14 Sep 2019

Brian brightened my day, my week my year!

Jet lag has a grip on me this time around and I don’t sleep more than an hour total all night. When the alarm goes off at 4:30am, I am grateful for it, as I no longer need try to be still so that I don’t wake Naomi up. I shower and check us out, ready for our 5am trip to the airport, where we will catch a flight to Mombasa. Sister Veronica greets us at the Mombasa airport, where the sky is heavy with moisture and we are instantly drenched in sweat. Vero, on the other hand, comments on how cold the weather has turned and how strange it [...]

14 Sep 2019

Cold water, roosters and the different smells of the rains

I had forgotten cold water is so cold when taking a bath in the morning. It had slipped my mind that the rooster will crow at all odd hours, not just at sunrise. I missed the different smells of the rains: before they hit the scorched red earth, while it is raining, and as it moves on, leaving the land watered and complete. I fail to recall that that a chicken will likely be sitting on my bed throughout the day and will give me a look of utter contempt when I shoo her away. What has never escaped my memory and what forever lives in me is the sound [...]

17 Jul 2019

Thank you for that greenhouse

Sipho, gentle Sipho, stands proudly in “her” greenhouse, shyly smiling at me as I ask her questions about growing lettuce and about her life. I love watching her face break into a huge smile when I ask her about her baby, an 18-month old chubby girl. The baby, born of rape, is a child who is loved. A child of hope. A child with a future. Sipho wakes up very early and heads out to the greenhouse, watering the plants and pulling up weeds that threaten her ground. The drip irrigation system has done its job and the soil is pliant and forgiving.  To the far left, the lettuces are [...]

28 Aug 2018


It is a known fact that United States is seen around the world as a country with a “poor” diet – high concentrations of processed food, sugar, red meat, and the reduction of veggies and fruit. In search for convenience and speed, people tend to fall into eating habits that aren’t the healthiest of choices, but that simply get the work of being full done. Many people believe that they don’t have enough time to cook meals from scratch even if it’s only a couple of times a week. You can see that grocery lists become more filled with “ready to eat” meals, frozen pre-made dinners, canned meals etc. Typically, [...]

6 Feb 2018


Patagonia. The word alone invokes thoughts of snow peaked mountain, immense valleys, glaciers, guanacos with their huge, sad eyes, and silence. Silence that is breathtaking and all encompassing, allowing one to the trickle of a creek or the high-pitched call of an eagle. Silence that allows your head to think and your heart to feel.  Silence that allows you to hear your boots crunch as you trek through this immense area in southern Chile. Who hasn’t added Patagonia to their bucket list?  It has been on mine since I was 16 years old and the time is near for me to fly down to Punta Arenas to do a 37-mile [...]

22 Nov 2017


Investing in a child’s education is a huge endeavor. Investing in a child’s health is another huge endeavor. Investing in children’s nutrition is still another big endeavor. Add the three up and you have some big issues to tackle, all vitally important and all necessary for the proper development of a child, no matter where in the world they live. It can appear overwhelming to face on these three giants, but AFCA is doing just that, with the help of some chickens. Yes, chickens! With two coops built and fully functioning in Zimbabwe, these laying chickens are addressing various needs faced by children infected and/or affected by AIDS.  You see, [...]

22 Nov 2017


Where do you even begin with such huge issues like global poverty and hunger? I mean, can one person even make a difference? The truth is, you can. AFCA started a week-long food challenge, Pass My Plate, in an effort to tackle these issues and encourage others to learn about how the majority of the world live on a daily basis. Let’s take a better look at what we are talking about. According to the World Bank, “The food system is fundamental for human life. It provides the energy and nutrition that people need as a basis for economic and social advance. It provides an income source for billions of [...]

22 Nov 2017


The day starts like all the other work days. 6:00am – my eyes pop open with the rising of the sun, but I shut them for another 30 minutes of laying around, knowing I really don’t have much to do until breakfast time. A cold shower wakes me up completely, along with the smell of sautéing vegetables. For the first time since arriving in Kenya, I smell something spicy cooking and I know we are in for another treat. I put on my jeans and t-shirt and make it downstairs in time for Eric to hand me a cup of coffee, fresh from his little French press. This cup is [...]

22 Nov 2017


We drive in an easy silence towards the airport to pick up Team Coffee Bean, Frank and I. As he slowly maneuvers the car over the dirt road, I stare at the rice fields to my right, wondering how many snakes live there among the legs of the people working the grain. A crane raises up and flies away, extending its long legs behind it and reaching towards the hot, round sun. Up ahead, I notice a woman in a red sweater holding a young child, probably three. The lady waves her free hand, asking us to give her a ride. We stop and let her in, where she settles [...]

22 Nov 2017


Day 5..... Teaching a new craft is a tricky thing and teaching sewing to people whose third language is English is a VERY tricky thing. Two groups of ten adventurous souls decide to tackle the tailoring class set up by Erica, Jeanie, Morgan, and Siobhan and timidly make their way into the sewing room where seven sewing machines and a cutting table await. Pounds and pounds of buttons, scissors, yards of various colorful cloth, threads of all types and colors, seam rippers, and much more are standing at attention, ready to be used. Nine young ladies and a young man are the first group to take a class and they [...]

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