Kate and our children. Much has changed since then, yet one thing has remained constant. I believe that we are to be here in Kenya helping orphaned/abandoned children find family. That is our destiny. Our fate in life.
The majority of orphaned and vulnerable children here in Kenya do not have anyone willing to make sacrifices on their behalf. There is no foster care system. The government run orphanages, which there are few, are terrible places. Many of the private run homes are horrible as well. Even the "nice" missionary run homes are still institutions designed to corral as many orphans as possible in as little space as possible using as little money as possible.
We took in nine girls more than seven years ago. Nine girls who had no one who was willing to care for them. We did not know them. We are not related by blood, culture, or even language. Yet when we learned of their stories we could not turn them away.
Each of those girls was destined for a life of servitude as maids (called house girls or house help here in Kenya.) In fact the majority of them were maids before coming to our house. Working all day long for little or no pay. In constant danger of molestation by the man of the house or his friends. Zero freedom, no hope, and absolutely no human dignity.
Which is why we do what we do. We believe that children, all children deserve a Future and a Hope.
Will it ever end? The building that is. Every time I turn around here on The Shire we are building something. Hammer, bang, smack, mortaring, hauling around sand, stone, and progress. Two structures are being built right now, and we have a long list of more to come.