Saturday, November 28, 2009

Breathin' in and out's a blessing can't you see

My Thanksgiving holiday was filled with blessings. I was so happy to have my husband home, I got news that a dear friend is coming to visit, families that were once not speaking showed great grace on Thursday, and finally at long last my itinerary to London arrived! And yet...Friday morning my husband received horrible news that the orphanage he just returned from was attacked Thursday morning, two girls were raped, the woman who resides with the children at night was beaten severely, supplies were stolen. We were both quite shaken. My husband responded first with a clenched jaw and left the room, later when we where discussing it he was just incredibly pissed. I can't imagine how he and the people who were literally just with those children are feeling. I am quite aware that things like this happen in the US too, but to have just returned from Kenya joyously sharing over 500 minutes of video (I'm not even lying) with family, hundreds of pictures, and just beginning to be able to speak about what was witnessed while there and then read an email about what happened...

When I even let my mind wander to what the kids at HOREC are feeling makes me want to vomit, honest to God the feeling that I need to run to the bathroom is so very strong I am sure if I did actually hang my head of the the toilet I would vomit. I am posting what my husband's contact and now good friend Jennifer who works with HOREC wrote of the tragedy. The husband spoke about insane security measures (steel doors on bedrooms, night watchmen, bars on all windows) that are taken by households in Kenya he stayed in Jennifer's private home so he witnessed first hand and apparently its not just expats that go these measures. I must add that police carry AK-47s but guns are illegal otherwise, as is mace and tasers. Here is what happened:

With terrible grief and heartache I must share terrible news concerning HOREC. On Thursday morning around 1 a.m. approximately 15 thugs broke into the orphanage. They were on a rampage coming from two neighbors’ homes that they had ransacked, beat and cut the people. All the people survived with multiple wounds. HOREC staff and children knew nothing of the havoc going on down the road until they too became victims. The men must have been watching the property because they waited until the night guard went into his house (just a short distance away from the dorm) to escape the rain. They quietly approached the dorm, cut the electricity supply, broke the lock to the front gate and made their way to the corridor of the bathrooms. Between the bathrooms and the girls' room the wall does not go all the way to the roof. Two of the thugs found the space and climbed over the wall landing in the girl’s bedroom. They then got the door open so that the rest could join. With flashlights shining directly in the kid’s eyes that were awake they told the children if they screamed they would be killed. They were carrying axes and machetes. Some of the men cut through the boxes of supplies, some were yelling at the staff to hand over money and cell phones, and others dragged two of the girls to the storage room and raped them. One of the girls is 14 years of age and the other is 10. Both have come from sexually abusive backgrounds. The housemother was being beaten mercilessly as some of the children were climbing under beds to hide. Miraculously some of the kids slept through the whole ordeal. Then, as fast as they had come they left. Their whirlwind was like a hurricane that ripped through bodies, hearts and minds leaving a shattered mess.

It wasn’t until they left that the housemother found a cell phone they had hidden and frantically called Christine. Everyone was praying it was a nightmare from which they would awake. Christine, her husband and the police arrived to find the chaos of screaming children. Both the girls were taken to Nairobi Women’s Hospital and treated then sent back home. One feels helpless at the situation. Questions go through our minds and frustration feels like a heavy weight. I know nothing can be done about what happened but I also know that we can take some action to help prevent the same situation in the future.

Christine and I have made an urgent priority list:
1. We want a counselor to come to the site and counsel not only the two girls but all the children. It will be awhile before they can peacefully sleep through the night but we would like to provide as much comfort as possible. Hiring a counselor will cost $200 for a month.
2. Hiring a security company- The company installs “panic” buttons in the dorm so that if one is pressed, the signal goes straight to the security team and they are sent to the property within minutes. As the orphanage sits about half a mile off the main road and does not have many neighbors it is in a vulnerable area. Having a professional security team (this is a common practice as insecurity is high in Nairobi) gives one a small piece of mind that there will be trained professionals coming to your aid if need be. A security company contract costs $100 per month. Perhaps you want to cover the orphanage for one month of the year or half a month. Whatever you can do will be a big help! I know it is not a sure fire way to keep thieves away but it will give Christine, the staff and the children at least a little piece of mind that there is a way to call for help.

Christine requests prayers for the home and for all involved. The ten-year-old said she recognized the man’s face that raped her. It is someone that she had seen walking by the orphanage. We are praying for justice, protection and healing. If you would like to help with HOREC please send ITHM an earmarked check. We are proceeding with installing the system within one week as well as installing security lights on the outside of the dorm, repairing the broken locks, etc.

Thank you for your love, concern, prayers and support.
Jennifer and Johnny

23223 S. Warmstone Way
Katy, TX 77494

Or you can can send a donation to:

Global Hope
PO Box 1052
Broomfield, CO 80038-1052

write HOREC in the memo

I know this organization personally. This is who my husband went to Kenya with. All proceeds will go to directly to the kids, not to overhead.

