Hello, good morning, and welcome to your very first edition of the Maseno Minute! We, your loving team at Too Little Children (TLC), are going to be giving you the weekly updates you’ve been craving about what’s going on at TLC. So sit back, put your feet up, make another cup of coffee (Or eat a carrot, people. Health is important.) and find out what is going on this week in Maseno, Kenya.
Big news: We moved! Due to community corruption, TLC’s housing situation was not secure enough for the 14 kids we care for, so over the last few months we bought land, built a new home, and are settling in to our new crib quite nicely.
The new house is on an acre and a half of land, complete with mango, avocado, and banana trees. Though actual building on the land didn’t start until a few months after purchase, Jackie—TLC’s house mom—and Joshua—one of TLC’s young men—planted a shamba (vegetable garden) right away, complete with maize, beans, and scuma-wiki (kale). They made the trek to the new property at least once a week to look after the plants with the hope of making TLC a more self-sustaining organization. Due to the developing garden and abundance of fruit trees, many local real estate agents have named this property a “vegan paradise,” and we couldn’t agree more. We expect the property value to skyrocket in the coming months.
The new house went through three main stages of building:
1st Stage: Laying of foundation.
2nd Stage: Finishing the walls (brick walls with cement exterior). Installing a fence around the property.
3rd Stage: Installing windows, ceiling, and the 10,000 L tank that collects rainwater for the house to use.
4th Stage: Finishing the metal roof, and enjoying how the rain sounds during the afternoon monsoons.
The house now has 2,600 square feet, which includes a kitchen, dining room, study area and developing library, living room, and separate boys and girls wings, each wing with its own bathroom. The floors, like all Kenyan floors, are red and the walls a warm yellow-cream. The kids are settling into their new home nicely, eating omena (tiny fish) in the dining room, and finding their favorite hiding spots between the trees and the scuma-wiki.
And we haven’t even told you about the neighbors yet.
Before the fencing was installed, our gate arrived, huge and hulking with nowhere to go. That’s when Kaleb , the neighbor, came over and asked who was going to guard the gate. As comprehensive and thoughtful as TLC is, we just hadn’t thought to hold interviews for the guarder-of-the-gate position. Kaleb offered to guard the gate for us, and camped out in the unfinished house until the gate could be installed. Maybe this is the Kenyan version of bringing over a deep-dish casserole.
That’s all for this week’s Maseno Minute! We hope you enjoyed hearing about us and our building project, and hopefully you have one more dredge-filled gulp of coffee left in your chipped mug. Yes, there’s a chip on the rim. How have you not noticed that, dear reader?
Anyways, if you find yourself with an empty cup, feeling like you would like to contribute to TLC’s mission of providing enough for the child that has too little, the house still needs light bulbs. We need 1 person to commit to a monthly donation of $10 to light up the kid’s home. That’s nine bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a study area, living room, and two security lights, all filled with light and love, powered by your $10. That’s only sacrificing two venti-soy-chai-latte-with-a-splash-of-vanilla each month, and you should be embarrassed to order that anyway. If you feel compelled to give, click here or the “Donate” button across the top of the site will connect you to our Paypal donation page where you can set up a one-time or monthly donation.
Jess, TLC’s founder, likes a quote that reads, “The greatest tragedy in life is to do nothing, because you can do so little.” Personally, when I first read that, I found it offensive—I was always told I could do a lot. I could change the world.
In April, the UN estimated the world population to be 7.5 billion. 7.5 billion different nights of sleep, different breakfasts, different successes, and different failures. 7.5 billion different microcosms. If we are honest with ourselves, with that large of a scale, it can feel like none of us can make that much of a difference. But why not start with buying light bulbs for the 14 kids who need them.
We look forward to seeing you and your coffee next Monday, and from all of us at TLC, have a great week!