Dear Collin,

Pure joy. You’re the light of my existence. The chubby little belly to kiss. The one who always says “mom Mom MOM!” and I, what baby? “I love you too.” You’re the one who begs me not to get out of bed in the morning while you wrap your tiny arm around my neck and tell me you want “Cheerios” for breakfast. Sometimes you’re so ornery and sure know how to make Tt mad but that’s what little brothers do. I have no doubt you’ll be your brother’s best friend. Just remember not to leave me behind because I already miss you. Please stop growing!

All the cuddles and kisses in the world!
Your mamma


Dear Tristan,

I was thinking this week about our first years together. Do you remember when it was just you and me? I can hardly describe the love I had for you. You were everything to me. Remember the walks to the park, the many meals we shared just the two of us and the crafts? Oh the crafts! We would create things everyday together as I tried to teach you anything I could. My heart was so full and I never lost my patience. It was peaceful. Then came brother “bobby” as you called him. Not much changed at first, we just had one more. I don’t want to say I miss those days because I love where we are now but my memories are so sweet of just you and me. I’m proud beyond words of the little man you’re becoming. So much has changed but you’re strong, very strong and that gives me comfort. Whatever life brings you’ll get through, you and me both.

With all my love,


The Village

Imagine getting dropped off of a bus in a small town only to find there’s 5 more kilometers to walk through marshy conditions in the dark. The door is opened to a small room lit with a candle and the blue static glow of an old TV in the corner.

Henry hasn’t been home for awhile, so he immediately tends to the things that need to be fixed. Pulling out a roll of red electric tape he begins to adjust the wires until a static black and white image appears. Next he props a stool on the coffee table in order to reach the one solitary lightbulb hanging from twine in the exposed rafters.

The light never came on so we ate our dinner of chicken and ugali by candle light. It’s custom to feed guests chicken even when it exceeds their budget.

The mother and children don’t eat with us. I’m not sure where, when or what they last ate. We’re served steaming chai after dinner made from their own cow’s milk. Water is passed to wash our hands and then we sit and talk for the next few hours.

I already had a small boy asleep in my lap and the other children gathered tightly around as I scrolled through the pictures from my trip. They were mesmerized and Henry said that was the first they’d seen touchscreen technology.

Finally they brought me some blankets and a pillow to spread out on the small couch. My legs were too long so I stretched them through the ends and let them hang as I fell asleep to blaring Lou music. Kenyans love their music.

My sleep was restless as I pondered what I’ve experienced so far. The children smelled of urine and dressed in rags worse then I use to clean my floors.

I woke just before 7 to a bright light in my face. The door had been opened to let the chickens go outside and I could see the cracking mud walls and dirt floor.

I doze off till I’m awakened with word that the cow is being milked. I had asked the night before if I could watch. I quickly pull on my shoes and step out in the mud to watch as mom milks an utter I wouldn’t have even noticed it was so small. The animals are severely malnourished and underfed.

After she gets what she needs for that day (no more then a quart) she releases the calf to strip what milk is left. My heart broke to see how the hunger is distributed between animals and humans alike. There’s simply not enough.

We’re served more delicious chai and a few slices of plain white bread for breakfast before we set out on the same 5 kilometer hike we had done the night before. This time in the light and dryness of the noon sun it was a much easier trek.

We made many stops on our way to and in town visiting various people who have experience with drilling wells in the area. We also visited a few greenhouses to get an idea of the earning potential this project could provide the local community.

On out way back just before dark we heard the statistic of an average family’s income per year in the village of Rakwaro. The answer was shocking and brought a lump to my throat. It is equivalent to $720 per year. That’s less then one months rent back home. How can this even be possible?

This family has 4 children and one more that is adopted. If I ever lose ambition for this project to help empower this community with earning potential there would be no hope for me. I’m truly moved to the core.


