Friday, September 24, 2010

A Sad Goodbye

Due to technical difficulties this post is much longer overdue then I would have liked.

Base of stove being laid in the kitchen

Stove in progress

Almost complete

Finished well

Fabrication of the water tower

Welding machine with bare wires kept apart by a plastic bag

Painted windows and doors

Floors painted

Floors polished, which really dressed up the homes

Loading water tower for delivery

Tower safely on site 

Unfortunately we have used all space on the server, and no more pictures can be uploaded.  The water tower did go up thankfully that tractors trailer actually had a dump on it, which without  I'm positive that it would have been a much more difficult and dangerous process.

After setting the tower and getting concrete around the base it was time to say goodbye. This was by far the most difficult task for me since arriving here.  Over the past three months working next to everyone, twelve hours a day six days a week we have all become a very close family.  Im very glad that i got to spend the last few weeks with some of the kids at their new home!  The older kids in Soy I didnt get to say goodbye to which is also heartbreaking. 

The Future of This Project
All the glass for the windows have been cut and are on site, now that the windows are painted they are ready to be installed and arrangements have been made for that.
Gutters for collecting rain water are also on site and have also been arranged to be installed over the course of next week.
The other arrangement that has been made was for the remaining lumber to be fashioned into tables, seating and shelving.
The bunk beds should be delivered on site within the next two weeks.

I thank God for all He has done here, and may all the glory be given to him, through whom all things are possible! Everyone here is so thankful for all who gave there time, support, and prayers.  The family here misses everyone in all the teams that came and send their greetings. They have promised that none of you will be forgotten.

This project not only gave a new home  hope and a chance at a brighter future to forty plus orphans, but also made  education and a better life possible for many of the children of our local workers.  They too will  be remember everyone whom was involved here and those who supported back home.

Such a powerful show of Gods grace in everything that has been seen here!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Last Minuet Goodies

Today was spent running around trying to get all of the last minuet goodies for the orphanage.  The list included a 5,000 liter water tank, steel tubing for building the water tower, the welding rods, hack saw blades, water pump and tubing. Also gutters and downspouts for collecting rain water, floor polish, glass for the windows and the steel putty to install the glass.  Another one of goodies was the fireproof additive for the cement to build an efficient stove in the kitchen. 

Of course it had rained by time that we made it back.  The driver made it into the site just fine, but getting out he wasnt as lucky.  It took everyone pushing and digging to get the truck back on its way to Kitale must have taken at least an hour, but it is Africa.
My time here is unfortunately running out so its push push push for all these things to be completed.  I realize that there will be many things that will be remaining to do that wont be accomplished while I'm here.  However the buildings are now homes and are a huge improvement from where they have been living in Soy.

Soon the mattresses and bunk beds will start arriving but they will first need to be built.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

small picture update

singing praises while marching into the new home

singing praises to God

Fairwell and thank you ceremony

James Obama standing in front of the buildings after plaster was completed on Friday

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reflections on a mission.