We have also learned that the littlest boy Danny who is three was extremely traumatized by the event and was taken to the hospital because he stopped eating. Just keep these people in you thoughts and if you would like to help in any way let me know, we are working on what to do next as far as security goes.

Edited to add: I've received a lot of hits on this post in the last couple of days. I'm very touched by people's generosity. Even if you are not inclined to donate money simply by passing this information along to others can do a lot. Everyone has gifts, some reading will send donations, others may be moved to go to Kenya themselves, others may simply take a moment and put a an extra dime into the salvation army's collection. Simply by passing along information on how to help others is doing good, you never know who or how people will help. Thank you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hey I see someone looked at this blog in Nairobi, that's odd. (And may I suggest ways to help locally)

12 Nov09:40:46MSIE 6.0Windows XP1024x768NairobiNairobi ( [Label IP Address]
No referring link

The stat counter picture above makes me happy, technology is such a strange thing and just seems even more strange to me this week than ever before. I would have put the pretty stat counter map up on my page but am not so technically inclined to do so. I miss him. He had quite the day delivering care packages to an extremely impoverished area on the outskirts of Kenya. My mother in law raises chickens and my husband stated that his mom's chicken coop was nicer than what these people were living in. No electricity or bathrooms. Everyone was so incredibly grateful and wanted to pray and I really think you learn a lot about a person when you listen to their prayers. These people were praying for beds for their kids. I can't begin to even wrap my brain around that. The area they went to is called Spring Valley, nine years ago 418 children died from malnutrition, but now there are some very kind people making real differences in lives there, they have started a school, give medical treatment and food to these people.

We have poverty here in the US, not to this extent but we need to make a difference here too. Things that used to just disgust me on a moral level this week are pissing me off to new levels. I tend to get high blood pressure when I hear people go on about how certain members of our society deserve what they get, and of course we need to bail out those rich F#$ks on Wall Street because they make our economy so great, yadda yadda yadda and I could really go on a rant here but I won't. I will instead post two links that are in my community (and possibly in yours) that could need help and are doing great things:

Habitat for Humanity they also have a "Bridges out of Poverty Training" where you learn to mentor someone as they change their life and overcome poverty. I just finished the course and start mentoring in January, I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day

Dear Husband, Mom, Manny, the Manny's wife to be, Rockin' Sister in Law, Mother in Law, Father in Law, Tabitha, David, Grandpa, Charlie, Mark, Steve, and many, many others especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Thank you for serving you all are wonderful people who I am blessed to know.



American Cemetery in Normandy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is this Heaven? No it's America.

"When people are locked down by the threat of death they control the only thing they have. They choose to be happy and love life."

That sentence came at the end of a rant that was part of an email to me by the husband this morning. The rant was quite moving honestly. For someone that is not experiencing such an in your face this is how much the world exists life changing experience it is hard to really even imagine the magnitude of the poverty in Africa. And to think when Mr. Man goes to the displaced persons camp later in the trip he will see even more heart ripping out of your chest sights. Disclosure: I believe in God and that God has given us each a purpose and certain gifts. I also really believe we are called to do things in our lifetime and wholeheartedly believe I was NOT called to be on this trip. I would come back broken. My calling for this trip was to remain here, to have my own mirror put up in front of my face, to encourage my husband on his life change through writing him nightly. And perhaps even to write this drivel for you all to read. My husband was called to build buildings, swing sets, bunk beds without power tools, to deliver a generator to Christine (the woman who runs the orphanage) so they may pump water out of their new well. Imagine if you were given a generator, what would you do with it? Would it sit in your garage, basement, under a tarp next to your house? She cried she was so happy to receive a generator...the kids have running water now. He went to be shaken to his core.

I was also surprised by a phone call from him today. I asked him what it was like there. He said "this place is great." He said a lot more than that, but I what I took from the conversation and following email was that he is seeing such happiness in people created by things that we here take for granted. They are so grateful knowing that people they have never met care that much for them. Humans are meant to be compassionate. The husband is working with Kenyans on the building projects and loves learning the Kenyan way of doing things and sharing how Americans do things. Which brings me to where I completely lost it today, honestly, a few times, or really
everytime I think of what my husband said. He had a conversation with a local man in which the man stated that he knew he was going to Heaven and that he was sure it was like America in Heaven because he had seen pictures of America and all that we have. Feeling a tad verklempt talk amongst yourselves....

