The award the Gambella Primary School received from the Kenyan Government, for being the most improved school in the entire Isiolo District!

The award the Gambella Primary School received from the Kenyan Government, for being the most improved school in the entire Isiolo District!

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Our Final Push

Three years ago, on October 25, our little group of six families signed a 3-year commitment to adopt the village of Gambella, in Kenya.  We have raised money for various projects in the village, and for coaching in the skills and strategies to transform their village in a sustainable manner.  We have met some of the villagers over live video calls; and some of us have been to the village in person.

At the end of October, our commitment to the village comes to an end; but we have one final push left, to raise the last bit of money for the final project in the village—a windmill that will pump the water needed for them to irrigate their crops.  With this windmill, the village will have achieved TCD sustainability, and will be ready to graduate, and will stand on their own.

Will you help us raise the last $900 needed for the windmill?  It is amazing to see how the village has been completely transformed over the past few years, and I hope you will be a part of this last piece.

If you are interested in donating, just click the ChipIn button on the top-left of the page (it does not work with iPhones or iPads—sorry!), and donate securely.

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Garage Sale Totals

Our garage sale totals are in, and we’re blown away!  We exceeded our goal of $1500.
We can’t thank you enough for all of the items that you donated!  This was truly a community effort!
In case you are interested, here is how the numbers break down:
$1515.93 - total made at the garage sale ($15.93 over our goal!!!!)
+ $560.00 in donations
$2075.93 - total from the past three days
+ $1500.00 - matching from a donor
$3575.93 - GRAND TOTAL
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After two days of sales, our total at the garage sale was $900.  Our goal is to reach $1500.  If we hit our goal, a donor will match it with another $1500.

Today, Saturday, is our last day, and sales are VERY brisk!  I think we’re going to hit our goal today!

After two days of sales, our total at the garage sale was $900. Our goal is to reach $1500. If we hit our goal, a donor will match it with another $1500.

Today, Saturday, is our last day, and sales are VERY brisk! I think we’re going to hit our goal today!

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3rd Annual Garage Sale - Donations Needed

We are having our 3rd Annual—and final—Garage Sale 4 Gambella, and we need donated items to sell.

If we reach our goal of $1500 for the garage sale, a donor will match our goal with an additional $1500—that’s a total of $3000 toward a windmill for Gambella.

Every penny made at the garage sale will go to help the village of Gambella.

If you have great stuff to donate—we’re happy to take it off your hands!  We are accepting sellable goods, and any help you’d like to offer.

Contact:  Mary Lossau:  847-707-8417,

or Beth Moss:  815-219-0169,


Garage Sale Date/time:

June 7, 8, 9   Th/Fri  8 – 3, Sat 8 - 1

Drop off information:

Where:  321 Lincoln St, Algonquin

When:  Whenever you like!  Just call first if you could. 

** if you have large stuff (and we hope you do), please bring it Wed or Thur, as we may not have room to store it.

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Working for a Windmill

When Mary, Lydia, Kelsey and I were in Gambella last summer, the villagers pleaded with us to get them a generator so that they could pump water to use for irrigation.

The area around Isiolo, which includes Gambella, had been suffering from a drought, and they were desperate to irrigate larger crops.  

Another organization had been out just the week before we got there, and had dug a borehole for them, but they had no way to pump water from it.

Gambella already has a generator that they use to pump water for drinking, as well as for some irrigation, but it runs on diesel fuel, which is expensive.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for villages to take loans to pay for diesel fuel so that they can irrigate their crops, with the hopes that they will create enough revenue from their crops to pay back the loans, with a little left to spare.  This approach is proving unsustainable.

What Gambella does have—and they have lots of it—is wind.  It’s the kind of wind that leaves you tired after being in it all day.  This is a perfect scenario for a windmill to pump water.

GHNI has found a company that is local in Kenya, that builds extremely high quality windmills, that require nearly zero maintenance.  That is what we are raising money for this summer.