As I settle back into my life of reliable electricity and water on demand, I reflect back on the 15,000 mile trip that represented my 6th international mission and fifth to the “dark continent” of Africa.
Having responded in the past to these international callings, I count it a privilege to have served on His missions of the Pollock family and serve with the late Ted Pollock.  I must say that I saw many of Ted’s finer qualities in Adam as he took (and continues) the project management role for this mission. I’m sure Ted has been looking down on this mission with immense pride in his grandson as well as the rest of the family.
I first read about this mission appeal in August 2008 when traveling to the last mission in Mozambique. I was hooked at once. I did all I could to help nurture the mission along. As many of you know, for the past year and a half, I’ve been unemployed. That didn’t stop me from supporting the mission here at home. In fact, it made it easier. I knew all along that my best case scenario would be finding a job as the mission approached and not having any vacation time to be able to attend. I placed my faith in God and realized He just needed me in the planning part of this mission. So I thought.
I took part on a team that defied the odds to pull off this mission. After all, it would cost 3-4 times our usual project and require three times the labor. The scale of the work would also be 3-400% larger than anything undertaken in the past and we had no contacts in Kenya to organize the ground logistics. Forget that we were warned that it “would be the rainy season” when such an undertaking should not be attempted. For every road block the mission faced God clearly broke through and clearly demonstrated the need for this mission (except for, perhaps, a few of those muddy roads – God does have a sense of humor…). 
I was confused, however, as to why I couldn’t attend and be on one of the four teams. I certainly had the time being unemployed. But, I needed to remain at home for job interviews and further job hunting. Then, as the teams were completing for the summer and work remained, I watched as airfare dropped to Kenya. A last interview was positive but the employer would be delaying decisions for months. That was when I clearly saw my opportunity to go and serve. With eight days of planning I took my shots and left to be an add on team to help complete the floor portion of the construction.
As you have read, that went well and completed as needed. I was also there to assist after the thugs tore down the existing orphanage and the orphans needed to move in before the buildings were completed. Perhaps, from the beginning, this was all in God’s plan of some two years ago. I was glad to be there in the orphan’s hour of need.
Funny thing happened on my arrival home this past Monday night, I had a message on my phone telling me that the company I interview for was going to sign a contract to hire me for a project. I’ll start in the next week. Seems God needed to delay the contract to get His Kenya work done first. So, 90 job applications in one and a half years only led to one in person interview. And that is all it took. Oh, by the way, I never applied for this job. This one found me. Go figure!
God bless this mission,
~~~Brother Jim (as I’m known by my fellow Kenyan workers)

Remember that delivery of cement bags last week?

Bad day at the office?

Adam carried a lot of the project's weight.
Here, it's 110 lb bag of cement...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

By Foot

Well its been a few days without Internet connection here so an update has not been possible.  Jim had mentioned that they would come less frequently since i was here alone, but i still believe everyone wants and should be kept up to date on the progress.

I have been overwhelmed by the impact that a project like this has! At first i just thought that we were helping Martin, Ruth and the kids; however the longer that i have been here the more i realize just how large of an impact that it has on the whole community.  From the matatu driver Robert getting new tires, seat covers and other needed maintenance while being able to support his family.  Kimani the taxi driver replacing his tires and shocks, paying off his daughters school fees and still being able to put food on the table at the end of the day. One of the guys at the site that has been working for us also by the name Robert came the other day giving thanks for the opportunity to work as he was now off to attend school for optometry. One of the mason by the name of Martin being able to pay for his children's education, his son is attending theological school, and he is also supporting orphans from his family that passed.  The list just keeps going, over for over 21 people that have been employed, and the drivers that deliver materials, the hardware store the impact is much larger then i had ever thought. its Gods glory.  Everyone here is so thankful and grateful for everything everyone there has done! God Bless

With the teams all gone I have switched from the matatu then to the taxi for team 4.2 and now to public matatu for team 4.1 as Jim has dubbed me.  With the change there is a lot of footing that needs to be done.  The leave time is now 6:30 so i can walk from the TI to the Total station where I can catch a matatu,  this leg is about a 25 minuet walk.  Then the walk from Simatwet center to the site is another 35 minuets, which still gets me there about 8am. 

Monday was the first night that the children actually slept in  house one!  They almost didn't know what to do with all the space and not needing to be right on top of each other. House two has already been turned into the school house where the primary kids attend classes. the ABC's can
 be heard shouted by them throughout the work site. 

