There is a rally in Naivasha this weekend. Everyone wants to go, but after seeing the video below, I think I one of the those who does not want to pay the price to see the race. The second video is a bit of information about the race. When traffic gets stopped in Kenya it is a free for all and everyone goes wherever they see an opening no matter if it is in the oncoming traffic lane or in the appropriate direction. It can be on the median or the service road or over the field next to the road. One time a group of students from Nairobi to Kijabe got stuck in traffic for 8 hours. That trip is usually around 2 hours maximum. Ouch!
I cannot believe that David is 18 and headed off to Abilene Christian University. He considered and was accepted at several other good schools, but in the end the idea of attending the “Harvard of West Texas” could not be beat. Allison and I both went to ACU, as did Allison’s parents. Both my brothers and most of my cousins attended as did Allison’s brother. My sister-in-laws on both sides are ACU Wildcats. It is the family school. We are very excited, and David will be rooming with his cousin. We are excited about that too. We are sad to see him go, but he is more than ready for the next stage of life. God was good to us when he gave us the responsibility of caring for this young man, and we are excited to see how he will serve God with his gifts in the future . . . (Read our entire newsletter at this link, Coming To The USA! There are some nice pictures as well as some small further updates).
If you know a church or individual that might be interested in supporting our work, we would really like to meet them!
Today it was 48 degrees outside when I woke up. Yesterday the thermometer said 45! It is winter time in Kijabe. We are barely south of the equator, and yet by some miracle of altitude and weather patterns we are always temperate. And currently it is cold. It is not “USA winter” cold, but chilly nonetheless. As I walked to the hospital yesterday I marveled at the temperature. It felt like the first true autumn chill in Texas. And it stayed cool and cloudy all day. I came home and built a fire at about 4:30 PM (the fireplace is the house heater), and at just that moment the sun came out. (Typical timing. It is like when the power goes out. Just as I get all the candles and lanterns gathered and lit, the lights will come back on.) Despite the sunlight, the outdoor temperature did not warm much, and as the sun set over the valley the autumn chill returned. This time of year the girls wake up in the morning and the first thing they seek is the space heater. In the evening everyone gathers around the fireplace, sitting in camp chairs to be close to it. It is good for family bonding although it can get a bit crowded. I think we will all enjoy the hot summer in Texas when we fly home for a short visit in July! Time by the grandparents pool with the hot sun on our faces. We’ll see some of you soon!
A visitor to Kijabe was coming up the local road when a leopard jumped on the road in front of their car. They slowed down and despite the its camouflage were able to get it on video. As I walked by this spot yesterday with my dogs, I took my headphones out of my ears and kept a better lookout than usual. Today riding bikes with David, we blew by it quickly. It is very cool to have a leopard nearby. We have baboons, hyenas, and now leopards right around Kijabe. A bike ride away I have seen elephant droppings in the forest. If you go down to the valley there are all sorts of grazing animals like giraffe, buffalos, and zebras. When we camp by the lake, sometimes the hippos come It does not feel wild around here, but we certainly have a lot of wild animals.
RVA usually has quite a few trips planned during the year. Poor David has missed two big ones he was supposed to take because of the COVID pandemic. One was to Zanzibar, and the other was probably to Ethiopia. Sarah missed her sixth grade safari last year. We are hoping that the seniors get to go on their Senior Safo to the beach at the end of the year. Missing that will bring the entire last two years to a crashing, sad end. Most of the kids that we know will at that point be glad to have high school behind them and moving on to hopefully better things in college. My friend Matt tells his kids, and I echo “You don’t want to peak in high school!” No worries about that for this year’s RVA class. Below are some pictures of Sarah with the 7th and 8th graders at Hell’s Gate National Park. They did rock climbing, repelling, cycling, and hiking. The rock climbing and repelling were reported as fun, no one chose hiking, and the cycling was hot and tiring. However, the cycling had the climax of having giraffes and zebras running alongside at about 10 feet distance. That is pretty cool!
I went on a long hike this week. I am not a runner. I have been a cycler in the past. Currently I am a walker. Few exercises are more enjoyable than a long walk with a good podcast or book. This one was long . . . almost 8 miles and 1500 feet in elevation gain. You can see small out and back spurs from the main road when I followed untravelled trails that ended up being dead ends. The best part was an “Africa” moment. As I crossed a creek my older dog went running and barking around a bend. I came around the corner and saw what I suspected I might see. On the small cliffs and trees over the creek were a troop of baboons. It looked like a what a zoo might create in the baboon cage mimicking an African setting. A small river with cliffs and trees and baboons. It was a little far for a good iPhone picture, but take my word for it that it was awesome.
Possibly some people wonder what a weekend in Kijabe is like. It is similar in to a weekend in the US, except that it is more relaxed. There are no organized sports or activities, no restaurants to eat at, and everyone we would want to see is within walking distance. If I am not on call, I will go in on Saturday morning and round on the week’s patients. Afterward, I turn my patients over to the on call physician for the weekend and I am free (sort of – it is hard to completely disengage from the hospital). The kids usually have school activities, but those have decreased significantly because of COVID precautions . . . which is a real bummer as we all agree. However most Friday and Saturday nights they have class activities up at school. If we have an occasion to go to Nairobi, we will make the hour drive to do grocery shopping or eat a nice meal. Pre-covid, we might go into the city to see a movie or go bowling. Sometimes we can go camping in one of the nearby national parks or we go to the lake that is an hour away to go sailing. If we stay in Kijabe (usually) we may build a fire in the pizza oven and have friends over for pizza as the sun sets. I go on long hikes in the forest and give the dogs a chance to run and chase monkeys. I work in the yard, Allison cooks something fun in the kitchen, I clean the storage container (a never ending process), and other odd jobs around the house are completed. Often we have friends over for coffee on the porch or we go to their place for the same. It really is a good life. So what should we do this weekend? We’ll figure out something.