samosa stuffed suitcases

So I must admit some of my day-dreaming these days has been rather focused on the problem of how do I organize samosas from the Taal restaurant on Colborne St, to come in a suitcase with the VBS team in August. I have already ruled out (after a little deliberation) that butter chicken simply would not make it, but samosas,- there may be a possibility….

There is reason to the madness of the daydreams of Indian food, and visualizing samosas stuffed into someone’s suitcase, as God has decided that we Callaghans needed an extra special Christmas present this year, and in the stead of wrapped presents and stockings full of treats he is opting to gift us with another baby!

I have come to realize that pregnancy and living in the bush is a wicked kind of torcher. No ice-cream or pizza hut or any way to appease those cravings which can drive me to distraction. Thankfully though, up until last week I have been rather ‘off-food’ and not too upset to pass up pickles and Papa Johns. I have one can of pringles to last me until August (which I have hidden from Jay,- sorry, but I have to believe there is some kind of ‘what’s your’s is mine’ release clause when it comes to food and pregnancy). I also indulged on 6 grapefruit which cost me a whopping 15$ not including air freight fee…. in retrospect, I probably could have waited a few more weeks for my citrus instalment.

We are over the initial shock of it all. 5 children, we are now more than doubly outnumbered a bit scary when mutiny is always a threat to the horizon. One starts to think if God keeps giving us chances until we finally get the parenting thing right. The kids took to the idea well, with the one stipulation from Lily,’ if it is ANOTHER B-O-Y’ I am going to scream!’ Appreciate your prayers as we work out the details of delivery (sans epidural 🙁 ). We don’t plan for it to change things up too much, as we have already been graciously loaned a house near to the mission hospital for the month of December. Pray for energy, strength and health for us all and the little one to come.

Monkey McNuggets
So, I wake up in the middle of the night to hear this terrible screeching sound. It was like planet of the apes outside our bedroom window. I nudge Jay for an explanation (as he is required to give either some sincere or fictional reasoning for every unusual night time sound), and without opening his eyes, he just states, “Monkey mcNuggets”. Oh. oh my.
Jay is not one to shed tears over monkey casualties. This time it was a troop of baboons claiming the usual monkey territory, and although I am glad that bread, muffin, granola stealing monkey may be evicted, I am not sure that a troop of baboons is a good replacement. For the last few weeks we are on ‘alert’ as the troop decides randomly to drop by in the backyard. In groups of 20 or so, and the “alpha” as big as Jay on his hands and knees, we don’t mess around. Jesse has this little frenzied “baboon” dance where he runs inside and reenacts the baboon walking around. They have not actually shown any aggression and will run off if you make loud sounds, but still…. I would rather Monkey McNuggets than Callaghan casualties.

Volunteer Construction
Jay is in the midst of finishing construction on the volunteer houses which will house our two homeschool/primary school volunteers. We are excited about this new space, although the logistics of building in the North are often mind boggling. Arranging for purchasing and transport, trying to organize 80 wheelbarrows of rock and digging up 3 trailer loads of sand, trying to weld in the hot sun, lacking many of the needed tools and or supplies needed at any given time and so trying to think about how to work with the resources you have. It is an exercise of both great frustration, work and reward. Jay still keeps up with his teaching and other responsibilities, so pray for his health, energy and endurance as he works hard to finish this project by August.

construction creation

construction creation









cement form walls...

cement form walls…


Samburu Ongoko- walking with all her belongings 10km to the next place to settle. Stopped by for a cup of chai and scored some rather bright red crocs!

I have hear this word repeated over and over in the last few weeks. “njaa” “hunger”. Today I saw a mama who came stating she has no food to feed her children. This is nearly a daily experience now, that the rains have failed, the animals far away and the relief food only barely trickling in. Relief for a family I am told is 1kg of rice and 2 kg beans. This may be the only food until the next truck which may or may not even come. So people continue on, the last 2 mama’s I weighed were under 35kg,- I have really just stopped weighing. We have been able to give out potatoes, some milk powder, grow some sukuma (like spinach) in our garden to share with the community. At times we will take on feeding a particular person in need or a family when they are in physical crisis.

We are looking into finding options to feed people through NGO’s or other organizations who help support famine relief. We are exploring purchasing goats to help (a more long term solution) those widows and families who are so poor to have no animals or herds to support them and their family.

For those who are asking for work or food, I have helped the mama’s buy some beads and then give them a project of making Christmas ornaments, which I buy from them. It hopefully allows them some dignity to be able to use their talents instead of having to beg. The project has grown more rapidly that I had thought, and so far we have helped about 8 families with this project, giving them some means to buy food during these difficult times.

beaded ornaments

beaded ornaments

Anyone interested in ordering some authentic Samburu Christmas ornaments (@ $2 each), do let me know. As of now, our tree not likely to withstand the weight of the beads! I’d be happy to send to you, may be a good idea if anyone either at church or work is planning a Christmas Craft sale in a few (ok 5) months!  Any funds will go to helping these needy families.

tree trimmings anyone?

tree trimmings

Of Loss and Light                                                                                                                  We are saddened by the loss of a young mother in her 20’s who left behind a young baby last week. She had come to me on a Thursday, presenting with strange, repetitive body movements that had progressed for the last 2 months. She was unable to hold her baby or feed her. Her mother noted she was confused at times and her arms and legs were weak. Looking further into the cause of the problem we planned to take her for testing on Monday, but unfortunately by Saturday, a sudden onset of fever and delirium progressed to take her life. So many medical casualties here, even now as I write, a few hours ago I saw a young baby who swallowed turpentine. His outcome is unsure. He is nestled in the arms of his father, who lovingly strokes his cheek. My mind is haunted if this yet another loss this week. Yesterday a girl from the girls school attempted suicide by jumping off a truck. She survived, but people here are scared of delving too deep into another’s emotional pain. And so little gets solved. At the ladies meeting today I heard word that a boy a the Secondary school completed suicide, and an old mama wandered into the bush and was killed by hyena. I spoke today with the ladies about being light in dark places. Where are the places filled with sorrow, pain, suffering and even evil? Where is it that the light shines brightest, brings the most hope and help? I think of Jesse singing the ever so familiar relic of a tune, “this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine” as he waves his finger to the words.

Thanks for your prayers. We are progressing with the Tuberculosis (TB) Samburu Health Initiative having completed community census/surveys for all but two of our target villages. I have been truly amazed at how many people live around the immediate area. Next step get the machine out of the box and figure out how it works! A bit intimidating for me, and requires more than a stretch of 10 minutes uninterrupted time, which is tricky to find.

Well, all for now. Just wanted to give our BIG news and this little update. The kids are doing well, a bit restless with some indoor days because of snake sightings or baboon troops. They asked the other day, “what is cabin fever” fearing that they had caught something ominous.

with blessings and thanksgiving
Laura for the almost 7 of us!


Captain Underpants. You never know what will come in the mail plane! Thanks grandma- one excited boy!