The exterior plastering has also been completed on house one yesterday and today the Gable ends of house two have been completed and the rest of the house should be finished tomorrow.  So all external plastering will be completed about half way through Saturday if this paced schedule is kept. 

All the interior door frames have been set in house one as of today, so there is a good chance that all frames can be installed by Saturday.  Hopefully hinges and knobs or handles will arrive soon so the doors can be installed onto the frames. 

Hope to have a picture update as soon as possible.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Team 4.2 --->Mission Accompished!

The internet has been down for the past 12 hours so I'll post a last blog on the progress this morning (Sunday) and save my final reflections (and some pictures) for when I get home in a few days. I leave for my flight in an hour so here's how Saturday happened and team 4.2 completes:
Saturday had an unusual start for me. For the first morning since my arrival I didn't require two extra strength pain killers to subdue my morning headache just to get out of bed. As we drove to the site it was pure sunshine for the first time with only one band of clouds on the mountain horizon. The day was off to a great start, just the way it would end. When the usual 3:00 rains tried to come, the skys would clear the thunder and the few droplets to end the day with sunshine. Glory be to God.
After the previous day's problems, we found the cement truck removed from the mud road where we had left it the night before. We immediately started to work.
There were four floor sections remaining for our team to accomplish our goal of completing floors. The bags of cement on hand may or may not be enough. By the time we completed two and a half slabs the cement ran out. Soon enough, with the roads drying out in the morning sun, the remainder of the needed cement arrived. We worked on. By 4:00 PM the last wheelbarrow of cement was poured into the form at the kitchen door. Mission accomplished for our team.
About that time, the kids had formed a line at the tool shed where they had been living for the past week. They began with song and a prosession toward building one that they had swept clean that morning. At first I thought they were praticing for their Sunday morning services.
A ceremony would follow with 50 + people gathered in the sitting room of building one. A very comfortable fit I do add. I'll bring you more on that ceremony when I post my mission reflections later this week. Dry eyes were not a part of the 45 minute ceremonies.
This is when team 4.2 surrenders the mission project to team 4.1. That, of course will just be Adam. I wish him God's speed as he spends the remainder of September setting the mission on its final path to "Mission Accomplished, Mission Completed." There are doors to hang, windows to place and other tasks that remain. Adam will share some good news on other objectives in the days to follow.
At this time, we should also set new understandings on the blog postings. As those before me understand, doing these postings is challenging on a daily basis. Not only are there connection problems and electric problems that are everything Africa, there is also the time it takes when you have also just completing a very tiring 12 hour day and have a few other items to attend to, like take a hot shower and catch a meal.
As Adam takes on the balance of the mission details there won't be daily milestones to post. Slow but sure is the new direction toware the ultimate success that all the previous teams have assured.
So continue to follow the blog daily knowing that Adam will continue to post as exciting new events take place. Postings may only take place a few times a week going forward. I'm looking forward to the first pictures with the kids moved in. Just think of the change when they take the first dozen kids out of an 8' X 8' mud room into the buildings. Soon to be followed by bunk beds.
Read on faithfull followers, my ride to the airstrip has arrived. See you back home.
With God's blessings on the kids,

Friday, September 3, 2010

Goal missed for today. And a moment while it rained...

The morning was going great. Three slabs done and priming up for the fourth. Then started the 3:00 PM rain at 1:30 which shut down cement mixing. Turns out it wouldn't have mattered. We didn't have enough bags of cement to make all the batches for the final pour we wanted to do. We had 100 bags expected but it had not arrived. Long story short (can you tell the mud road is coming into play again?) at about 5:00 the truck was stuck halfway down the road. So...15 or so of us walked out with shovels and such and worked for an hour on getting the truck out. Turns out, he only had 20 of our bags on board. The balance of his load was for another customer.
Well, there may have been some math working against us. Like a few tons of cement and truck. Some guys in bare feet and others only in sandals (it's all they have - or don't have). If you think that lacked traction, the tires on the truck are bald! At one point we lightened the load by taking our 20 bags off. Of coarse that means walking them on your backs down the mud road that you can hardly walk on without slipping. Did I mention that each bag weighed 110 lbs!
Here's where this is left for now~ the driver may be sleeping in the truck tonight until he reaches his company for further assistance (I gave him two granola bars as we parted at dusk). Even with the 20 bags we rescued, it may not be enough to do all the remaining work we intended for today and Saturday. This would be very disappointing. Adam is going to look into having some areas of the road rebuilt before suppliers all refuse to deliver to the site. The road just can't be driven on when it rains every day (and hard).
But there is some good news. Building one is totally cleaned out of all construction materials and only needs to be swept. Yep. That's it assuming interior doors and window glass will follow soon. These are not critical to getting the kids moved in out of the mud tool shed. Frankly, with no glass in the windows we get better air circulation curing the concrete.
