Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wrapping up

Today was the final work day at In Step for Team 3.  Tonight the team is sorting and packing and getting ready for a 6 AM matatu to Nikaru tomorrow morning.  It has been an event filled two weeks and it certainly has gone by quickly.  Team 3 experienced many of the same delays and disappointments as Teams 1 and 2.  Nothing went quite as quickly as we had hoped and now and then the rain dampened the ground and our progress. Several team members got sick including Dan, Ashley and Carolyn who got malaria.  As Dan mentioned, yesterday morning started with an hour of sweeping water out of the building  before we could begin work. Anytime we even breath a word of disappointment Adam always says, “welcome to my world”.  He is a very patient man and living here has taught him even more patience.  I know he is here for construction but 80 percent or more of his time is spent on maintenance and not on the planned construction.  In spite of it all we can see meaningful progress forward, even if not at the rate we had hoped.  The team worked hard.  They fabricated all the steel reinforcing cages for the entire first floor ring beam.   All the columns got poured to the top of the wall and the outside ring beam is nearly all formed and has steel set ready for concrete.  The concrete stair tower to the second floor is walled in and the stairs and landing formed and poured.  For now it is a stairway to nowhere, but in time hundreds of little feet will run up and down it.   Adam does have a team of Kenyan workers who are following up behind us to complete the forming and pouring of the second floor.  The goal is to have that completed in five weeks.   Ashley, Amanda and Grace were able to sort boxes of kids cloths and organize them so they are easier to find.  It was a fantastic two weeks and the hospitality and care provided for us by the In Step was above and beyond expectations.  The accommodations were excellent, the food outstanding, the medical care exceptional.  Thank you Adam and Sean and Mer and Jeff and Carla.  We leave behind us months of work for Adam and his crew to finish.  We also leave behind an amazing group of dedicated staff who work hard daily to care for the 118 youngsters with their unique personalities and skills and potential.  We take with us awesome memories of the people we met, the things we experienced and the lives that touched us.  We will certainly think of and pray for In Step often.  We all owe them a debt of gratitude for everything they do for the kids and for everything they did for us.

Holy cow

Today was another wonderful work day. We started the morning by sweeping the 2” of rain off the floor. After getting most of the water out we started mixing concrete to pour the ring beam for the stairs leading to the second floor. After we got the ring beam poured it was back to forming up the ring beam over the first story, and forming up the second flight of stairs leading up to the ring beam, and there is always cleaning up the concrete from mixing it on the floor; that brought us to lunch time. While in lunch I was summoned to Carla's kitchen where Papa Jeff told me he was going to look at a cow to buy and wanted to me come along and look at it with him. I told him I would go. On our way I was wondering what kind of farm we would be visiting or just going to some pasture in the middle of no where. When we pulled up to the place it had a 20 ' concrete wall around the complex. This guy was not selling the cow to pay for medical bills like we were told; we're not sure why he was selling it, but we wonder about how legit the sale would have been. While we were looking at the cow we got a phone call saying that the van had died on the way home from the clinic. After we finished looking at the cow we took off for the van. By the time we got back to the clinic they had got the van running so we returned home!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


It was a day of rest and a day of busyness all at once. We got to sleep in a little bit, then we went to church with the kids right here at InStep. After porridge was served to all 117 kids outside, the kids 3 years and up gathered in the end of the dining hall for the service. Worship time was wonderful with many songs, including Father Abraham. Singing, dancing clapping, we worshipped as fellow Christians without barriers of culture or language. Pastor then preached about honoring your mother and father and those who care for you, like Aunties and Uncles "and visitors" (who would that be, do you think?). The kids were very attentive for over an hour, before getting antsy...well, except for the young drummer sitting up front, who fell asleep after the first half hour ON HIS DRUM ;). We sat with the 7 & 8 year olds, who had their bibles and looked up scriptures as pastor cited them. It was a very nice service. 

