25 August 2010

Home visits, Brick machine, SIX months

There's so much to update on so I'll hit on the main points. First of all, today my baby girl is SIX months old!!!! OH. MY. WORD! I can not believe it. The time has flown but I've gotta say, I have enjoyed every bit of it and have not taken these months for granted. I knew going into this whole baby thing all over again, that the fact is, babies grow very quickly. I've heard it my whole life and I experienced it with my first born. So with this one I had a little heads up to take time and soak up every moment that I can with her being a baby, cause it doesn't last long. I'll write an entire post just on her, because turning six months old deserves that right? Right.

The man, Arnold, that came and trained for the brick machine, came for ten days and has now flown back home. What a neat man he was! He and his wife were missionaries in Ghana (west Africa) for around 15 years (or somewhere around that). So needless to say, he had a lot of cool facts and fun stories. I really didn't get to hang around him too much because they were working so hard all week. Bud was out the door by 7am and didn't get home until usually 4 or 5pm. Let's talk about the brick machine for a bit. First of all, not my area of interest or by all means, NOT my area of expertise. I try and stay as far away from construction as possible. My husband on the other hand is. And I'm so very thankful for that. He is also a business minded person sometimes. He is very motivated and will work, think, process, move things around, and PRAY until something comes to happen that he dreams up in his heart. Such as the brick machine. He has been praying and trying to get this for the ministry for a few years now, I believe. At least it seems like years. He'd start telling me all about different ones and research them for hours on the internet and suddenly all I would hear was something like the teacher on Charlie Brown. But I'd smile and encourage him. The end of last year, a total God divine appointment came along. A very random connection. And a man and his wife wanted to donate towards the brick machine when they heard about it, how it would help cut cost on construction and help with self-sustainability in the future. When it came down to taxes and importing, it ended up being more than we thought and we're so thankful for a small little church that came through for us in helping some with that. Arnold, the man that created this particular brick machine, only sells this machine to missionaries. He never intended to build it to make money off of but simply to help people out. He is now connecting with people in other countries and helping many missionaries. When Bud first talked to him, it was almost like Arnold was trying to talk him out of buying it because he wanted to make sure it went into the right hands. He also made it mandatory that he come and train how to use it properly. There was an engineer that helped Arnold make it and they use a computer to cut the pieces perfectly. So when we went to Mombasa, where Bud had gotten the machine out of customs, I saw it and thought "really? that's it?! All that money for THIS?". But once Arnold came, explained it all, and put the machine into action, it all made sense and is indeed a great investment for the ministry. We are thankful to have it! It take 15 days for the bricks to dry. You have to "water" them every day (sounds like a plant huh?). Then it takes ONE day to put the walls up for the entire house. You read it right, ONE day. They're interlocking bricks and there's no mortar. They just pour concrete down the top of the wall on every few bricks. Now, for someone who knows nothing on construction, you'd think now that I know something right? It became a bit interesting to me at this point... but I'm still staying far from it! Bud will start making loads of bricks next week so they can cure. Then when another guy, Phil, comes (with his lovely wife whom is one of my dear friends) he will do a documentary on Mattaw Children's Village and in it they will build house three. It'll be epic!

On to other news. Our children are still on break from school. They start back September 6Th. While on break, we are slowly taking some of them to visit their relatives. That is a very important aspect to us. We want the children to still stay connected with family their extended family where it is possible. So one day, Humphrey, Christabelle, Betsy and I took four of the children to visit their grandmother. We took Sharon, Aaron, Maurine, and Noah. They are all cousins and have the same grandmother. The grandmother is Elizabeth. We've been down a long road with this woman. This is one of those stories where you want to give up sometimes out of frustration or lack of responsibility on her part, but something in you tell you to not loose hope in the Jesus that works miracles in the impossible. Elizabeth has not lived the greatest lifestyle and was not very responsible with the children or what she was given. She is very strong though and has been through more than we could probably imagine. I can see on her face the trials and hardships she's been through. She used to move often, making it hard to keep up with them. She has some of her own kids living with her, two of them school age, and also a nephew living with her that we've helped here and there with school. They used to come to our gate ALL the time begging for food and school fees. It's now become less since Elizabeth has been able to find work here and there. The first thing we did to help though was to accept her grandchildren into Mattaw. At the time that we accepted them, it was a worse environment that they were living in, almost hopeless. They are still living in a bad location and it's possible it is still a bad environment but I got the sense that Elizabeth has cleaned up a bit and doing better. We took the children to the mud hut they used to live in. They were all so happy to see each other. It was a really great visit for all. Elizabeth was and continues to be extremely grateful for the help in taking the kids. She was grateful to see how healthy they are and hear how well they are doing in school. It's always nice to see someone so grateful. Sometimes you find people that feel we owe them our help because we are white, and they are ungrateful. So anyways, it was a great visit. Here's some pictures from it....

This was on the way there. Claire has begun eating teething biscuits. Well, they're not labeled that but they're the closest to teething biscuits I can find here, so I label them that.

Elizabeth holding Noah, Aaron, Maurine, Sharon, and their cousin Sarah holding Claire. This is the one room mud hut that they all lived in. It still has one broken bed in it and no other furniture.

Elizabeth insisted on getting a picture with Claire

These two kids have a pretty rough story. They are neighbors to Elizabeth. They are orphans living with their uncles who apparently have money but do not care properly for these kids. It was obvious that they were mistreated and malnourished. But oh man, they were so sweet. I wanted to take them but they say the uncles are too prideful to want any help. I pray Jesus would show up on the scene and provide above and beyond for them. Actually, I know Jesus is already on the scene, I could see he is protecting their innocence.

Arnold and Bud with the brick machine

THE brick machine

The bricks

The work site, under the roof of house three. That little building over there to the left is a temporary structure they built just so that Arnold could teach them how to build. The bricks were not dried and ready since it take 15 days and he was here only 10 but they at least will hold up for awhile and it'll be a tool shed for now.

Here's the little man at church. I'm not sure what is on his face. It started out looking like two bites and now is spreading. Ring worm? Not sure. Anyone know?

Playing with Eric and some kids from the village during church

And here we all are! Except for Georgina. This was taken this past Sunday. From left to right: Betsy, Ian, Bud, Eli, Me, Caleb, Claire, and Mercy. Slowly they are all going back to school. They've been staying with us during their break. It's been fun to have them all around. It'll be weird going back to cooking for two and a half again. Georgina had left a few days before this picture and headed back to Nairobi for college. I'll be glad to have them all back in November!


Nickole said...

I'm so excited about the brick machine! WOW...having a well made brick over there is a HUGE thing and the way they are puzzle pieces only make the walls all the more sturdy. You are blessed...God so answers prayer.

Take care...think of y'all often.

Dalene said...

haha, i too had the thought "THAT is the brick machine?!" after seeing the photo. i'm not sure what i imagined, but that is awesome! Phil thinks you had to edit what Bud really wrote about him about us coming over...
and i can't believe my eyes how much Ian and Caleb have grown! even crazier is that Elisha will be 3 soon! time is passing quickly! love you dear friend, and see you soooooon!

Krissie said...

Wow! So excited to see this brick machine. Looks like it will work out well. Been praying for you'll lots! Miss you guys! Love the pics!

In our prayers every day,
Krissie Dumm

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