AND, you should have heard the noise of the kids today in building two. Imagine the sound at an indoor pool with 100 kids yelling about with the echos. That is what it sounded like when 6-8 kids were cleaning floors at the other end of the building this morning.  Talk about excitement and joy filling the building.
In our trivia thoughts for the day it is interesting to note that 74% of households in Kenya have radios and 63% have cell phones. Only 28 percent have TVs. Now the big note -- 6 million Kenyans are young enough to require diapers. Now there's a fact.
A closing thought in the rain~~~I normally take about 15 minutes to eat a sandwich each day as my lunch break. Today I took a full hour because the downpour halted our production. As I sat on the floor I looked up in amazement at all that was before me. Walls straight and true nicely plastered resting upon footers now missing the eye's detection. The sturdy steel roof and trussing amplifying the rain pelting the panels and of course there's the flat, level  and smooth floors beneath me. Then the thought ~ only 10 weeks ago I would have been sitting in an open field surounded by corn fields. By the grace of God, is it not a wonder what He has had us develop before our eyes and with our hands? Is it not wonderful to be an answer to a prayer?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Another day in Africa...

Perhaps this should be short tonight. Two power failures in last 45 minutes is making this a challenge once again this week.
Let's see, Taxi stuck in mud this morning and another delivery truck that took about 10 crew to push out. The cabbie wouldn't even try to do the last 1/4 mile to get us so we walked in the rain and mud to meet him to get home (really couldn't blame him). Ahhh, another day in Africa
We pounded out another 5 floor slabs today plus the ramp into building two (a beautiful job by Adam). Building 1 is complete for floors. Yahoo! Goal tomorrow 4.
Tonight's trivia information is again on Kenya. As we go about creating the floors in the buildings you should know that 57% of Kenyans live on dirt floors. Only 41 % of of them live on concrete floors. What a change up in society we will provide for the orphans. Can you believe that only 23% of the people have electricity? Now apply the math to Kenya's population of 38.6 million people which is up by 10 million in the last 10 years.                       Have you thanked God for your blessings today?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Over the hump day

Monumental day today in what was done. Real happy that we had the first floor pour started at 8:30. Everything was ready when we left the night before. End result - 5 slabs done (one more than we intended and that doesn't count two shower stalls and the handicap ramp at the main entry to bldg 1). Phew! But what really happened was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel where we have a game plan for each day through Saturday with great results intended (you'll just need to keep on reading to learn of those results). There was some lost labor in not keeping everyone at 100% over the past two days so 5 of the local labors have been reduced.
The truck delivering the cement bags today got stuck in the mud. I'm not sure if it was the same location we got stuck this morning or not. Either way, like the cab ride, we sent the man power out to push the truck. It rained this morning and at the usual late afternoon period. Mostly cloudy all day long with perhaps a half hour sun.
Not sure what happened to yesterday's blog. I was just about to start it when the power went out so I retired for the evening. The funny report would have been the duck foot prints on one of the floors.Yep, it wasn't the chicken, but some how a duck got into the building after we locked the STEEL doors. Humm, first I'm thinking chicken dinner. Now duck. At the end of the today I felt someone was watching me while work on a step. I turned around and saw a turkey for the first time (wonder if I could bring it home on the plane for Thanksgiving?). Do you think the peanut butter and honey sandwich I've eaten every day with water are getting to me?
So, today morale was great as we see many parts of the plan coming together while completing floors in all three buildings. With work going on in the three buildings we are doing well to maintain quality control in all areas and keeping labor running at full (though now adjusted). Floor results run about: bldg 1=92%, Bldg 2=60% and dining hall=33%    Will they make it???????
And for the kids today... Nothing further on the pox. I find I get them laughing every time I imitate the roosters, chickens and goats. Adam gets them captivated when he does some of his gymnastics with applause his reward. Two of them, real young, got a kick out of smoothing some of the cement when I handed them a float while working on that one step. Might as well start them young on the home ownership part.
Small trivia for tonight: In the city of Nairobi 75% of the people have flush toilets available. In some regions of Kenya, 65% of the people "prefer not to have a pit latrine. They would rather 'go off in the woods (fields).'"

Monday, August 30, 2010

There's a new Chicken in town. The name? POX !!!

Upon arrival this morning we were asked to look at two of the boys with bites or bumps about their bodies. From head to the full body trunk they were covered with what can only look like chicken pox. Just what they need to spread about 28 kids! Please feel free to send along any advice that you may have of what we can do to assist them. Remember, you can't start out with, "go to Wegmans and get..." or "Rite Aid". You get the idea. Even a pot of chicken noodle soup won't work. I haven't seen any noodles around. But feel free to send advice. PLEASE!