After church, we packed up to ride in the Land Rover to visit two other orphanages. The bumpy (okay, VERY bumpy) ride took us first to Veronica House, a home for orphans that are HIV positive. There are only 12 kids, most of which are older, and they presented us with a sweet song and many hugs. We also took a tour of the buildings there.  Adam, Bill's nephew who has devoted his life to these ministries while living in Kenya, helped to build them. There is a vision here for both a sewing school and a beauty school for the women in the area. We were shown a pile of purses that were sewn using empty concrete sacks, like those at our work site. They were cool; if they'd have been for sale, we'd have bought them! :) Both the kids and and the adults had a strong, quiet spirit about them as we visited,  and a bit of me remained there, even as we pulled away. 

Our second visit was to Kids Kingdom, the orphanage built in 2010 by the Pollock family projects in Johabeto. There are about 40 children there, 4 years old and older. This ministry was vastly different from even the orphanage we are working on here, with Kids Kingdom having no electricity or clear water available. The light of Christ's love was also evident in the eyes of these children, and their parents Martin and Ruth.  Their hugs and smiles filled our camera lenses and our hearts.  Their expression of appreciation for our visit included joyful songs and greetings and sharing news of the children's successes. We hung out with everyone while a torrential rain storm played out, and I was blessed to meet and talk with a young man, Edwin, who was deaf, and we used American Sign Language. The conditions there reminded me of our mountain ministry in Mexico. Limited means,  but a vision for God's children to be cared for. They showed us their maize crop, as well as beans and millet. It was also a  happy reunion for the orphanage and Carolyn and Bill, Jeff, Zach and Adam, all of whom were on the team that built the place two years ago. it was an incredible visit. 

Now we are back at InStep, having had a quick dinner of banana stew over rice. We are watching the team play Hearts.  Bed soon, as the building continues tomorrow morning bright and early. It's been a wonderful day here. It's such a blessing to be a part of something that will continue long after we go home. God has been so good to us. We are all healthy and raring to go! Blessings to all of our favorite people at home! Keep those prayers coming! 

PS if you haven't looked back, pics have been added to the previous posts. Check them out! :)

Team3 Day6 – Sat Aug 18

Today was an eventful day. We gained one of our recovered team members back (Becky, but not yet Grace), but lost one to Malaria (we missed your work ethic and cheer today Dan).
We had the great fortune to be here for the monthly birthday celebration. With so many children, there is a birthday celebration just once a month. All of the children gather in the veranda/dining room, and the ones with birthdays that month are called up front to be recognized. Some of the little ones, not understanding the purpose, think they are in trouble and burst into tears. The birthday kids help serve out that special of all birthday treats; cake and ice-cream! My what a babble. Laughing, clapping, screaming, crying, and calling fill the room. Even with a 1” square X 2” high piece of cake, and an egg-sized plop of ice-cream, I am amazed at how much ends up on the table, the floor, faces, hands, arms, and hair. What fun they have:-) Jeff and Carla decided to use this occasion to share out some of the 20 lbs of M&Ms brought by Grace. Each child got some, and a few managed to get lots :-) When the sugar high was at its peak everyone went out to the play-yard to blow and chase bubbles. It was a very successful birthday party.
Today was also the day for the visit of Robert the crafts-seller. He set up his 'wares in the school house and we all went shopping! So many beautiful items. Everyone found something to take home as a reminder of this trip. Some found lots. I'm glad that I didn't have more $ on me, or I would have kept buying. As it was I had to borrow some from Bill :-) Lots of jewelry, wooden bowls and figurines, cloth, paintings, belts, bags, baskets, and musical instruments. There were lots of amazingly carved and beautifully painted items made from soap-stone quarried from Robert's local village.
And, unfortunately, the rain, which has held off all week, arrived around 2:00 and ended our workday. With all of these activities, it was our least productive day over-all, but many tasks were still accomplished. Bill and Jonathan completed the complicated task of designing, making, and installing the forming structure for the 1st flight of stairs. Bill has covered the nearest plywood form with calculations and sketches. Everyone joined in the frenzied mixing of concrete required to fill the forms, and the first flight of steps was complete! Hooray!
Due to the early end to our work day, everyone had energy and time to catch up on our emails and contacts back home. That really gave the already tenuous internet connection a real workout:-) We also played some cards and heard many stories from team members that have gone on other missions.
With Sunday being our day of rest, we have a long break in which to recover and gather strength for the final 4 day push next week.
John Trentini

