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07/18: Here and There


A lot of stuff has been happening and I have had less and less time to tell you about it, so I’m going to try to catch you up and list some of the recent goings on :

– the bid for bringing electricity to the area and to our property I have been working on with one of our neighbors has been held up for a very long time. Smells fishy to me, but we are in a pretty good position.

– I’m negotiating to buy a manual machine to make compressed earth bricks, the ones we are going to build with. Working to get passed the mzungu price. I went with the crew from here to a friend’s place who has one and who has built beautiful homes with it for a demonstration.

– we are in the process of putting in a large welded metal gate on the property and closing up the opening we have been using at the far end to help secure the property for construction. It has turned out to be a much bigger and more complicated job than I had anticipated.

– I have moved out of the Getaway, my home here for the last couple of years. I am living now in the guest quarters of a neighbor. Much cheaper.

– I got a haircut at the Eccoli Salon and Barber in Athi River, which shares a space with the Jikoni Prime Cuts butchery. You could not make this stuff up. Goretti was the young woman who cut my hair. She had a wounded bird she found and had been caring for in one segment of the glass case you might normally find hair products in.

– the maribou storks which roost in the trees near Nyao stadium in downtown Nairobi have hatched their young, and they are no better looking than their parents.

– I hired a construction foreman after interviewing five candidates. John Wambua. He seems a fine fellow.

– Mary is close to finalizing a deal for five acres of land in a place called Maanzoni, near here. The down payment is the result of specific generosity from a friend of Red Rhino. The property will be the future home of Springs of Hope.

– we are securing two large tents at a reasonable price from one of the IDP camps that is closing here. This is an important piece for us since we have to provide housing for the workers during construction, and this will eliminate the need to build temporary structures.

– the two expensive batteries from the Bedford truck were stolen in spite of their being secured with a locked metal strap. A while back 100 liters of diesel was stolen from the fuel tank.

– we have gotten the revised construction drawings for the kitchen from the architect, reflecting the true wall thickness, 300mm and have finished laying out the grid for construction.

– Tuffy, the rat and young hare slayer, has died. She never quite recovered from the time the dogs got after her. Gilbert was sadder than I would have imagined, and so was I.

– I had the pick up truck welded where a piece of the body had been torn away from the frame by the bone jarring roads. The weld lasted one day.

– our neighbor kids, Cassisi, Kamam, Babu and Wanje, are part of every work day now. They hang out wherever we are working. Their mother is almost always gone, and they are almost feral. I keep a bag of candy in the glove box and they holler at me “Dah-vee-dee, Dah-vee-dee, swit, swit.” (David, David [give us] sweets.)

– it is becoming increasingly dry here, and food for cattle increasingly scarce. Our neighbor, the charming scoundrel, let his two acres to a Masai guy to graze his 120 head of cattle there for a couple of days. Unfortunately, he also let another two acres to him which wasn’t his. The police came and led off about half the herd as evidence. David hasn’t been here since.

– we came to an agreement with the same Masai guy to make Gilbert a bow and six arrows to ratchet up our security a little.

– the remaining puppies are growing and getting crazier by the day. Chubbysean, like a humming bird would eat his own weight in food everyday if given the opportunity.

– the whole eight acres is now under chain link and barbed wire

– the rats seem to have taken the hint


– Chris and Debi’s place in Big Sur has survived the fire intact, thankfully.

– we are doing well and being held up by your love and prayers


I will follow as time allows with the photographic corroboration of many of these news nuggets in the Photos Tell the Story section. I’ll let you know as I post them.


Love from here to all of you,




  1. Sister Maryann Benoit says

    Best entertainment in town for a lazy Sunday afternoon, David. Thanks for the delightfully picturesque update–it brings your whole project into focus and keeps me mindful of praying for you all.

  2. david says

    Hi Sister Maryann,

    Anything that keeps good souls mindful of praying for the project and its frail practitioners is going straight to the top of my “to do” list. Many, many thanks to you and Sister Ann Dolores for holding up the project so faithfully.

    Love from Kenya,


  3. Alice Ferfer says

    Hi there, we have visited Kenya a few times as of late and are also looking for a manual bricks machine. We want to build low-cost housing for the Kenyans.

    Have you had any success in buying one? Were you able to buy it in Kenya? Would you be willing to give us your source?

    Thanks so much for any info!
    Alice Ferfer

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