Major adjusting of crews and responsibilities today with plasters joining flooring teams. More adjusting needed for tomorrow to capture every man hour and every wheelbarrow of cement. The locals are always willing to do something new and act like they understand. They answer "yes" to everything no matter what level the understanding. Yet, the next thing they do is grab the wrong tool. Adam sees a stronger need tomorrow to supervise and not be as hands on to keep the ship on course. We will, at that time, be actively pouring floors in all three buildings in another aggressive day. Today's efforts resulted in five slabs completed.
More work was also done fine tuning the level of a few floors and especially the dining hall in advance of the forms being built. The final grading is to a half inch at the time of a pour. The final floors are to the eighth inch. And to that I must comment to the earlier teams that moved tons of dirt leveling the buildings and floors. Your work was remarkable. Your endless hours of very hard labor has been instrumental in our success now. Thank you for your jobs well done!
The pressure to complete is intense. One look across the compound and you see the temporary kitchen that not only feeds the kids, but it also turns out an additional lunch for 15+ workers every day. The kitchen is a few tree branches to create span to hold the black plastic tarp that protects from the daily rains. Kids catch drinking water from the plastic as it droops in under the rain's weight. The winds have taken a toll on the plastic tarps making them almost useless. We can't complete soon enough.
Today's trivia is a comment on our daily commute. African travel is always an adventure. You've read a few on the Matatu form of transportation. Being smaller numbers we ride a cab with a few other workers. It is a 1997 Toyota Corolla with 300,000 km on it. Springs and shocks are gone. So far, 8 is our largest number of passengers (it seats 5 with a stick). For the privilege of the front seat you get the duty of taking the hand towel and wiping the windshield of the fog for the driver. You can't open the door, the handle is broken like the side view mirror. If you share the bucket seat, expect an arm or a leg to fall asleep in the 30-40 minute ride. The privilege of the back seat means you get one of the two windows that opens in the car (the driver has the other). You must, however, ask the driver to open it for you because your control is broken. The price for the window that opens is that all in the back are expected to get out and push the car when it gets stuck in the mud. Ahhhh, another African adventure.
God bless our supporters. God bless the kids!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Picture Update of the Week and the Destruction in Soy

Arriving on the footpath from church looking at the back of the home

What was once the kitchen

The new makeshift kitchen built from the reamins

The boys home

The main house, having roofing from the kitchen used as a wall that had been knocked down, the roof being held up by a few center posts the side walls draped with plastic.

Once learning that it was an orphan children's home the hired help decided maybe they shouldn't be knocking it down.

Martin, Ruth and the kids are doing much better.  They are very grateful for the prayers and support given by all!  In the service all they could do was think what if God had not brought our teams here with the backing of our churches? What if there was no new home for the children to go to, or no one to get them there?  Though they suffered they still rejoiced, in the knowledge and faith that the Lord Jesus Christ is their protector.

 Shortly after the kids arrived at the site God reminded me of what Paul wrote, and could be seen from this situation.

We exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5: 3-5)
Once again to everyone who has given support, whether it be financially, in prayer or in the sweat of your brow, this family sends their sincerest heart felt love and gratitude!

Pictures from the week

The children taking it upon themselves to clean up a bit

Little Sarah moving a block weighing as much or more then she does

Anna helping with a smile

Prepping the first hallway

3/4 of the sitting room complete

The breakfast bench

setting up for plastering  the kitchen gables

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Building inspector is a CHICKEN!

It's not like we don't have enough people peeping in on our work but today was a reminder of just where we are. While working one floor at one end of the building we hear some "peeping" from the other end of the building. Sure enough, some of the resident chickens had drifted in from the other end of the building and were fast approaching the just smoothed floors. Now ~ how to chase them out of the building with out leaving footprints everywhere. And this happened more than once. Sure glad the goats and cows are tied up. Just don't ask how I (Jim) got tied up with the one goat yesterday at the barbed wire fence. OUCH!
With 11-12 hour days, we continue to push the floors completing a pour by flashlight twice this week (and I bet it was needed again tonight). And we don't get to come home to a prepared dinner. We still need to do that after the ride home. In the end, 3 more sections were completed in building one today. We have one more day's work there to complete the floors (give or take a step or two and a main entry handicap ramp). Oh, and it was cold meatloaf sandwiches.
Further floor work included preparing building two for floor form setting/leveling. That has taken 1 1/2 days since the plasters "plastered" the whole place into a mess. We have the first floor areas ready for a Monday morning pour as we head into that building. The floor prep crew can then move on to the dining hall so we can start that building mid next week. We'll alternate between the two buildings keeping what we hope will be two crews going.
Today's milestone, as promised, was the completion of the plastering of all interior walls, all buildings. Done. Complete! Yea! YEA! Great week.