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 5 – Aug 17
I, for one, am feeling the days of hard work in the fresh air. I don't think I am the only one either, as we have been a little slower getting started every day. But still out on the job and working by 7:45 or so. What used to be the wheelbarrow ramp into the structure, is starting to look like the enclosed, 2-flight stairwell that it will eventually be. Bill has been working diligently with the local mason, Jonathan, to complete the outer walls and build the forms for the concrete stairs and landings before the end of our trip. Our team goal is to have all of the ring beams (the 8”X18”, re-bar packed, poured concrete beams that go along the top of the outside walls of the first floor) ready to pour by the time we leave. Thats about 250 feet of re-bar framing; made from differing thicknesses of 40' steel rods that must be cut, bent, and wired together by hand. These re-bar frames are then laid horizontally on the top of the outer walls and wired to the vertical re-bar frames standing out of the poured concrete pillars spaced around the outside walls. Then wooden forms are built around these frames. All remaining large gaps where concrete can run out of the forms (and there are lots, due to the unevenness of the stone walls) need to be closed off with pieces of scrap wood. After that, all remaining small gaps get stuffed with empty cement bag scraps until it is tight.
Two of our team have been smitten with a stomach bug (not Malaria, yay!) and have had to spent most of the day resting and recuperating. Unfortunately they also missed the big night out on the town. Adam drove the team, along with Sean and Maredith, to Kitale for dinner at a local Chinese/Indian restaurant. We had 13 people (14 until we dropped off Hoglah, the site's Social Worker) packed into the Land Rover for the ride. The food was tasty, and the discussions interesting. It was late by the time we got back so the blog didn't get written until Sat evening. And now that Friday's blog is done I am going to bed, so I will add Sat and Sun blog on Sun (our day of rest :-)
- John Trentini

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 4 on the job and we are still going strong

The weather has been great for working. The good news is that we haven't had to stop for rain even once. The bad news is that we haven't had a rain break even once:-) Our days have been full of hard work, good fresh food, and camaraderie.
This is my first time on a volunteer mission, and my first time traveling to Africa, and it has been a learning experience. What I have seen of Kenya is poor, dirty, and smelly, and yet happy, beautiful, and lively. Our arrival into Nairobi was my first experience of what I guess could be considered a third-world city. There are obviously much different rules (or the rules are not enforced) about driving, living conditions, pollution, and oh-so-much more. Even though it is the capital of the country, the roads are narrow and poorly maintained, packed with traffic (at least between the airport and our hotel). Most of the buildings that I saw were old, dilapidated, and would probably be condemned it Rochester, NY. But every so often there would be a new building tucked between the old with familiar signs like SONY, Toyota, Dell, and many more. I don't think that I would last ten minutes driving in Nairobi. For one thing, they drive on the left side. There also appear to be few traffic signals, and fewer that actually work. At the busiest intersections police officers risk their lives (at least I think so) and stand in the center of everything. They don't seem to do anything but be there. Around them there is a never ending stream of uncontrolled vehicles; vans packed with people, small buses (like we were in), trucks, cars, and lots of motorcycles. The first vehicle to go through, whether going straight or turning, is the one that wins. And yet, there seem to be no accidents. Lots, and lots, and lots of close calls. Whenever the line of traffic stops (as it often does) people weave their way through the vehicles to get to the other side.
Our hotel (The Park Side) was... well, not 5 star. Bill picked a small local hotel, that seemed to be in the heart of the city. The sidewalks are broken and uneven (where there are any), the roads very narrow and dirty. The smells are so different from home, that I am not sure if they are terrible or just strange. The sounds of Swahili, people laughing, vehicles beeping, and neighbors calling out to each other made that first night a bit surreal for me. Bill had stayed there before and had some knowledge of the area, so once we settled in to our rooms we decided to walk to the nearby shopping mall. Well, I call it a mall because there were lots of stores and shops in it. It was a 2-story, warehouse-sized building with a full department store at one end, and a set of places to eat. Sort of like a food court. We managed to find something to eat, and I even found a pair of running shoes to replace the ones that I accidentally left at home. We returned to The 'Dark' Side (as Ron calls the hotel) and managed to sleep, even with a loud night club outside our window.
Hmmm, I realize that I will never get through this blog at this rate. I think I will just continue on tomorrow's blog, if they all let me :-)

