Monday, December 7, 2009

Astonishing EEStor News!?!

Before we all get carried away with what could be astonishing EEStor news, it's important to calm the soul, slow down and peer into the wider significance of reality, your life and the universe around you. It's said that 25% of the Earth's inhabitants do not enjoy the use of electricity. Ergo, there are almost literally worlds amid our world which struggle with a great many things we take for granted. Our comfort and the human suffering around the world represent an unignorable lack of balance, one that we are fortunate to have had attacked by heroes who declare the status quo unacceptable.

Until we join these individuals on the higher plain, our own personal lives will very likely mirror the various imbalances in our world. That is, our attempts to satisfy our multitude of greedy desires will invariably lead to lonely, hollow illusions of human fulfillment. The real opportunity is to attack human suffering in order to win one's own humanity.

From it's inception, this blog has been dedicated to the memory of Fr. Angelo D'Agostino, founder of Nyumbani. (It's not a monument or even a church, but then again, D'Agostino has not yet been canonized so relax a little.) :-) After almost 3 years, that dedication seems fitting because EEStor represents a truth not unlike that of ridding Africa of the scourge of AIDS at least insofar as the founding vision is concerned. Granted, in wildly different realms, Nyumbani and EEStor set out to accomplish what is widely considered impossible. Nyumbani attacks human apathy with a goal to normalize & nurture the lives of children who have lost their parents to AIDS. EEStor attacks scientific hubris with a goal to create something extremely useful before giving in to the desire to explain how it is even possible, thereby jeopardizing how it is used and by whom. Does the anology feel stretched a bit? Never mind.

Even if the above reflection has no resonance for you, I felt it important to provide a bit more information about Nyumbani. So I reached out to the succesor of Fr. D'Agostino, a kind soul by the name of Sr. Mary Owens. Hopefully, it will provide additional information for why I support this great charity.


Dear B,

Greetings from Nyumbani.

See answers to your questions under each question.

I would have appreciated more info about who you are.

Sister Mary

[B's Note: Even charitable people wonder who. ;-) ]

B wrote:
Dear Sr. Mary,

I met Fr. D'Ag in the Washington DC area a few years ago and have been giving my support to Nyumbani ever since. I hope you are doing well.
I would like to write an article about Nyumbani for a blog I maintain. I was hoping you might be so kind as to answer a few questions for the article.
1) Are donations to Nyumbani accounted for in a transparent way? How can one be sure funds are used in an effective manner?
All donations are receipted and our accounts are audited by one of the leading world audit firms

2) What is the most pressing need of your organization at this time of December 2009?
We look to Christmas to receive gifts of food, household items, cash donations which help us in the running of Nyumbani Children's Home which depends entirely on donors

3) In the newsletters, I think I've seen mention of some use of renewable energy in the village. Can you share a few thoughts about how that is working? How did you come into it and are there plans to grow it? (I ask about this because my blog is devoted largely to the discussion of renewable energy)

We are growing both jatropha and castor. It was Fr. D'Agostino's dream to run our machines and vehicles on biofuel. Jatropha is taking time to adapt to the environment so we have not harvested seeds yet. We have harvested castor seeds and, because the quantity is still small, have sold as seeds, i.e., we are not yet extracting the oil for use in the Village

4) Can you share a story or two about individuals who benefitted from the services Nyumbani provides?
Our first graduate from Nyumbani Home, Dennis, having acquired a job, moved into his own accommodation in September 2007. He had been with us since 1995.
A visit to Nyumbani Home these days is an experience of meeting happy, healthy children running or cycling around, playing sport, reading in the library or relaxing in their home - totally different from a visit in the 90s when you would see children at varying stages of diminishment and when 1 to 2 would die each month

5) Do you think Fr. D'Ag is a saint? Is he helping out from up above? Any stories you can share in this regard?
Fr. D'Agostino was a good man. I believe that all good people are saints. In addition, he still inspires people - a fruit of a good life. I believe too that he intercedes for us with God.

If your charity is successful, what does it look like 10-25yrs from now?

We shall be out of business since, by then, virtually no child will be born with the virus.

Best Regards,


Fr. Angelo D'Agostino and Sr. Mary Owens