Starving for Pictures

I am literally starving for the pictures of my time in Kenya during March and April. I had them all on a flash drive to bring home with me, and a well-meaning woman at a computer services shop saved a copy of our long-awaited NGO certificate on the drive, the day before I left to come home. When I got here, I realized she had over-written everything on there. All I had was the NGO certificate. Michelle has been trying to get them to me, but she deals with the daily challenges of no electricity, no internet signal, dead batteries on the phone and laptop, a post office in town with no bubble-wrap envelopes, a husband and child with malaria, trying to renew her visa, etc, etc.

So……. When one of our NEW teachers, Chapman Omari, posts a picture on Facebook taken with his phone, pictures of the children at our school enjoying their lunch, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  I can’t wait for more!!!

Children Eating 5-6-15I went to Kenya at the beginning of March to relocate our school, plan for temporary buildings, purchase kitchen supplies and school furniture, hire additional teachers and staff, get the teachers moved, and a host of other exciting things. Registration took place on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and we have grown to a school of 100 children at Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy!! We have a Day Care for babies and children under 3, and a school that goes through Class 7. We prepare nutritious meals for children, teachers, and staff, twice a day. We have certified teachers and we have some who spend every minute during their month-long breaks, working to become certified. All of them love these children dearly, and are completely dedicated to helping educate and improve their lives.

Thankfully, I have a few pictures on my phone to hold me over until the Big Batch arrives, so here are a few taken during construction. I have yet to see the completed project, with cement floors and doors installed.

Construction Collage

In addition to these four large classrooms, we also have this mud building to use.

Construction 4

Until we can open a lemonade stand somewhere to raise more money, we have no electricity, but we DO have two brand-spanking new pit latrines down the hill. God is good!

I DO NOT LIKE TO SHOP! Anyone who knows me, knows that. However, I had a blast shopping for this school. Here is just a fraction of the things we bought.

Kitchen Supplies Collage

How I wish I had a picture of the enormous stack of plastic chairs, transported on the back of a piki piki.  Just try to imagine a stack three times this high:

Chairson the back of one of these:Piki-Piki CroppedIt was hilarious!

As I anxiously await the arrival of a thousand pictures (I know you’re anxiously awaiting, too!), I think about the precious children we’re teaching in Kenya. They are so thankful to be able to go to school, to have food to eat, and to be so loved. They are exceptionally well-behaved children, but kids will be kids, right? We have an app for that! His name is Bishop Ernest Okhonya, a.k.a. “The Enforcer.” Wouldn’t you think twice before acting up in class if you thought you would have to face this man? I certainly would!


Uwe na siku njema sana. (Have a very good day!)

Mungu akubariki sana! (God bless you BIG!)


We’re Moooving Ahead



Scherry Brownfield

This beautiful Ayrshire milk cow came to live with our little community of teachers and children at Kiwanda Cha Tumaini on the very day I was leaving Kenya a week or so ago. She is already blessing us with some milk, but will kick it into high gear when she gives birth to her second calf in a few months.

When we arrived in Western Kenya at the beginning of March, the country was in a severe drought, and the dry season had gone on for much longer than in normal years. When the rains finally came, it was a new experience for this Texas Girl!  I’m talking, daily torrential downpours! I realized that I had never been in Kenya during March and April. Wow, what a trip!

The downside of this situation was that there was very little Napier grass to feed a cow, even if we could find a good one. Our search went on for weeks and weeks. We found a gorgeous Jersey heifer, ready to calve at the end of May, at the University of Nairobi Vet Farm. The people at the farm were so wonderful, and we had made arrangements to buy our first cow. However, at the last minute, we ran into a roadblock when the University System placed a hold on any sales while they were in the process of an audit. We’re still holding out hope that one day, she may come to bless our kids with even more milk.

The upside of the situation is that, when the rains finally came, we were prepared and ready to receive our new resident cow. She will give us greater quantities of milk, although the Jersey’s milk is higher in butter-fat, and we were looking forward to teaching our beloved Kenyans how to make butter. This will be a great improvement in their diet because they consume tons of a disgusting product called Blue Band. It’s an unrefrigerated margarine-type goop, very close in chemical structure to plastic. Gag!

You may be wondering why we named our cow “Miss Scherry Brownfield.” Well, I’m glad you asked. Back in the good ol’ days when John and I were at Baylor University, he belonged to the coolest “Social Club” on campus. In fact, he was a founding member. (This was before Baylor gave in and admitted national fraternities and sororities.) I always considered myself an honorary member (and still do), because I loved these guys so much, and hung out with them more than I did with my sorority sisters from Delta Alpha Pi. In addition to being awesome, they all had great senses of humor. Consequently, when Baylor’s Homecoming Parade rolled around, rather than build a traditional float, they rented a “cow” from a local dairy and placed a couple of Baylor’s most breath-taking beauties atop.

STE Float - B&W

Their names were Norelle Hicks and Scherry Brownfield.

Norelle & Scherry

We had already assigned Norelle’s name to the beautiful Jersey we had found, so when we located the Ayrshire pictured above, her name just had to be Scherry Brownfield. We are still praying for Norelle to show up on the scene, when the University of Nairobi System gets their audit finished.

Please pray for our ministry as we strive to improve the lives of orphans and disadvantaged children in Kenya. Our school will reopen three days from now on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, and, God willing, milk will now be a regular part of the diet of 85 children and approximately 20 teachers, staff, and patients at the school and clinic.

We are praising God for cows, and for our faithful supporters who helped us reach this new milestone.

Mungu akubariki sana!