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Jiko Stove Project - Phase 2, Final Installment

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The second phase of the Jiko Stove Project in Rift Valley Kenya is nearing completion.  We are making stoves in the villages of Chepkurbet, Anamoi, Kapcheptoror (5 miles from Kericho Town) and Kimilot which is inside the tea estate about 20 miles from Kericho Town. As I mentioned in  my last post here , we have not had to supervise Emily and Regina who are making the stoves.  Yet these two women have gone beyond the call of duty, making beautiful stoves and even teaching the other women how to take care of their jikos. Now the rest of these  photos below will show you the latter phases of the work.  Some of the pictures were taken at night so they are a bit dark but they will more than give you an idea about how well this project has gone. This is a new stove that is in the process of curing (drying and being readied for baking). Another angle of the stove. The majority of stoves were made in Chepkurbet for the village women there and last time I checked in, Emily and Regi

Chepkurbet Jiko Project Comes to Life

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Hi friends and fellow bloggers, I had to  come out from my blogging break for a short while to share some exciting and wonderful news with you. I've written before about my volunteer efforts in Kenya for the widows and orphans. One of the projects that has been on my mind for quite some time is providing all the village women in Chepkurbet with a jiko stove.  These women are from the Kalenjin tribe in the beautiful Rift Valley.  Read more about the Kalenjin people here . This is a traditional Kalenjin hut. Usually there is a separate one for cooking. These women and their children live in huts without running water or comforts that many women in the west have.  I wanted to help give them just a little more ease in their lives than what they have been accustomed to. It didn't seem right that I would have running water, electricity, washer and dryer and dishwasher and these woman don't have any of these things.  Beyond that I wanted to do something that would improv

Dreaming of Africa

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These days I am dreaming of Africa. Kenya in particular. I want to visit and see my friends in the flesh instead of just emailing. I also want to make some progress on a small project with the village women in Kericho, Kenya. I've long had a desire to help the orphan girls and women to somehow make their lives easier with things like jiko stoves and fireless cookers, as well as menstrual pads. A jiko stove would help the women in so many ways but they are somewhat expensive especially for the villagers and a recent cheaper alternative came available but it is still too much for a villager. Jikos can save the women from back breaking and time consuming work of collecting firewood. Because there are so many people collecting twigs to start the fires for daily cooking, it is harder and harder to find it nearby. Women and children can spend hours a day locating the wood and carrying it home on their backs. It is hard work and also dangerous to go so far where you can be accosted. O

Chepkurbet Jiko Project Comes to Life - Pt. 2

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(Continued from part 1 which you can read here ). I tried different ways to raise funds for the Jiko Stoves Project in Kenya. First, I tried selling photos taken in Kenya. I opened an Etsy shop. I only sold one photo but I will try again later as I feel this can still be successful. I also tried to sell home made crosses on commission. You can read here about that effort. The crosses were wonderful and I did sell some. However since they aren't mine I returned the remainder to the craftsman. I used the funds raised to pay for school needs instead of jiko stoves. From time to time I thought of other alternatives for how to bring about energy efficiencies and I did find a fireless cooker. Read about it here.  I think fireless cookers are a good thing and they are much less expensive than putting in a full stove and jiko pot.  I considered going this route instead of putting into a full stove and buying jiko but 28 households in the village were waiting to have jiko stoves like th

Chepkurbet Jiko Stove Project Continues (Part 3)

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Hello readers and friends, I began telling you about the Jiko Stove Project awhile back. If you would like to read more please look here and here . You will remember perhaps that my friend Pastor Jonah hired two local women, Emily and Regina to make the jiko stoves. These women are so passionate about making the stoves and they do it with a lot of joy and gusto. They have to be strong to make these stoves but they are also very creative and I am so pleased and happy that they have been able to help us out in making this project come to life.  Emily and Regina are working very hard on behalf of all the women in the villages.  They have worked so tirelessly and they have worked with gusto despite not being supervised. They have also taken it upon themselves to teach the other women how to care for these stoves. It is a true pleasure to have them working on this project and to see them take on the making of the stoves as their own project. The widow woman in the top photo wearing t

