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12 December 2009 – A Christmas Construction Card

I’m pretty sure this is the last time I’ll talk to you this way before I fly out on the 18th. So this is my best hurried attempt to lay out the last couple of weeks, at least with regard to the construction. Lots else has happened, Brit has left, the NGO application is slogging its way through some deep water, the rains haven’t come, Wilson is visiting, a million other things, and tempus, as usual, fugit.


The last time you saw the children’s house they were short. Now they’re taller. Even with the shortage of timber from Uganda, they are growing.

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We’ve spent a good deal of the fortnight working on a home for the rainwater storage tanks.


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The rest of the time we’ve been working to connect the tanks to the roofs.


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Merry Christmas from all your friends here to you and your families. If you all came here, we’d go to the coast, Mombasa, like lots of folks here do, and swim in the Indian Ocean and buy each other sunscreen with bows attached.




  1. REPLY
    martin says

    things are starting to look straight out of Tron, which is clearly the true measure of progress.


    p.s. very bummed to see the preschool go… they were such amiable little mini-neighbors, and watching their tiny calisthenics was about as good as it gets.

  2. REPLY
    Paula Machado says

    Merry Christmas David,

    I am so amused by your Christmas construction card, not to mention in complete awe of your Kenyan accomplishments.
    To see those walls fly up in the middle of a dry earth patch is nothing short of a miracle. This has to be the ultimate collaboration.What craftsmanshiip! My belief is that it takes twice as long to do it wrong, but certainly looks like your ‘hands- on crew’ are doing it right. Well, I say that travel is the enemy of bigotry. You opened your heart , then orphanges soon had doors. Wow. I hope to read your memoirs some day.

    Funny, I just remembered a passage you read once to a group of us when I was in 11th grade at St Mary’s. It was from the Velveteen Rabbit: It read: “Real isn’t how you’re made, but something that happens to you”. I never forgot that wonderful quote.

    Here’s to you and your beautiful family ALL over the world.
    Merry Christmas and wishes for a fruitful and joyous new decade.

    Peace Now,
    Paula Machado
    PS Please check your 209 PO box for the Orphanage.

  3. REPLY
    david says

    Hi Martin,

    Yea, the munchkin academy demise is a big loss. The 9am stretching, exercise session was a daily highlight. We’ll have to see if another surfaces to replace it. There’s a big need.

    I hadn’t noticed the Tron echo, but I see it now.

    See you soon,


  4. REPLY
    david says

    Hi Paula,

    The guys building the timber-framed houses are full of skill craftsmanship. They are also good-humored and consistently pleasant. Their expertise would more than pass muster in any hemisphere.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve thought of the rabbit. Glad he had some staying power for you. Really.

    I hope you and Tom and Billie and I can get together over the holidays, and celebrate a peaceful new year.


  5. REPLY
    Chris L says

    Where you (all of you) — and/or the cosmos — come up with these geometries is beyond me. From close at hand, each step seems logical. From a distance again, I think I’m looking at crop circles or Anasazi astronomer-priests laying out the configurations.

    See you soon, brother. Travel safely and well.


  6. REPLY
    david says


    You know, I think I have always like the geometry of this stuff best. Using it to figure, and being smitten with so many of the angles and repetitions. I get the same feeling watching giraffes walk in the distance. Like the form is too lovely. I’m just now remembering the late dusk and dark gathering with you and Debi and the giraffes. Was that your first night here?

    I also realized I missed the Red Egg Gallery to do on the 12th. I hope it was as good as I imagine it must have been. Blessings on your good work there.

    Love to you and Debi. See you soon.


  7. REPLY
    Maria McCaffrey says

    This is all so very encouraging. I am sure that Greg T. is champing at the bit to get over there and see it all in person. Truly amazing photos and perseverance. Good show.
    Have a wonderful Christmas,
    Maria McCaffrey

  8. REPLY
    david says

    Thanks Maria,

    I spoke to Mary from Springs of Hope just before I left. She asked after Laura and said she missed her. She did an amazing job when she was here. I think Greg is planning to come this summer. What about you?

    Merry Christmas,


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