John Trentini

P.S. From the scenes of life, family, and home that I have observed, I can only imagine that most people here do not have the opportunity to hear, see, or worry about the local, national, or global politics of race. I am sure that the children's favorite member of our team is Grace. A beautiful, thoughtful, fun, and outgoing 16-year-old young lady who has bravely traveled across the world to give of herself for these kids. She works hard on the job all day, and then plays hard with the kids every evening. I have had the joy of playing with her, and them, often. During our play we, and they, often joke and have fun with each other. They are happy, even proud, to have their burps called lion roars, their football (soccer) skills cheered at, and yes, their climbing ability compared to monkeys. They only understand such statements as the compliments that they are meant to be. Personally, I hope that their (and Grace's) innocence about such things as racism is never destroyed by the introduction of it into their lives. As Grace's father, I couldn't be more proud of her.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tomorrow is another day! Joy!

Lots of projects going on at the same time today, all to get ready for something even bigger! Carolyn and Kim were twisting maniacs, bending rebar into rectangles  and cutting and twisting wire to make a cage for the ring beam. Becky, Bill and Grace, and a Kenyan mason Jonathon worked on building the beautiful multicolored wall that wraps around the to-be-built staircase to the second floor, which Bill poured the column for today. Zach did a fabulous job of finishing off the cement columns so they look sooo beautiful (Yes, concrete is beautiful when you're the one who mixed the stone, cement and dust together with shovels on the floor and lifted pailfuls of it to a second story!!) Jeff, Terry and Dan worked sky high on scaffolding and worked on using the cages and building the forms needed to pour the cement mix into the ring beam. No worries! We had TWO MORE TRUCKS of gravel dropped into our building yard today! :) So PLENTY of shoveling and mixing cement is in our future! Dan and Jeff went the extra mile to build super supported scaffolding in order to work safely. The scaffolding is almost as beautiful as the wall. :) John was a man on a mission to clean up the site, which is one of the hardest jobs of all, scraping concrete from the floor, sweeping a TON of cement dust and overall organizing of the place. Boy, is construction  messy! And to round out the day, Amanda and Ashley helped the house parents, Shaun and Meredith sort through a huge shipping container of baby clothes, putting them into age appropriate cubbies! :) There is a job for every gifting here, and plenty more to hand out. If you are in the neighborhood, let us know!! :) Time for some relaxing before bed...and a hand or two of Euchre perhaps? Dan and Jeff need some challenge to their championship crown! Stay tuned for our further adventures! (It can be challenging at times to get connected here, so pics are tricky to load; we appreciate your patience!) Blessings to all at home!! Love love love from all of us!!! MWAH!! ~Kim

Team 3 Day 2

Hey everybody it's Grace doing to the blog today! Guess what! We came up with an ingenious idea to make billions. It's called Jeff's Masa Muscle Workout. This is a series of workout videos that will get you ripped fast while simultaneously building an orphanage! All the kids here are amazing. They are all monkeys. They can all do back flips, cartwheels, and there backs bend so far back i don't think they have any. They also climb up you like you're a tree. And to top it all off, we had bananas last night. They are monkeys. The weather here has been awesome! It hasn't rained during work time....yet. The building is coming along really well. Today we got up on the scaffolding, well Jeff, Dan, and Terri did. They are getting pour the concrete into the ring beams.                                                                                                 a                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Day Hoorah!