Crosses for Missions

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Many of you know that I am deeply involved in missions to poor villagers, mainly to the widows and orphans in Kenya. We operate on very few donations to try and bring relief to the many people in the village who struggle to eke out a living in a country hard pressed by famine and poverty. Pastor Jonah's time is strictly voluntary as is mine. I try and support Pastor Jonah and other village leaders as best I can, including through helping build a web presence for the Missions of Hope. Recently, I was blessed with a donation of hand crafted crosses with a request to sell them and use some of the profits for the mission field. I cannot tell you how happy I am about this blessing because it provides an exciting opportunity to help the mission field in Kenya in time for Christmas. The villagers will be so happy that they can celebrate Christmas like others throughout the world if we can sell enough crosses to help them. At the same time, you, the reader will have a chance to do

Sad News of Loss in Kenya

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It was sad news that greeted me this morning. A friend in Kenya informed me that Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Wangari Maathai has died after battling cancer. This was sad news indeed. Sad because the world and the country of Kenya have lost a courageous woman of vision. I'm thankful that she left this world a little better place and I hope someone is there to continue on her important work and that others would make it grow. I'm happy too that she is now out of pain. Wangari Maathai was the first woman from Africa to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. What I loved about her was she founded a movement in Kenya to plant trees so that women and girls could get the timber they needed for making fires. This resonated well with me because of  my interest in providing jiko stoves for the women and girls in Kenya. (You can read more here about jiko stove project). The story of this brave woman reminds me of the power and influence that one person can make.  Remember, you too

Dreams

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All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence "He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds." Job 33:15 (NLT) As a child, I had dreams; lots of dreams and a vivid imagination.  Money and material things were in short supply in our household.  That meant my family didn't own a car among other things and we lived somewhat out of the city district of my small city. I had lots of time to myself each day during the school year, walking to and from school.  I remember walking through vast fields in Fall, Winter and Spring through all the seasons of the school year. My imagination came in handy.  I would hold conversations with my imaginary friends and keep myself company on the way t

On My Heart Today (Part 2)

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Read Part 1 here . Besides having to learn about finances the hard way, I am also the type that has to learn how to relinquish control to God.  God has gifted me with the ability to plan and execute my plans so it is often difficult for me to know when to let God do the work. I'm always trying to steer things to a certain conclusion; a conclusion that I feel is a good conclusion!  It is difficult to simply let go and understand that God who is all knowing and who creates perfection can do far better than I can.   I suspect my issues stem from having a lack of security in childhood and having to be financially reliant on myself for so  long. But God in his loving kindness and mercy has often let me have my way. Then when all unfolds, I sometimes have to conclude that my plan was not really so great after all. It is at those times, that have had to humbly say "Okay God, I made a terrible  mess of things.  What is your plan for me?" A related issue is that of

How are you Spending Christmas?

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Hello blogging friends, I am sending you Merry Christmas wishes and praying you are having a good time so far for the holidays. I myself am visiting with my family and will shortly begin to prepare our traditional breakfast waffles before putting in the bird for the dinner later in the day. We are not extravagant in our meal as we once were when my mother was well and able to prepare food. She was well known for hosting large dinners annually for the relatives. It was a bit of an open house at our home every year as children growing up. We always had many drop in guests on Thanksgiving Day, Easter, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Those days may be gone but mom still likes to host the gathering at her home with me doing the preparations and cooking. I am able to help her in this way to keep her connection as strong as she can as our family is no longer very large and we live far from most relatives. I am grateful I can provide this support to my family at these special time

Personal Update and Urgent Appeal

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Hi friends and fellow bloggers, It's been a busy time since my last blog post. Much has been happening and mostly of a positive nature. I was able at long last to have an appointment at the hospital with the plastic surgeon to discuss the outlook of the accident on my face. I suffered a fracture but the good news is that it is expected to heal without surgery. I have to return in early 2022 to assess things as they stand then. If you missed the story on what happened to me you can read more here . My brother who lives quite far out of town came to the city as part of a multi-city tour with his wife. They were just taking a few days break since they attended a wedding about half way between where he lives and where I live. His wife also used the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping at some of the many malls along the way. They invited baby brother and I to dinner and we drove out to meet them in the suburbs at one of the branches of the Old Spaghetti Factory. The food was delic