Adam is in a daily routine now of bandaging the various kids and their cuts and infections. Leaves you to wonder what would be done without his care and handy first aid supplies. He is seeing improvement already on his first treated. Please continue your prayers of support for all the kids well being. [Even I needed Dr. Adam's band aid assistance]
About 2:30 today was a lunch break for most of the crew. Now, just how long do you think 5 wheelbarrows will remain idle with 28 kids in sight? I don't think it was 2 minutes before the wheelbarrow races were off and running as they circled the buildings carrying siblings and fellow orphans in joyous kid's play. Just wait until they have the whole place to themselves!
That brings us to the trivia answer from yesterday. When I looked out the window yesterday I saw 6 if not 8 kids all operating one wheelbarrow with another (or two) in it. By the time I got to the camera they had scattered in 10 directions. My, we do have an active job site.
Enjoy your Sunday services. We hope to get to Soy and document the damages.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rain can slow a day...

Even with all the work going on inside the 3 buildings, rain can still hamper a day's progress. A late morning downpour delayed some outdoor concrete mixing for over an hour today. Another downpour at clean up time delayed that as well. But, you know that didn't stop the team from completing 3 more floor sections and over 1/2 of the plastering in the dining hall. Looks like that work will complete tomorrow.
Answer to yesterday's trivia question...Two of Martin's children were named after Ted & Dolly's Pollock's children. For the extra credit to that answer their names are Bill and Carolyn (that one we gave you).
Tonight's trivia comes from the kid's activities today helping out. Because the brick work is completed, the remaining brick pile at the building had to be moved to the tarp area for surplus building materials at the other end of the compound. Someone tapped the 20 +/- able bodied orphans to help. Each wanted to do their best. The youngest would struggle with all his might just to carry (and run) with one brick. Others carried 4-5 each. Then came the organizers. They took off with the construction wheelbarrows and started to load them with bricks. I looked out the window and couldn't believe how many kids can operate one wheelbarrow. That, faithful readers, is your trivia question. How many kids can operate one wheelbarrow full of bricks?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More Happenings...

Learned a little more about the houses being torn down. Turns out Naomi (one of the handicap children) was in the building as it was being demolished! She was removed unharmed. Some of their possessions were destroyed. Martin won a court case today proving he is the rightful owner of the land. Doesn't help in the house loss. He is filing an injunction to sue the pastor that hired the people that tore the house down. More to come...
Today was productive on the construction front. Adam and I completed 4 floor sections (3 real large) in building one. Building two saw the plastering completed with the plasters starting the prep at the dining hall. speaking of the dining hall, the last of the brick was completed from ring beam to roof underside. That was the last of the project brick and block work!!!
As the day passed, small faces appeared from time to time in doorways and windows as the new young residence had their curiosity get the best of them. Most of the day they played about the yard with one another. Life goes on in this harsh world. The Red Cross may be supplying tents for the kids that are in school until December. They weren't moving until then when the school year ends. In the mean time the orphans are split up.
You can't help but be amazed at one of Martin's grown daughters, Carolyn, and all she does. One minute she is cooking, then sweeping, then it is up to help in construction -like installing a floor - then back to games with kids and personal exercise for one of the special needs kids then back to chopping fire wood for cooking. What a delightful person.
Back to the trivia question that we were not following yesterday. . . The year that Martin met Ted and Dolly Pollock was 1978. Tonight's question: How many of Martin's own children are named after Ted's children (sorry - Pollock family members are disqualified from this question). Can you name them (hint - I just gave you one of the names...) ?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No New Information

There hasnt been much communication with Martin, Ruth or the older children that have remained in Soy. What we have heard is that Martin has been dealing with the police and courts. He said that he would be coming to the site tomorrow, when we will be able to get his story.

The younger children have been doing really well at the new home, they are all in good spirits. they spent the day playing and having a good time enjoying their new compound. There was little to no sign of trama from seeing their old home destroyed, thanks be to God.

Jim had mensioned the other day how he would of liked to get a picture of the kids holding hands in a circle by the buildings like in the model of it that he had built. At the end of the day the kids were playing and it just happened!

The masons are still plastering the second home, and two of them are finishing the brick work on the kitchen, and both should be completed tomorrow.

We spent the morning finishing the floors which were poured yesterday. One was finished last night when we left but it was walked on shorlty after we left so it too needed to be refinished.

Lenny is pretty good at finishing floors so he will head that up from here on out, while Jim and I continue the pour. Alfred is getting really good at laying the form work for the floors so we should be able to pick up a little speed once we dont have to focus so much labor on plastering.

