During the eighth grade year at RVA, the students take a trip to Mt. Suswa. Mt. Suswa is a volcano located a few hours from Kijabe. It is a fun drive in the Landcruiser, crossing rivers and traversing boulders to get to the campsite. There you set up your tent on the edge of the crater. It is a great view. The kids enjoy time in the outdoors, exploring the lava flow caves, talking on the cliff’s edge, and sleeping under the stars (or tents if they choose). Sarah slept outside and woke to see a jackal roaming around the campsite just a few feet from her sleeping bag. The next morning a couple young Masai men accompanied us on a hike up to the peak of the mountain. A fun weekend out in the wilds of Kenya.
Heading out from RVA
Camping on the cliff edge
The hightest point on the horizon is the summit destination. This is a good example of the two craters of the volcano. An inner crater to the left surround by the outer crater on the right and on which we are camped.
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!
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.