Eating Stone update – January 2022

Eating Stone update from Sandi Carlile


A new year, 2022, with the Omicron variant of Covid 19 having spread very quickly throughout this world of ours! At least most of those who have contracted Omicron have milder symptoms. Yes, once again I am writing this update from J2 Ranch near Canal Flats, BC, Canada, where I have been residing with my daughter since April 2020, close to two years now! It is my fondest hope to be able to return to Kenya some time this year! 

An update on our four brave little girls

The reaction to the story of the four small girls who appeared at the Eating Stone gate in April 2021 was overwhelming. I am still filled with awe and wonder when I think of the long journey they made. Profound thanks to all the medical  team at Kenyatta National Hospital who made survival  of the eldest sister possible. Thanks also to the team consisting of a social worker, a psychologist, a nutritionist and a nurse who worked not only with the eldest, but with the two youngest sisters and all of the Eating Stone Family.

We now know the names and ages of the three sisters. The eldest, who is now seven years of age, was finally pronounced healthy and joined her two sisters and the rest of the Eating Stone Family in December. She is in Grade Two. Five year old sister is in Grade One and four year old sister is in Pre-primary One.

On matters education…

Due to on again, off again school closures due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the Kenyan government has revised the school year. Schooling resumed on January 2 but rather than this date being the beginning of a new school year, it is the third of three terms. Students will be writing final exams for the 2021 year in March 2022. The new school year will begin in April.

Wisdom Academy, the on-site primary school, opened for classes just after the new year. All Eating Stone children from pre-primary through Grade 8 school here. Children from the old site in Kabiria and children from the local community benefit from the excellent school.

The children of Eating Stone are growing up! The largest age group are in their teens which means finding support for secondary boarding school students and for post secondary students who will attend university/technical school/college.  Most children’s’ homes end their support once a child reaches the age of 18. The Eating Stone Organisation is unique. We believe education is not finished until a child has both the maturity and the skills needed to secure employment in his/her chosen field.  Alumni are also strongly encouraged to stay connected to their home and to give back to their sisters and brothers.

At present we have six sponsored students in post-secondary schools and three waiting for sponsorship. In April, five students will be writing their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and will be hoping for sponsors to continue to post secondary school in September. Also in April we will have 18 children attending secondary boarding schools. Without the wonderful support of the following, the children of Eating Stone would be unable to continue their education beyond Grade 8:

  • Sharon Small, ES Board member, USA, who erased the secondary school deficit of 2021
  • Diana Goff, USA friend of Eating Stone, who donated funds for secondary students
  • SM Blair Family Foundation (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) for their generous grant for secondary school students
  • Rotary Club of Canmore (Alberta, Canada) for their generous grant for secondary school students
  • Anne and Bill Scott (Calgary, AB) for their support of one Eating Stone girl for secondary school

Renewable energy, a Christmas tree, and a tailor

Readers of these updates will no doubt remember the donation from Sheri and George Braun (Langley, BC) in 2017 which enabled the Eating Stone Organisation to go ahead with building a new home for the children on the 1/2 acre which had been donated. Their donation matched that of The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie, (AB). The home was built and the children moved in on January 31, 2017. In September 2021, Sheri and George once again donated funds which have enabled Eating Stone to add two more solar hot water panels and enough electrical panels to support the home and eliminate power bills which takes KES 15,000 per month (about 190 CAD) from the food budget. The project is close to being finished subject to the back order of a main component….another supply chain issue.

Many thanks once again to Tracey Farleigh (UK Board Member) and her enthusiastic group for making Christmas such a wonderful and memorable time for the Eating Stone family. They raised funds (and then some) for their special holiday meal including roast chicken and chips, chapatis and much loved Nyama choma (roasted goat). They designed and printed a beautiful Christmas card featuring photos of Tracey and the late John Forsythe, the ES children and a “John quote” on the back of the card, “Everything has an end, except a sausage, which has two.” Each of the ES family received a card with a “friend” letter tucked inside. These were all hand delivered by Gerald Ngugi who was visiting his family in Kenya. He also had a special surprise from the UK supporters….a Christmas tree with lights! This was the first time the children have ever had a tree!

The other surprise from a UK supporter was the delivery of a “seven seater”, what Kenyans call a sofa set. It will be moved from the dining hall to “John’s Sanctuary” which is nearing completion. Construction of the children’s’ room was delayed a number of times due to Covid restrictions. Final painting and floor tiling still remain to be completed.

The three sewing machines donated several years ago by supporters in High River, Alberta, are being put to good use at Eating Stone. A tailor has been teaching sewing for some time. They are even sewing school uniforms which will be a big saving.

Decorating their first ever tree with lights!
The girls have learned how to sew…
…and have made their own school uniforms!

One Acre Farm Project

The One Acre Farm Project is doing very well. The second crop of maize has been harvested and the yield is excellent. The next planting will be at the beginning of February. Both seeds and fertiliser are provided by the project.

Our big news is that we have managed to lease a five acre plot of land in the Awendo area, not far from the 1.75 acres we own. Planting this five acres will require us to provide the seeds (maize and several varieties of beans), the fertiliser and the labour. Planting on this plot will also be in February. We have great hopes that growing crops will help reduce the food budget and will enable us to pay all the other bills which currently come out of the food budget.

Maize crop harvested from our 1.75 acres in Awendo, Migori County

And last but not least…

Congratulations to Sharon Small! She has established Eating Stone – USA, Inc as a 5013C non profit organization. This means that US donors may now donate to the non profit and receive a charitable receipt. Details on how to do this can be found on our donations page.

Finally, thanks to Eating Stone Australia for their continuing support! Thanks also to Rod Bahnson, AZ, for him and his supporters! And thank you all who have so faithfully donated to the children of Eating Stone over these many years. You are the backbone!

As always, our greatest and ongoing need, aside from school fees, is raising enough funds – not only to feed the Eating Stone family, but to cover the costs of medical care when needed, for clothing and shoes, cleaning products, power, school supplies and all compound repairs and upkeep. I hope you will consider donating to these wonderful souls!

Always with a grateful heart,

Sandi Carlile
Eating Stone Kenya Board Member & Trustee