One of the neigbors, John Asifiwa (not sure on the spelling) said he liked to draw. I had asked if he could show me some of his work. About a week later he came back with a really nice painting of a picture that had been taken in front of the homes.

Please pray for Martin and Ruths oldest daughter, Ireane, her family and everyone she is working with. as they head back to the mission feild on a small island off the coast of Mombasa.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We began today's work like any other day. Then, as the morning progressed, reports began to come in that the existing Soy orphanage that Martin, Ruth and the children live in had been torn down this morning in a land dispute. This as the 43 orphans lived there. One report indicated no one was hurt. But it was confirmed all the buildings were completely destroyed. Everyone was left standing in the rain with all their posessions.
By the end of the day, Adam had arranged for a Matatu to pick up 28 of the orphans and bring them to the new compound. None of the new buildings are ready for occupancy so we watched them move into the on site tool sheds.
At this time we do not know what happened to the remaining orphans, Martin and Ruth. We have not ruled out that they remain at the old location in Soy spending the cold damp night outside.
We will keep you posted on what transpires here over the next few days doing all we can to assist them at this greatest time of need.
Prayers are need from all the project supporters.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's TEAM 4.2

Before we get into what was accomplished today, we wanted to bring you up to date on the team name. "Team 5" just seemed so over-rated. After all, there's just the two of us* and four of the finest teams had each achieved such success. Therefore, it seemed that we'd just add the tag to the last team and keep a good thing going. So we are Team 4.2
So, there at the end of a ragged dirt and mud road that the car continued to bottom out on, the rows of 15 foot corn opens into the field where JOHABETO stands before you. What an awesome site. Everything on paper and in model came to life. Add the smell of the curing cement just as imagined. Finally the time arrived to get the hands dirty.
First it was completing 5 sections of flooring forms ready for a pour of cement (each room requires 4-6 sections). Those were all in bulding 1. Then there were all the remaining tie beam forms removed including the dining hall that was only completed last week (it looked great!). Down in dorm 2, three more rooms were plastered bring that building just shy of 50% on plastering (remember- dorm 1 is fully plastered). Then, back up on the dining hall the block was being added at the two gable ends. We also managed to clean up the three floors that were assaulted last week by the 3-Stooges plastering team.
*This is the part that I remind you, faithful reader, that we had 20 locals today on our team as well. And overseeing all this is the one living and true God who just has to be so pleased that He is washing his shinny new roofs everyday in the afternoon. The rest of the time he shines on our work.
We close with this trivia question: In what year did Martin meet Ted and Dolly Pollock? Answer tomorrow...

"...and on the seventh day he rested"

The Sunday traditions since the mission began was to go and visit Martin in Soy, meet the kids and for new comers, stop by the construction site for a first look at what they had gotten themselves in to.
Adam offered to follow traditions for me as the great host he is. I couldn't help notice how tired he looked having just entertained(if you will), the Pollock international family reunion for the past 8 weeks. And never a Sunday off. On Saturday aunts, uncles, cousins and even mom were sent off at the airport. A low key Sunday was long over due for Adam. The day was good for catching up on the internet, reading, a little socializing with the remaining TI staff including dinner and a dvd with 5 of their orphans. The theme of the day I didn't mind either after my travels - two words: CAT NAPS. Lots of them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

PRECAUTION: This a re-write of a previous blog that was lost due to... We started the day with the intention of completing the ring beam forms on the kitchen. By lunchtime we decided that we could also complete pouring the ring beams. The concrete pouring started before the forms were completed. Everyone including the Shikuku family and the masons joined in to complete our tasks. The scene was chaotic with people running everywhere and yet
at the end of the day we had achieved our original goal and more. The ring beam was formed and poured within the kitchen. The final bucket was being poured as Robert our driver pulled in to bring us home. By the way we still hold the record for the most people in the matatu(24!!!). This is a vehicle that is built for 14 people.
Martin and Ruth came over and announced we were going to have a small celebration to thank us for coming and building there orphanage after all these years.
The celebration began by Martin and Ruth decorating us with a medallion necklaces and garlands. Martin presented a history of his relationship with Ted and Dolly Pollock and the family and how we had been linked throughout the years. Everyone broke into praise song and dance before we were treated to biscuits and sodas. Really we should have been thanking them for all the love and joy they shared with us. Saying our final goodbyes to the family and the workers was very difficult. Many tears were wiped away and Zach came home shoeless, it was dark by the time we had left the job site.
We came back to the TI compound for breakfast for dinner which was crepes and ice cream. We cannot thank our wonderful hosts enough at the TI compound, Danel, Daniel, Sean, Meridith, Andrew, Mark and Derek. We are forever grateful for a delicious meal to come back to every night as well as a hot shower for everyone but Tom.

