Some Stats on the Youth Ranch Home Facilities

New Youth Ranch KitchenIMG_0376

I’ve been continually asked about our home, and what our physical structure looks like, feels like, and is in comparison with an American home. So here it goes.

  • The Youth Ranch Home has one main house where up to 25 boys have lived at a time.
  • The main house is around 3,200sq/ft. The first floor has a kitchen/dining area and five small bedrooms for a total of ten boys.
  • The second floor has beds for six more boys.
  • The boy’s rooms are around 60sq/ft. and have a bunk bed and small closet.
  • The second floor has a living space that will be converted into our small home-school house. There is also a living area where the boys pile in to hang out.
  • The new boy’s rooms will be slightly larger, allowing for about 100sq/ft. of space, giving older boys more freedom, space to grow, and increased privacy.
  • Our guest rooms each have a private bathroom and shower separate from the main house.
  • Our main house has three toilets and two showers.
  • Our new kitchen design will create approximately a 376sq/ft space for the boys to work and cook.
  • Our current kitchen is part of our dining area, and our kitchen area is under 120sq/ft.
  • We do have electricity** (weak and irregular), flushing toilets** (sometimes the boys flush), hot water** (kinda hot…sometimes), a washing machine for bed clothes** (when we have enough water and electricity), and toilet paper.
  • We do not have air conditioning or heating, as it is really not necessary, and we have a dryer but not the electricity yet to use it.  We don’t have cable TV or cable internet in the home.
  • Our home receives 12,000 gallons of water a month, (500 gallons a month per boy or less than 17 gallons a day per person), not taking into account water for the farm animals and crops, which takes up about half our monthly water allowance.
  • In an average American home, showers are typically the third largest water use after toilets and clothes washers. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons (65.1 liters) and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average which means our boys don’t have the luxury of a shower a day.
  • There are a number of areas of our home that are not yet finished. We urgently need closets built, dry wall installed, and bookshelves.
  • Our current projects are the completion of a water recycling project, four rooms and a bath for older boys, and a new kitchen that will meet standards and codes.
  • We are hoping to raise money for our new kitchen ($9,800)* (already raised $3,000!), we need to pay off our laying hens ($950), complete the older boy’s rooms ($12,500), build the aquaponics complex for food production ($2,500), and the water recycling project lacks about ($800) to be completed.
  • The road running to the Youth Ranch Land is narrow and dirt/mud and about 650 yards in length. We hope to have the city help us gravel the road this year, but we must first level it ourselves.
  • Our roofs are tin and that makes it loud when it is raining hard, but makes a wonderful roar to which one can sleep. 
  • Our rainy season begins around Mother’s Day (May 10) and ends around Halloween. In a good rainy season, it rains every day and this helps our crops, but creates lots of mud.
  • The boys have orange trees, lemon, lime, apple, guayaba, nispero, and blackberry bushes. We are working on planting more coffee, avocados, raspberry, and strawberry. We have about 140 coffee trees.
  • The garden has hot chilis, bell peppers, tomatoes, and carrots.
  • I hope this answers some of your many questions, and allows you to know a little more about the facilities, and why I am working so hard to fundraise while in the US. God has slowly provided the things that we need to make our home safe and functional for all of the Youth Ranch Boys.

If you have any more questions about our facilities or how you can help us complete construction of our home, I’m in the United States until November 22, and I will have this phone number on me: 615-803-1699.  or my email is zonajuvenil@hotmail.com   

About that 041 marker.

Sunday church with some of my boys.
Sunday church with some of my boys.

About passing that 041 marker

I just sped past a mile-marker. Mom says the mile-marker was 041, but it doesn’t feel like it. I really don’t slow down to look at any of those mile-markers. Honestly, I ignore them because staring at them reminds you how old you should feel, not how old you should live. I don’t want to act “over the hill”…..I’d prefer just to look over the next hill. I don’t stop and wander around the mile markers. Some people stick around the date like it’s a national holiday. Some celebrate their aging an entire week, and then begrudgingly crawl as they pass trying to “act their age”. Forget that!

I’m blessed. I live and incredible life and a journey that teaches me so much every day. I’m blessed to father incredible sons. Not many men get to father twenty+ boys, and certainly not sons who can teach me so much about life. Many of my boys have lived so much, suffered so greatly, and “been-there-done-that-and-survived” for so long, you would think they had seen the 041 markers! I laugh uncontrollably most days, and mostly at others. I’d say at points my laughing at the boys is what makes our house so much fun. They are hysterically funny at times, and I am always on the lookout for that next “oh-my-gosh-record-it-for-YouTube” moment. I am challenged daily to love more, forgive more fully, and take on each challenge as a new way to grow in HIM.

My life is not perfect. While traveling the US I must confess that I stand in the hot shower a little longer. I’m amazed that when I turn a shower on…..water comes out willfully. I don’t have to beg, cuss, or pray to get water to come out. And it comes out HOT! I’m so used to fussy lukewarm water I really have a brilliant understanding of what Revelation 3:16 means now. If I could take anything home, it may just be the water……but then TSA would object.

My house has bugs, flies, and other annoying pests (not referring to the boys!) I get used to some of that, but I don’t think I’ll ever find the flies normal or acceptable. We’ve been praying for an improved and safe kitchen. (That would be improved and safer for the boys, not the flies.) Living in an agricultural community brings some interesting challenges. But I’d rather live nowhere else, with all of them boys. They need to grow up on a farm. I think it makes them better. They may not get it today, but when they pass 041 they will be so thankful they did.

I guess what holds me up many days is the fact that I have more friends than flies. I’m blessed with friends galore. Some are normal, but most are odd and hilarious. They give me people to laugh at. Like I laugh at my boys, I travel and laugh at my friends and family. People really are hysterical if you just stop and listen carefully to them. I’m pretty sure God laughs at me, and sometimes HE sets me up to be the blunt of his jokes….pretty sure! But HE loves me and that shows through all the poking and prodding. God loves me enough that HE cares, and HE provides for my every need.

So, zooming past the 041 marker everyone was so helpful in pointing out (thank you very much), I’m blessed and honored to be able to serve HIM. I’m blessed to be a father and have a “cool-enough-for-a-reality series” home that provides me with tons of excitement, more blessings than I deserve, and enough chaos to keep my ADHD exhausted! I am thrilled to be used by God and honored that HE cares enough to laugh at me. I hope that if you are near the 041, or past it, that you feel the same.