Friday, December 28, 2012

A Very Good Day.

  Harvin was feeling much better today. Not whole, but better.  Good enough to visit the kids.

  We started the day by driving to the new home we are building.  It’s come such a long way since August and we were so happy to continue the building now that we raised a bit more money.  Our goal is to open in April.  It’s about a 20 min drive in the rural area.  It was almost hard to make out the house as the corn that our team has planted is super tall. For those that don’t know our story, the kids are living in a very small rental house now while we build the new home. Our goal is to be as sustaining as possible, therefore we have purchased a huge plot of land and will nestle the home amongst it so we can live off the land as much as possible.

  This part of the country is unique in that we get 3 harvests a year so we will rotate corn 2x and the other will be beans.  Our goal is to have our cows nearby.  In Kigali someone on bike had to ride 45 mins each way to get the milk.  Unfortunately, our remaining cow will be put down in the next day or two. It broke a hip in a ditch and despite treating it, it is not healing. We are letting the medicine get out of it’s system a bit and then will butcher it for meat vs waiting for it do die and not getting any potential benefit.

  Many of you may have read about the hefier cows which are $500 each.  We have the premium cows here which produce DRAMATICALLY more milk while eating the same amount of food – unfortunately they are $2000 each. If you know of anyone who wants to donate for a cow, let me know J.  Until then we’ll need to buy the milk from some other place.

  The home is going to be spectacular.  It’s really really wonderful. As you can imagine housing this many kids, plus mommy, aunties and uncles is quite an undertaking.  Chantal has been super smart about how she approached it. As the kids get older she wants to ensure there is physical separation between the boys and girls.  Boys enter and go up stairs, the girls so up the other stairs and there is no way they can sneak between.  As Chantal says…while we are one big family, these kids are not blood relatives…so we don’t want any New Hope Homes Grandchildren J.

  I will also have a permanent room in the house. I leave all my things here in storage each time so I can use all my personal bag allotment for supplies, but now I will be able to keep my things in place and just pick up where I left off when I left.  I am also happy the it is a visible sign for the kids that I will always come back. They are family and I intend to be with them until the day they put my ashes in the ground there or in Arkansas.

  We have much to do yet on the home, but celebrate it’s progress as we raise incremental funds here and there. Once we get the remaining funds for the home, we will start to work on the grounds.

  A special thing about this home. There is an avocado tree on the property that has never produced avocados.  As we started to build our home, it began to produce avocados. The locals are amazed. We believe it is a blessing for our kids.

  Next we were off the see the kids. Harvin and I jumped into the semi-funcational van that is our transort for the kids and headed down the road, through a portion of the town and over two log bridges.  When we arrived at the gate, Manuel was just leaving so he was opening the gate. He was thrilled to see Harvin.  When we drove in the kids all yelled Miss Donna, Miss Donna and then Muzungo which means white person. They didn’t realize it was Harvin until get pulled all the way in.  Then they squealed for joy.  Some of the aunties and kids were in back, so he got a double surprise.

  The next few hours were spent with the kids piled on top of Harvin and a handful with me. They had to know everything that was going on in his family, like and work.  This will they put their fingers through his hard and cuddled every possible way it was to get a piece of him !  They love him so so so very much.

  Esther remains unhappy that Kristen Cavallo is not here. She asks to call her about every 5 minutes. Finally at about 7:30 EST we did. This was after she posted a note on her facebook wall about how much she misses her and wishes she could come NOW! Well the great part is, Kristen, her husband Ian and two kids Kate and Matt will be here in 2 days.  OMG –it’s going to be a big big reunion.

   After lunch, the kids and I took Harvin on our favorite adventure up the hills, through the ditches, over the log bridges to our stream and played forever.  Harvin of course is a boy and thus made the water time more fun encouraging them to walk up stream which I would not let them do the day before when it was just me.  Needless to say, the laughter filled the hillsides.

  The walk home gave us an opportunity to show Harvin how we make a human chain to get through the big ditch by helping each other.

  Our time on these adventures is so precious. The kids talk and tell stories, just being kids.

We wanted to stay out longer but decided it was best to get home to be the little kids and show we are good big brothers and sisters to them. There wasn’t a peep of disagreement amongst any of the kids.

  Back home we started working on the thank you notes for the donors.  We used the new crayons that a Kathleen, a friend from my office donated. They are all the made the more special because she donated them after she lost just about everything she had in the hurricane.  She send along some very fun art supplies. I was blown away that in her suffering she wanted to bring our kids some joy.  Yes, I am very blessed to work with the people that I do. I count these art supplies as perhaps the most precious cargo I am carrying on this trip.

We also had a fun visit with some family that is staying with Chantal and Mbanda when they came to meet the kids. They are a very beautiful family inside and out and we have loved our evening fellowship around the table until the nearly midnight each night.

The rest of the day was the same.  More love. More Hugs. More laughter.
All good here in the land of 1000 hills.

Tomorrow Harvin and I heading to Kibeho for the day. Will not likely be online until the following after we greet Kristen, Ian and their kids.


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