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.
Goodbye Rift Valley Academy Buffalos! Come on Abilene Christian University Wildcats!! David managed to graduate well, avoiding too many demerits while being in National Honor Society and winning the award for the best Senior student in the Social Studies department which he demonstrated by being a part of the African Model United Nations, taking multiple AP history classes, and being enrolled in the most Social Studies classes of any student in his class. He was proud to have his first term late night boxing match (RVA legend making) mentioned by the school’s graduation speaker from the podium. Last week he went on his “Senior Safo” to the beach, and last night we ended the day with a small graduation party at our house.Today we will take him to his favorite restaurant in Nairobi right after we get our preflight COVID tests done. We are looking forward to his next steps at ACU? Do we have a future businessman, politician, or lawyer? Could we hope for a university professor? The next four years (maybe more) will sort it out!
It has been a weird four years. Moving to Kenya as a freshman and then all the losses COVID caused. David heads out on his Senior trip tomorrow. We are super happy for him! He graduates next Saturday. Hopefully we will have a trip to the our favorite restaurant in Nairobi to celebrate the following day, and then back to Dallas. The group in the picture above were the core of his friends. Not all of them made it through all four years as their families moved home or away, but they flew back this summer after they finished school in the US to have one last hurrah in Kijabe! I am thankful for each of them. We had barely arrived in Kenya in 2017, and on our first full day in town this group walked by the house and invited David to go up the hill with them for a bonfire. That was the beginning and they have been good friends since. God has been good to David with these loyal friends. Now we look forward to how God gives him friends at ACU!
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!
Every year the sophomores put on a dinner for staff and upper class students. Last year it did not occur. This year it looked different, as it had to be outside. Instead of serving tables, they delivered dinners to homes and a few brave souls ate outside the main administration building. We were one of them. This time of year in Kijabe it gets cool at night. So the students sat down on the outdoor basketball court around chimineas. We sat on the porch and shivered. We enjoyed watching the students try and make a go of it under tough circumstances, while we wondered why we were sitting in the cold instead of having it delivered to our house. The food was pretty good too.
Making the basketball court look good. Allison and I sat up on the porch . . . a long way from the warm chimineas!
Today, after multiple attempts, Allison and the kids flew out to Dallas toward Nairobi. Allison received her tourist visa this morning, and so we got up early and had the tickets changed and put everyone but me on a plane today at 3PM. I am so glad for them. It allows them to avoid sitting in a 2 week quarantine in Kijabe before they could attend school in person. So tomorrow around noon our time in Dallas, Allison and the kids should be landing in Nairobi. Yeah!