Well, we had some adventures getting here! First Zach, Ashley and Amanda's flight from Rochester was cancelled, and they thought they'd have to drive to NYC to get their connecting flight to London.  Instead, they caught a flight from Syracuse, but once on the plane, it was delayed a few hours, and they thought they'd still miss the flight.  But they did get there - except for Amanda's suitcase.  Next, we met cousin Terry at Dulles Airport and he had another story to tell.  His plane had landed and was waiting to taxi to their spot at the gate when another plane taxiing by, clipped the tail of his plane with its wing.  So they offloaded everyone there and they walked to the gate.  Were we ever glad to see the Rochester 3, just in time for the flight to Kitale.  Jeff and Adam met us and our 19 pieces of luggage (half for the orphanage).  In fact, we got a nice agent who didn't charge for the overweight in Rochester when she learned we were on a mission trip.  The first impression upon arriving at In Step is all the lovely flowers. and then the hum of children's voices.  After orientation, lunch and unpacking, we went out to play with the hoards of kids who climb all over us, hang on our legs and arms, run their hands through our hair, etc.  Meredith, who works here, warned us that at times the kids will seem overwhelming and we will want to take a break from them.  In fact, they are not allowed on the work site, which is good.  Fearless Leader Bill decided that we didn't want to waste time in case it rained, so the decision was to work until the rain, and then take a break. If it didn't rain by 2:30, we'd stop for lunch then.  We got right to work hauling water, filling the cracks between the pier forms and the walls with strips of cement sacks, mixing concrete, wiring up the rebar cages for the ring beam, cleaning the floors after the concrete pours, etc.   Of course, it didn't rain and we were all really hungry for lunch, but it made the rest of the afternoon go quicker - we worked until 7:00. The food is amazing, and more amazing to watch now 117 eating at a very long table.  And you thought a school cafeteria was noisy?  The kids' routine is rising time around 5:30.  They all get tub baths in the veranda/eating/church/multipurpose area.  The breakfast.  School is not in session now for a couple weeks, so they entertain themselves in the yard.  The potty routine is something else!  I'll tell you only if you ask.  We give a lot of credit to the workers - the aunties who care for the children, the amazing cooks who cook over charcoal fires with huge pots, the laundry ladies who wash it all by hand, the gardener who takes care of the greenhouses where all the fresh veggies come from, the manager of child care who oversees the children's medical needs, etc.  Such a dedicated group - makes us feel like our job is the easy one.  So the bet is on for tomorrow.  One of the Kenyan masons who does this type of work regularly, told Bill that he thought we'd all be too tired to work hard tomorrow.  We will prove him wrong!  So, love from all 12 of us, sent through me, Carolyn

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

There is no I in TEAM

May I first start by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our fearless leader Jim Taylor! We would not be half as motivated as we are everyday without Jim's faithful supervision and constant check ups.. "Everyone working? Everyone got a job? Good." This may only be entertaining to our team here in Africa but I am laughing as I type that because Jim really has what it takes to lead a team and take control of such a huge project like this. We really take our hats off to you Jim, as these walls grow higher higher you take each day with an unrelenting ease. It is his laid back attitude that allows for us to work in a relaxed but controlled environment. But lets not forget to give our props to Safety Sammy! He certainly plays a major role in our daily decisions and now that our walls are growing to 8 feet I have decided to start to listen!

What is fun about our current working situation is that the outer wall height must match the inner brick walls. It is almost like a race and provides for some friendly competition between each team working on each wall as we should all be in sync with the height of each course and cannot lay our next course until the outer wall has been laid and so on. Now that we have all paired off into non-committal pairs to work on our walls the days fly by and you can really see the accomplishments of your hard work. I have started feeling the beginnings of carpel tunnel  gripping those trowels all the day long and was debating asking for another job until the men whipped out the homemade scaffolding and I just couldn't resist a new adventure. The saw horses that hold the "scaffolds" up are just 2by4s and pretty much tree branches that have been slapped together with a few nails, gotta give them credit for being creative with the materials weve been given. Safety Sammy and Dad stepped in though after I piled 2 saw horses with 2 forms and 2 large stones in between to add height and was climbing my way up a very wobbly rickety scaffold before I was halted. Its fun to be inventive with ways to get up high to lay those stones but once you get up there and whatever you stacked is not so stable , I must admit it's pretty scary. Especially when your only object to grab onto on the way down would be the unset brick wall that you spent the whole day laying. 