The total cost of the windmill is around $10,000, and there are already pledges for donations for half of that.  In addition to fulfilling our original commitment to GHNI and Gambella, we want to raise the remaining funds so that the windmill can be completed—a total of $6,200.  That’s what we’re working for this summer.

Gambella has made huge strides in their fight against poverty, and this windmill is one of the last pieces to be put in place.  Our neighborhood group in Algonquin has been working in this partnership for nearly three years now, and this summer will be our final efforts as part of the partnership.

We’re excited for the summer, and looking forward to having you be a part of it.  Look for more details to come soon, but here’s a sneak peek at what to expect:

  • 3rd Annual Garage Sale - June 7-9 (donations needed)
  • 3rd Annual Ambulance Cleaning - Late August
  • 2nd Annual No Frills 5K Run/1M Walk - Mid-September
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Gambella/Isiolo Update

It has been a rough few months for the village of Gambella, as well as for the nearby town of Isiolo, and the entire surrounding area.  The rainy season is approaching its end, and while there have been plenty of clouds, they have produced unusually low amounts of rainfall; unfortunately, this is becoming a pattern.

Even more heartbreaking than the lack of rain though, is the violence that has plagued the area for months.  I’m hearing that there haven’t been any killings in Isiolo in about three weeks, but all of the shootings have taken a toll.  My wife made a dear friend when we were in Gambella last summer, and we found out that her sister was shot and killed on the road from Isiolo to Gambella about three weeks ago.  She had young children that she left behind.  

It’s hard to describe how difficult it is to sit here so far away, and hear updates about attacks and violence happening to people that we know, and love, and spent time with.  We, of course, would be powerless even if we were there.  Our friends’ lives are being ripped apart—and sometimes ended—and there’s not much we can do to end it.  But we’re here for them, and they know that.  And knowing that they have friends on the other side of the planet, ready to help them get back on their feet when the violence ends, is something I believe gives them hope.  And they do have hope now that they didn’t have 4-5 years ago: hope for an education; hope for an income; hope for food from farming and husbandry; and hope for health and wellness.  That’s why we partnered with them, and that’s why we will continue to push on.

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Violence in Isiolo

I received sad news this morning, from our friends in Isiolo (the town near our village of Gambella).  Violence has been escalating in Isiolo, and the surrounding area in the recent weeks.  As drought continues to crush the area, resources are becoming more and more scarce.  People are just trying to survive, and are becoming desperate.  

Gambella RoadDue to the violence, the school in Gambella has been temporarily closed.  Most of the people from the village have left Gambella, and have gone to Isiolo where they feel they will have more safety.  Many men have stayed in the village, to protect it should there be an attack.

On Saturday, two men from Gambella were walking from Isiolo back to the village, when they were shot and killed.  We drove on that same road (pictured at right) twice a day every day we were in Kenya this summer.  At this point I am not sure if any of us met the men that were killed, but I can’t tell you how sad I was to hear this news this morning.  

This is reality.  Since I went on my first trip last summer, I’ve realized how “messy” this business is.  There’s no magic bullet that makes it all go away.  The bottom line is that this work involves people, and relationships—both of which can be messy.  Throw in some real life-and-death issues, and the results can be unpredictable.  But that’s why we’re there.  Because we care, and we want to offer hope and a different way of thinking.

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Before and after pictures.  On the left is Boru’s house as we left it after framing it out for him in August 2010.  On the right is what his house looked like in July 2011, after he completed the rest of it.

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Tensions in Isiolo

Welcome Ceremony in GambellaThere have been tensions, including violence and a number of fatalities, in the area around Isiolo.  Isiolo is the town nearest to our village of Gambella.  The drought that is so severely affecting the horn of Africa is hitting Isiolo and surrounding villages as well.  These are tough times, leading to desperate acts.

We’re praying for more rain, and that crops can grow and livestock can graze—and that people would have hope, so that cooler heads would prevail.  I’m so thankful for our partnership with Gambella.  They have hope now that they wouldn’t have had if facing this drought several years earlier.  I will provide more updates as I learn more.

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