It was a bit of a rough day in regards to mood in our house yesterday. I have been reading a little bit about exercise and mood enhancement, and the correlation is pretty strong that exercise is good for mental health. This is especially true in anxiety and depression. I would say those are the most common struggles of many of us, and especially those of us living in a different culture. I tend to be more optimistic if I find time to exercise, and I envy those who find it easy to do. I do not always want to exercise, much less do I find the time to do it. And this is despite knowing the positive effects. So with everyone a bit down yesterday, I decided we were going on a walk. We would go to the caves and then up to the railroad tracks. A few short steep uphill sections followed by a meandering downhill walk. We noted some clouds in the sky, but it seemed like there was more sun than clouds. The old Boy Scout in me recommended we take some jackets. It was good that we did, because just as we reached the cave, the rain came. We decided we would cross-country home, bush-wacking, avoiding steep drop-offs, spraining wrists, and ruining clothing. But we made it. And you can decide for yourself from the picture whether it had a positive affect.
Not many kids in the United States start school wearing sweaters and jackets. It is one of the weird parts of living in the southern hemisphere at 7000 feet elevation. All of the kids attend Rift Valley Academy, participating in different activities including rugby, band, art, and Model United Nations to name a few. RVA is a boarding school, but our kids live with us and walk up to the school every day. They are glad they get to go home and are not burdened by the “rules” of boarding school life. We are glad they are home, too, but can still enjoy the social life offered at school.
Will continues to be busy in the hospital. For the last 6 months he has been serving primarily on the obstetrics service with occasional shifts in the emergency department. Working in obstetrics means lots of nights on call with runs to the hospital for whatever emergency has recently arrived. It can be tiring, so pray that he will have the energy he needs for each day. A bigger part of Will’s job is Christian medical education. The hospital is full of young doctors, clinical officers, and nurses who come to Kijabe Mission Hospital for medical training. Each day Will is involved in teaching these young doctors through mentoring and training in the wards as well as in didactic medical lectures. The hope is that these doctors will go throughout Kenya and East Africa, practicing excellent medicine as well as sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Allison is working hard at Rift Valley Academy. This a completely volunteer position for which she is not paid. In fact, none of the teachers at RVA are paid. They are all missionary teachers working to support the work of the school, and they are supported by generous people and churches in their home countries. This year Allison is teaching Spanish 3 and Spanish 4 after spending the last year teaching 9th grade English. She is also serving as the head of the World Languages Department . Both she and Will enjoy serving as 10th grade class sponsors– that’s David’s class. She is busy, but she is also thriving as she loves her students and she loves her subject matter. She feels grateful for important work too, as RVA provides a way for families to serve in some of the most difficult and remote places in Africa without sacrificing their children’s educational needs. You can see some of the cool things going on at school by following Rift Valley Academy’s Facebook page or Instagram page.
I am still working in obstetrics. I did not expect it to be such a big part of my job when I moved to Kijabe. I have a love-hate relationship with delivering babies. When it is going well, it is fun and joyful. When it goes bad, it is probably the worst thing in medicine. And then there are times when things threaten to go bad, but because we are there as physicians and healthcare workers things go well. Of course, that is very satisfying. Probably the best part is holding babies after they are delivered. I should take advantage of the opportunity more often. I pray all the time when things get a little scary in the hospital. I trust God to help me make timely and wise decisions. And then I use the knowledge and experience that he has given me to do the very best I can. God is good, and I have learned a lot.