We have a lot of fun to match the lots of work we accomplish. Work hard play hard. At the end of each day, after a shower and dinner the Aunties always keep hot for us, it is so worth it. As soon as I step into the veranda I am surrounded by handfuls kids jumping for joy to see me and calling my name over and over until I acknowledge every single ones presence. I love it. They don't even know it but they make me so much happier then any happiness I could provide to them. I sat late tonight with Benny, Bafo, Brian, Grace, Churchill and George talking about "what we were going to be when we grow up". Their aspirations were enlightening and none of them were satisfied when I had told them I'm already grown up. Benny thinks I should be on TV and Churchill thinks I should be pilot. The best is that Bafo insists I will make an amazing singer since I did sing to him the do-re-me-fa-so-la-te-do song from Sound of Music. All the physical exertion that we put ourselves through every day is not so we can sit back and say wow were good, look at those walls. It is for these kids and for their future and for the staff who are here with them everyday to be the family they never could have. I have learned so much from my team, from our leader and from these kids. Even though I have a started having a reoccurring dream that Jim has instructed the team to mortar me into my mosquito net, I wake up so thankful that I am here and can have another day in this beautiful place, with ALL these beautiful people. And Mndyzi and Chewy our faithful guard dogs  :)
Love always, Zara 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Happy Anniversary, Martha!  We have now added five courses of stone, brought most all of the interior walls to their 8 ft. height of brick, built the metal for the towers, built the forms, and poured the concrete for them.  We worked late yesterday, and today the team felt it a bit.  Dave will be leaving us tomorrow and so we will be down one of our team members.

In order to do work most of the team is now working with scaffolding.  We have found that mango ice cream with bananas, mango slices, and Hershey's chocolate sauce makes a great snack.

Every day begins and ends with devotions.  Jeff brought us some nice surprises - pop-corn to pop, fruit and fiber cereal, napkins, and maple syrup.  I have taken a liking to the ginger soda called, "Stony."

Beverly reaches for me to take her out of her high chair every time I walk past.  Little Bonnie burps loudly and seems to prefer a 2nd bottle.  We hear stories about most all of the children here.  Bonnie was thrown 30 feet into a sewer when just a few days old and still suffers breathing problems from that.  Another of the boys comes into our little "hospitality" room most every evening wearing his pajamas, wanting to fall asleep in someone's arms, although we are now encouraging to embrace the teddy bear that has become important for him.

Martin, from Kids of the Kingdom orphanage that teams from Western New York built 2 years ago showed up with his son, Bill yesterday.  He was curious to see what is happening at Instep.  We did have the opportunity to see the corn grinder that was sent from Rochester in action at Kids of the Kingdom.  Most of the food we eat here has been grown and produced at the orphanage - tomatoes, cucumbers, maize, pineapple, beans, peas, bananas, oranges, lemons, lettuce, and cabbages are just a few of the things that are growing well here.

Mud, a reddish clay, covers most everything.  We scrub it out of clothes, hair, and noses most every day.  We are here during the rainy season and most every day between 2 and 4 pm it rains.  When rain came in torrents with hail (on the tin roofs) it was deafening, but the children took our work buckets and tried to collect the hail to eat - a rare treat.

Jim and Amy have been great leaders, finding a wonderful way of pulling out the best in us and helping all to work to their potential.  Brothers, Mark and Matt keep things lively and occasionally bicker over one stealing stones from the other - setting up a row of finely matched sizes and colors for the wall.

We feel blessed to be here and hope to make more progress tomorrow.  At the moment folks are eating pop-corn and a few nuts.  Akuna Matata - Swahili for "No Worries."