We have so so much here. And why? Why are we not happy? Why is the house never big enough, the clothes never trendy enough, the flat screen, um, flat enough? I was not supposed to go to Kenya but I am supposed to be happy with what I have and do unto others...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cancer the Crab with a Kenyan update

I don't check my horoscope or really put much thought into astrology. However if you read about traits of Cancers (why that name, I mean really?) I pretty much fit it perfectly. I am a big mushy mess on the inside who compensates by having a nice hard outer shell with mean pincers. Unfortunately, this results in me bottling things up and then having a quarterly tantrum. I don't cry in public, my husband and mom have seen me cry in recent years but I can only think of one time that I did in front of friends as an adult. I didn't cry at my wedding and I didn't cry when my kids were surgically removed from me, but I am an extremely emotional person. This blog allows me to write out thoughts that I would never say to people in person, I am pretty shy at first and then I will disclose stuff and then pretty soon it is impossible to shut me up. I believe this last part is because I crave adult interaction and when I get it I blab and blab and blab. I forget while writing sometimes that this gets posted on Facebook and then I worry that people I know in real life will think I am either: nuts, a bitch, ungrateful, snobby, and/or (of course) a socialist. But hey this is pretty much who I am. Then the husband left for Kenya and my stupid shell got cracked or something...

This trip is so emotional for me and I have yet to really figure out why. I am not there experiencing anything, just my normal day to day routine, and yet I feel like I am experiencing so much of it. This is causing my usual state of trying to NOT be emotional at all costs to be turned on its head. I am happy and thankful and nervous and so incredibly proud of the person I married all at the same time. The normal hard shell of resentment is just gone and I feel quite exposed.

The nice thing about him being there is that even though he is in a place of such poverty for a $1 an hour he can write me an email to tell me about his day. Maybe that is why I feel apart of his trip. He's a private person and I'm not sure he would be into me sharing his emotions but I just have to share this:

"I have realized that 3 year olds can listen and not run around like crazy people, I also know that 7 year olds can take care of babies and you can be happy with nothing its just a choice."

He has been there for two days and just being around these kids he has seen things that we here try our hardest to block from view or somehow try to tell ourselves the people in that situation deserve what they get. When I read his sentence I started laughing and got choked up at the same time. I know so many grown adults that are so selfish and irresponsible there is no way on God's green Earth I would let them watch a baby, and yet in Kenya a 7 year can because she knows nothing else. The mere thought of a three year old listening sounds impossible but he seems convinced and that last part about happiness, well that's what choked me up.

This weekend he got to play with the kids, I guess soccer (or football as the rest of the world calls it) and then today they took the kids swimming at the hotel, all 27 of them. These kids have never swam before. I distinctly remember NOT wanting to take my kids swimming because it seemed like such as hassle. My foot is starting to taste awfully good. Tomorrow he starts work on the kitchen and playground and I most likely will get choked up again, share some thoughts with whomever is still reading this and then salt and pepper my foot before shoving it in my mouth.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We are blessed so we may be a blessing...

The husband is leaving for Nairobi in two days to help out an AIDS orphanage. The children's parents have all died from AIDS and some of the kids have HIV. Our room is filled with donated items that he will be cramming into his suitcases to bring over to the kids. His trip is weighing heavily on my mind. I at first was feeling the usual resentment that I get when he works late or is out of town too long on business. But in the past couple of days I feel fear and anxiety and complete amazement. My husband can piss me off like no other but I love him like no other as well. I am not fearful of my two weeks with the kids we will have fun, I have family near by and our new dear Manny is here in case the bogey man shows up...but....but I am still nervous for his safety and quite frankly it will be emotional there and I wish I could be there to share that with him. This man does amaze me, just when I think that I have got him pegged and I know him so very well he does something like this. Neither one of us understand why he is going and we were discussing how strange it is that you never really know why you do things until AFTER you have done them.

The past couple of days have been pretty stressful for me. Things that I always take for granted I am noticing and am feeling so very blessed to have them. When I heard some women today complaining about grocery shopping and buying food for their families I wanted to wring their little necks and scream what the F*%K ladies! I too have complained many a time about this "chore." My husband is going to Kenya to help people who truly have nothing, and while he is the one leaving I have just had a very large mirror put right in front of my face and I am rather disgusted at what I see.

I was also informed by my dear husband last night that he will be spending part of his time in a displaced persons camp. My heart leapt into my throat. Seriously?!? He and his friend decided not to go on a post helping out the orphanage safari (picture safari PETA calm down) and to instead purchase and deliver solar powered cooking equipment to this camp. He really does amaze me.

Here are two pictures taken by his contact person in Kenya of the camp:

Oh and here is a special message for all of the people who are convinced that the government and big pharma are trying to kill you with their vaccines and antibiotics: Send your vaccines and antibiotics and that poisonous (snort) Tamiflu to these people! They WILL appreciate them, they are badly needed here, unlike you they do not have the luxury of sanitary water, fruit, veggies (organic or otherwise) vitamins and if they were to get sick from something as *laughable* as the flu (seasonal or H1N1) they would most likely die. But you can keep your Latisse prescription because that is just there anything Brooke Shields won't endorse?