“Water is life, water is everything”

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard this since arriving in Nairobi two days ago. It feels as if I’ve received a lifetime of education on development and aid as we’ve sat hours upon hours discussing these issues with our local contacts Moses and Henry. For Henry it’s close to his heart as we discuss the challenges his family faces in the village of Rakwaro. In the words of the geological survey (which my brother commissioned to get an estimate for drilling a well in this place which only recently received electricity.)

“The area lack reliable domestic water source, the client does intend to develop a domestic water source, for domestic use. Piped scheme does not cover the area and seasonal streams are far from site. The number of water supply is among the worst in Nyanza province. The number of water points available during the wet seasons is very limited. Even during the wet season people have to walk 5km to reach a point where they can fetch water. The water is often polluted. most people use surface water resources as ground catchments and river Nyando. These water resources are shared with cattle causing water pollution. Due to large walking distance people only collet water for drinking and cooking purposes. Washing and bathing is not done regularly and only near the water point.”

Clearly from that statement it’s easy to see how much these people are suffering not to mention their livestock.

Our main topic  of conversation is how we can help this community get off to a start on being self empowered and sustained. The easy way would be to raise the money, put in a well and move on but the need is greater. We’ve begun to talk about the options having water would give them and truly the opportunity is endless. With water we could put in a greenhouse that would allow the people to grow veggies year round not only for themselves but also providing income by selling surplus at the market in other surrounding villages. Water would allow them to keep more poultry and sustain more animals. These prospects make my heart leap. I’m genuinely humbled in every way to be here and have the opportunity to invest in empowering these amazing, kind and generous people.

I’m so blessed.

For as long as I can remember my heart has been geared toward helping the less fortunate. Perhaps out of my own pain I’ve grown more and more burdened to lift that of others. My life is so short, why not spend it investing in something that will carry on for generation after generation? No reason.

For my boys

I want you to grow up knowing there’s so much more to life then our own comfort and happiness. I want you to experience the world, the suffering, the pain and the joy like I’ve been blessed to do. I want you to know what’s out there beyond the realm of our sheltered little lives. I want your minds to be so full that you’re uncomfortable with meaningless conversations of your peers.


I want you to know all this but most importantly that you’re loved beyond human reasoning, no matter where you are or what you do.


I’ll always love you.


This stud is the culprit of sore hands and a bruised ego tonight. Fighting him (Banjo) this afternoon in the sheeting rain to get under shelter, sliding through mud barefoot trying to keep a grip on a slippery chain while thunder crashing loudly  just above. Finally getting in safely, thoroughly soaked I stomped up towards the house fuming mad! then it dawned on me… “this is the best thing thats happened to me all week”. So I stood there raised my hands in surrender and let the showers pour down my face drenching whatever dry was left.

Lesson learned.

“I guess I’ll keep going till someone tells me to stop”

I’ve given this answer more than once this past few weeks when asked about the farm the unknowns and why I’m still doing what I’m doing. Fact is most days I don’t know what keeps me going other than the fact that someone has to care for these animals. The yurt and a farm was my dream but what I have to keep reminding myself is that even if it doesn’t happen now I don’t have to give up on it. So until I’m told to stop I’ll keep working.

We made tremendous progress today getting the roof rafters in and hooking up the waterline! I can’t describe the sheer joy and relief once these projects were complete after a good 8 hours in the 100 degree weather. I’m so blessed to have a family that will take their vacation day to drive 9 hours and come help me.

This week we added 4 new peeps to our flock. Can’t ever get enough of these little guys and I do believe it’s time for me to invest in an incubator of my own.

Collin is learning to use the potty now… can’t believe he’s already big enough to sport mama’s homemade trainer!

Sheer joy over running water. This means no more hauling 5 gallon buckets from the pond for watering the garden and animals! I still use a rain barrel but with as dry as it’s been we depleted that long ago. Doubtful I’ll ever taking running water for granted again.

Try explaining to a 4yo why mumma is too busy to take in a new baby kitten 😦

Little love. Tiny tushy.

Boys will be boys and thank goodness for it! #freedom

Little bigger brother and I building a platform


There you have it, all in a days work!