Monday, August 6, 2012


Here we are team two with our first full week in Kitale.  Many asked, "Why are you going to Africa to work on mission when there are so many at home that need help?"  So it the children and smiling faces, so happy with having so little?  Just to hold the kids, who love to be held and hugged.  Help them jump in the air and rub their backs, showing them love.  Many of the kids were left in maize fields alone, abandoned or turned in to a church or authorities, not wanted.  Let a rocket balloon fly in the sky and watch them chase it, tumbling in the end.  The one that has the balloon turns it in willingly, to watch it soar to new heights again and again.
    Is it the miracles that seem to be all around?  Plants that could not possibly grow in this area are thriving with fruit and vegetables that will make this orphanage self supporting.  A prayerful wish for fresh clean water for the orphanage, shortly before having a well worth $17,000 dug at no charge and hitting an underground river, and a pump worth $5000 donated all within a week, with such abundance that the kids (114), staff and plants have an endless supply of perfectly clean water.  A pipe is now located at the roads edge, supplying clean water to anyone for 4 hours a day.  Jeff and Carla are the leaders of this orphanage, leading the way.  They left a life back in Washington state, sold everything and moved to Kenya with a dream.  What a gift. These are some of the many amazing miracles.
    Is it the project? Working 6 days a week, exhausted, muscles sore, with our limited individual gifts to accomplish amazing results...housing, schools, or a church that will change many lives forever.  Giving a chance to kids that had no chance.  We are able to work not only together as a team but with the locals.  We not only can learn but together have life long friendships.  Yes, I have heard many times, "What can I offer?" God will  use your gifts and equip you in ways you never dreamed.
    Or is it the life with no direct connection to the outside world? Days of not worrying about time, appointments, current news.   Life in some ways is so simple.  Its great to be disconnected for a short time, to regenerate yourself.
    Why? Because of EVERYTHING and more.  Just jump and make the commitment. If you don't, it will never happen and life will always be too busy.  I would like to thank all those who supported my trip financially, with prayers and most of all my wife (Sue) for allowing me to go!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day four- we poured the piers!

Today we decided to start the workday with a prayer at the site, and it served to unite us into a well-oiled machine. Corinna, Zara, Hannah and Becky were maniacs with shovels; they shoveled rocks, mixed up the concrete with shovels on the floor, and shoveled the concrete into innumerable buckets so the guys could fill the forms. Bruce and Tom did a phenomenal job building two of the most complex forms, and Mark and Dave/Gene were superb at customizing the forms that had to butt up against the biggest stones. It was amazing to watch Jonathon and Adam stand on top of sawhorses and pour buckets of concrete into the piers.  Jim kept everything humming, and took a day off of injuring himself; he injured Justin instead :) Justin was great today, moving bags of cement and wheelbarrows full of rocks before helping mix and pour the concrete (even after Jim clipped him with the shovel).
Matt and Mark were everywhere, as usual. Mark is quickly becoming the Go-to guy for the orphanage, fixing everything from compressors to engines.
What a wonderful day- we're exhausted and covered with bruises, but we had a great time together and we poured all of the piers. Yahoo!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 3

Today was a big labor day for me ( Justin Power ). Endless wheelbarrows of gravel and rocks. Then once we got them into piles me and our Kenyan helper Alfred had to shovel it up again! Before all these endless wheelbarrow loads carried up planks that we nailed together, I carried 4 bags of cement! Those things weigh 110 LBS each!!!! Matt and I had to carry them about a 1/4 mile across a field! During lunch time we got a break though, and we got items from a vendor that came in from town that had fair pricing. Around 3pm we got heavy rain until about 4:45 that was a nice break from all the work!! But no, we didn't stop then. Jim Taylor was pounding away making forms so that we will be all ready for tomorrow for when we have to pour the concrete!
      Yesterday I got to pet the bull!! That was so cool. It was more scared of me then I was scared of it. We have made great progress and as a team we have NO slackers. I am blessed to be part of such an awesome team. We will continue the hard work and do the best that we can do every single day to get this orphanage built!