Team five(Jim Wick) arrived at the TI compound as we were preparing to depart for the Kitalie airstrip. Jim, Adam, and Sean accompanied us to the airstrip for our departure. After our baggage was thoroughly searched we watched it being loaded onto the airplane and then promptly unloaded. The gate agent came over to explain that the airplane was overweight and our luggage would be going by matatu to Eldorat and then onto Nairobi by another flight. We are grateful to the pilot for his decision not to overload the plane. We were promised it would be delivered to our guest house tonight. We are still waiting...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Last Day at the Job Site

Zach and Alfred finishing the tie beam on the kitchen!

Goodbye ceremony

Shaloom actually smiling

Adam and Ruth dancing

The whole work crew

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Gift of History

The Gift of History
By: Alfred Opiyo, Alerics Collections, 27/07/2007

This is cradle of genesis,
That never shall it be seasonal,
Like roses blossomed at Winter;
Nor birds of Springtime sung.
Communities and descendants to live,
Must remember, celebrate and pray.
Only for the gift of history and future
Led to us by late Ted Pollock and Dolly his helper.
Thus inclined all our bouquets.

Both blew their horn,
That ripples many parts of Africa.
Despite of lefting all best,
In Western countries and cultures.
Liftup their lamps in Africa as missionaries,
Fishing many to roused from slumber of doom cultures!
And all whispers peace fetching - many to Christ.

Though leaved their mission hunged
But their blessed descendants,
Are there to rescue unfinised pillars,
Firmly after footprints of trotter-claws.
Leaving chance for history to breath.

May our ancestors effort live in our heart,
Throughout our lives, strength, names -
And accomplishment of their dream.

Tho in the gift of history,
That we live to honor

May I know pause to honor.

Today started like many other days, we were up and waiting for Robert to arrive right at 7am. When we got into the matatu Penny was surprised to find two chickens tied up under her seat! She asked Robert if they were his chickens and he said "no they are your chickens." When we got to the site we found out what he meant, the chickens were unloaded in preparation for tomorrows lunch.

The larger part of our group worked the morning finishing up the ring beam in building two! It was a good feeling to have that finished! Dave and Tom proceed on with their regular job of putting up forms, they are hoping to finish the form by the end of tomorrow. The Kenyans finished the plastering in building one and moved on work in building two today, hopefully they'll be able to make some good progress in building two tomorrow.

We had a bunch of neighbor kids come over today, three little ones in particular kept picking up scrap pieces of wire and bent nails and giving them to us. Late afternoon after Penny had given away all the crayons that she had with her, she still wanted to give the three little kids something, so she brought out some bread and honey left over from lunch. Within the next 15 minutes there were neighbor kids coming out of nowhere wanting to get something to eat too. Unfortunately we didn't have enough food for all of them so Penny compromised and gave them all a pencil. :-)

We can't believe that our time here is almost over! It seems like just yesterday that we got here, there is so much more that we would like to get finished by we will have to to do our best with the time that we have left and be excited for all that we've been able to get done. And be glad that Adam is going to be here to finish up the project and that Jim is coming in on Saturday to help him and be team 5!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vo Tech school students tour Johabeto site

There is something wonderful about bouncing along the road through the corn fields and arriving at the job site. All of the Kenyan workers come to greet us and shake our hands. We all join hands in a big circle and start the day with prayer. Everyone applauds and we begin the construction on the dorms.
Today we formed floors, leveled them, mixed concrete, poured tie beams, poured floors,
and began to build the forms for the ring beam on the kitchen.
The masons are plastering the inside walls of dorm one. They throw it at the walls and it flies over the top of the walls and into the faces of us who are working on the floors in the next room. It also covers the door and window frames and lands on our finished floors. C'est la vie!
Today a local Vo Tech school had a field trip to the site and spent more than an hour and a half looking at everything.

Martin had a wonderful time giving them the tour! He is so excited about his new home.

Vo Tech school students tour Johabeto site

Martin and Ruth and granddaughter Shaloom

Martin And Ruth and their cow

There is something wonderful about bouncing along the road through the corn fields and arriving at the job site. All of the Kenyan workers come to greet us and shake our hands. We all join hands in a big circle and start the day with prayer. Everyone applauds and we begin the construction on the dorms.
Today we formed floors, leveled them, mixed concrete, poured tie beams, poured floors,
and began to build the forms for the ring beam on the kitchen.
The masons are plastering the inside walls of dorm one. They throw it at the walls and it flies over the top of the walls and into the faces of us who are working on the floors in the next room. It also covers the door and window frames and lands on our finished floors. C'est la vie!
Today a local Vo Tech school had a field trip to the site and spent more than an hour and a half looking at everything.

Martin had a wonderful time giving them the tour! He is so excited about his new home.