I could have never imagined...

Almost three years ago when this journey began, I would have never imagined all of the places a Tiny House could take me. I'm not even talking about building a little house on wheels and driving it around. Most specifically because we have not built our tiny house on wheels. No, our journey has taken an even more surreal turn. And all because Matt and I took the leap to build our little cabin in the mountains, we have been asked to do something that is so awesome it is almost beyond words.  Let me try to share. 
Just over a year ago, Matt reconnected to an old friend.  Unfortunately, it came about because his cousin died of pancreatic cancer. I had a hard time with that - it was very difficult. His cousin had been my age and at various times I had been very close to him.  We had a love hate relationship but I always regretting not keeping in touch with him. But because of it, Matt and his brother went on a road trip to the memorial service in Reno, NV and their old friend Priscilla met them there.  Since that time, Priscilla moved to South Africa and be came involved in several organizations, including Operation Bobbi Bear.
A few months ago, Priscilla began talking with Matt about an upcoming project.  They are planning to buy some land to build a shelter.  Since Matt and I have some cursory experience with sustainable building she wanted to know more information.  This blossomed into more than just advising them, but to truly helping them. 
This is the land where the shelter will be built.
We have an opportunity to go to South Africa to help them build.  We are going for an exploratory mission in November of this year to learn more about the land and the materials, develop plans, help the locals get started with any sort of legal permitting process and all of the other minutia that goes into building something like this. We will share with them information about types of buildings that will work best for the location and we can teach them some basic skills to get started.  Then, the current plan is for us to be able to go back for some time in the spring of next year for the building to begin. 
I've been talking with Priscilla and another member of their organization, Tammy, about the things they need and, like all non-profits, they need money. They are only a few hundred dollars short of the money needed to buy the land.  And I said, "well, I think I can help?".  I offered to get the word out there - through the tiny house community, through sustainable living enthusiasts, through members of my religious community.  Here is the best part - the money isn't going to some faceless organization. This money will help them directly. I know these people. I know this project. I will be personally involved.  You can keep up with the project and really see how your donations are being used.  Check out the website for their organization, the Zulu Orphan Alliance
We may also need some other help down the line.  Certainly we wouldn't ask anyone to buy a ticket and travel to South Africa, but we could use some expert advice and information from time to time. We could use information about sustainable living, permaculture and building techniques. Any help is appreciated.

If you're able to donate any amount of money to this cause, please go to their donation page. Even a few dollars can make a difference. Feel free to spread the news far and wide. 
I am incredibly honored and humbled to be asked to help with this. I can't believe I have this type of opportunity just because I decided to build a tiny house in the woods. 


  1. Thanks, Laura, for sharing our project with your greater community. To expand upon what we are joining together to do in South Africa--We are working with orphans and vulnerable South African children who live at a small orphanage in need of more space/buildings. Not many Americans know that AIDS has virtually destroyed traditional family life in South Africa. Nearly 1/3rd of Zulu children have no parents--but they do have a strong (but very poor) community guided by the concept of Ubuntu--an African philosophy of caring, sharing, and human interconnectedness. It is not unusual to find one adult looking after 15-20 kids. Most go several days without eating, just to ensure that the kids have some food. We are embracing Ubuntu and reminding Americans that we are all connected to one another, and to the earth. Being committed to sustainability also means committed to the sustainablility of other humans, and these kids definitely need ALL of our help.
    Thanks for spreading awareness.
    Tammy L. Hanks, Ph.D.
    Executive Director
    Zulu Orphan Alliance


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