Allison is away, so we went on a hike. These hikes can take my kids through many emotions ranging from joy on seeing a giraffe looking at us over the trees while zebras and gazelles graze in the open, to extreme anger on why Dad took us on this stupid hike. We did Mt. Longonot, and it was a joy. Five hours up and down with great views, wildlife, a huge crater, and the development of character. Here are some pictures on which you can click for some narration.
We are glad to have some musical opportunities for our kids at Rift Valley Academy. Yesterday was the first term piano recital. We are thankful for the volunteer instructors (we actually pay a little bit) who are made up of students and teachers at RVA. They give some of their free time to teach these young students about music. They share their gifts with their younger classmates. That is a blessing!
You will remember that a big part of what we are doing in Kenya is working with a boarding school called Rift Valley Academy. Allison is a teacher at the school and our kids attend classes in its hallowed halls. The school serves missionary kids from all over Africa. We love these kids, and we want the best for them as they spend so many years away from their parents who serve God in some of the hardest places to work in the world. Last weekend was field day, and I was glad to be able to go and watch the kids have a load of fun with their classmates and teachers! Click on the pictures below for more details. I especially like the last two pictures of the tug of war between the students and teachers.
Thank you to God that school is starting and that our kids can continue in their education at Rift Valley Academy. They have moved around a lot, and they have been blessed to go to some great schools such as Scofield Christian School and Dallas Lutheran School in Dallas, Texas as well as Colegio Diospi Suyana in Curahuasi, Peru. We are hoping and praying for more great opportunities for learning here in Kijabe, Kenya. Also Allison starts here first day teaching 9th grade English!
Please pray for the students and families of Rift Valley Academy this weekend. Today was the new student and parent orientation and tomorrow is called “Arrival Day,” which means that the dorms will be filling up with our boarding students for the next school year. It also means lots of goodbyes, as parents drop off their kids and go back to the countries where they serve.
We are part of the new family group, so we’ve been at orientation also, getting tours of the school and learning about all the activities and programs the kids can be involved in. However, we got to walk down the gravel trail to our home with all four kids. Blessedly, at this time, all four kids have said that they are happy that they still live with us—ha!
I stood in my classroom for an hour this afternoon while new parents and students walked through their high school schedule. Ninth grade is a time when many families decide to make a change from homeschooling or local schooling to American schooling. RVA is their best option, even if means boarding their kids. I met so many wonderful parents who fell into three categories—totally chilled because this child is the second, third, or fourth in their family to start at RVA or happy for their kid and relieved not to be homeschooling anymore or nervous but making a peaceful truce with the situation. It was inspirational to hear about where they work and what they do. These people are spreading God’s love in some tough places. Please pray that I can be an excellent teacher to honor the trust they are placing in us. I can tell I’m really going to enjoy spending time with these kids.
The kids are finishing school again. This is the second time Annie is finishing 5th grade and Sarah is finishing 3rd. They completed those grades in Peru, but being in the southern hemisphere, the years were flipped with summer break starting in December. So we moved here and let them finish the years in the grades they had previously completed. The first month was hard, especially for the girls. But yesterday as we drove home, Annie said to me “I am really going to miss school! I liked learning new things and making new friends!” As Allison told me, it is a reminder that things, circumstances, and best of all, attitudes can change with time. Come on summer break. It will be the kids first one since February of 2016!
“This is going to be great,” Sarah exclaimed.
This was not going to be great. Dad was making us go on a four day hike that none of us wanted to go on, except of course, my little sister Sarah, who was very optimistic.
We climbed out of the van with the rest of the group and started carefully going down a very steep hill that lasted for, what felt like forever, when in reality was just the rest of the day. While we were sliding down the hill, the group separated because some people went slower and some people went quicker. My parents had walkie talkies to keep in touch with my brothers who were ahead of us. When we dragged into the campsite we were exhausted. My mom was in charge of cooking dinner that night. She prepared the best spaghetti I had ever eaten. After dinner we looked up at the brilliant stars. Mom and I climbed into our cozy tent and fell asleep right away.
During the night mom got sick with diarrhea. “I’ll be okay,” she said. “Don’t worry about it.”
But as we went down the hill mom had to make many stops behind a bush. Mom saw the walk ahead and felt dizzy. We were considering going home, but mom kept going. David and I went ahead with a young couple, David and Ari. I had known Ari since the day I got to Peru. She worked in the hospital with my Dad. She was very funny and had a unique personality. Then she married my peruvian teacher, David. Peter and Sarah were a group, and Dad and Mom were a group. Mom and Dad were way behind. Dad was being patient and waiting for Mom while Mom was doing her business. The hike was super steep and we hiked non-stop. There were no flat parts at all. It was a very eventful day. When mom and dad finally got to the campsite, we had already eaten.The campsite was super cool. It had lots of wind, it was extremely high up, and it had an awesome view. It was a lot better than the other campsite.
We ate at a typical Peruvian house. We paid them some money and they brought us some food. It was cool because we got to see what it was like to live in a Peruvian house. There were guinea pigs running across the floor, and dirt walls. After that I took an extremely cold shower but it felt good. We went to bed exhausted. But I didn’t sleep very well because in the next tent they were playing games and being very loud, but I woke the next day refreshed and ready to go.
We hiked the rest of the way to the Incan ruins. They were pretty cool but definitely not worth the hike. At least that’s what I thought. We ate our lunch there, a few granola bars and some fruit, and then started walking to the camp we stayed at the first day. It was miserable on the way down. I thought I broke my toe because it hurt so badly and I cried at one point. I rode a horse for about fifteen minutes and we were at the camp. Ari and David, that young couple me and David walked with the day before, were in charge of dinner. Basically we had raw rice and raw vegetables. They were not good cooks. I imagine they’ll get better at it. I mean they had only been married a couple months. When I went to use the restroom it was very disgusting. The toilets weren’t flushing so they were overflowing with brown and yellow. Mom went to go talk with the manager about the toilets. It took a while for them to fix it. We went to bed exasperated. That was definitely the hardest day yet.
For breakfast the next day we had granola bars, again. We were hiking up the hill that we went down the first day. Mom and Sarah were so worn out that they got on a horse together and were at the entrance in no time. David and Peter went ahead and so it was just Dad and me. I talked and talked all the way until we got to the entrance. Dad would be like “ I need to take a break Annie,” and I would say “Okay,” and we would stop. I wasn’t tired at all! I told dad about “The Ted Wars.” That was when I stole a stuffed animal named Ted from my brother David. He stole it back and then I stole it again and so on. I told him about my favorite part of the hike, about my friends, and practically everything I could think of! Right when we were walking up the final hill we saw two amazing condors soaring above us.
They were so close I felt as if I could touch them. It was an amazing experience. When we got to the entrance mom gave me some money to buy a snack. The car that was picking us up was very late. Something about peruvians you probably didn’t know is that peruvians are always very late. I ate my snack and talked to my teacher, David. When the car finally came I climbed in ready to get home. We all marveled at how we just did that long hike. I was glad to get home. But if someone invited me to go again, I would say yes.