Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year from Kijabe

We are back at Kijabe on the campus of Rift Valley Academy ... my high school.  The last couple of days Doug and Lisa have had meetings preparing for the start of school on Monday.  We took the opportunity to meet friends from our school days who are working here also.  It was exciting to meet up with David and Jeanie Morse and hear about the work they are doing.  David teaches at the seminary here but they have other opportunities they pursue also.  It was great to catch up with them and their children while we were here.  Jeanie went to high school with me and than became good friends with Jan in college and we have continued to be a part of their lives over the years.

Acacia trees overlooking the campus
We have enjoyed attending parties here with Doug and Lisa as it is the time of year for getting together for fellowship over the Christmas and New Years.  Last night we went to someone house and had a good time meeting people.  There were likely over close to 100 people there.  I got to chat for awhile with a high school class mate of mine who I became closer to in college.

Eileen, Kim and Amanda got to China with no delays but when they arrived, their luggage did not arrive with them.  The luggage did arrive late yesterday so they were glad for that.  They have definitely had a trip to remember and we hope they have experienced enough delays and lost luggage to account for our whole trip so we do not have to concern ourselves with it.

Being at Kijabe brings back a lot of memories.  It seems like a lifetime ago and so much has changed but much is the same.  The Kiambogo (one of the original building here with the cornerstone laid by Teddie Roosevelt) is still here but is used for purposes other than classrooms and the library.  The dormitories and dinning hall have been torn down and new ones built.  But the beauty and views from this campus can not be described.

Being in school here for 6 years the beauty was here but  after awhile it becomes such a regular part of your life that you overlook it.  The last few weeks I have been taking it in a lot.  Taking time to look over the Rift Valley where the view is over 100 miles on a clear day with three mountains spotted in the valley is awesome.  The beauty of the flowers that grow here and are in bloom this time of year.  To look up the hill and see it full of trees knowing there are animals and birds throughout, remembering my years of hiking through these hills just for the fun of it.  Knowing in 2 days about 500 kids will be starting school here, most of them are MK's who will receive an excellent education from loving adults who treat them as their own.  My experience here was the same and almost all of my memories are positive growing up and living with the roughly 50 kids who made up my high school class and are now themselves scattered around the United States and the world.

The campus is on the side of a hill.  Everywhere you go is either up or down hill.  That could be said of the other places we have been but there elevation here causes you to pause and catch your breath.  This brings back memories of sports practices and coaches who would take advantage of the hills to ensure their athletes were in top shape ... at least that is what they told us even though we wondered at the time whether they just had sadistic tendencies at times.
View From Kiambogo porch
The last few days the wind has been blowing with gusts at fairly high speeds.  You can hear the wind through the tress all day and night and the trees wave back and forth.  We don't know the wind speed but hearing the wind through the trees it sounds like a loud surf or a strong wind storm.  At home it would be accompanied by a rain storm.  Our best guess is wind gusts are up to 30 - 40 mph.  In Columbia we would expect there to be pine trees blown over with these type of gusts but the trees here have grown up in this environment and just sway back and forth seeming to enjoy the wind.

Flowers at Kijabe
On Friday we went shopping with Doug and Lisa at a mall with a Nakumat (Kenya's version of Walmart) and stocked up on food and then went through several of the stores.  They have a lot of nice stores and one Jan has enjoyed is Kazuri Beads.  (The first day here we went to the factory to see the ladies make the beads and jewelry.)  The colors are brilliant and they make some very nice jewelry.  We also ate lunch at the food court with each stall being a food from a different country.  The mall has a bowling alley, movie theatre and food court.

Today we went to the community day put on by the local fellowship similar to a fellowship picnic.  They met on the school rugby field and had activities for all ages including soccer, track events and there were snacks for all.  It was a beautiful day for it and it was fun to watch everyone enjoying themselves.  When we arrived there were probably 50 kids playing soccer on the field and just having fun.  There did not seem to be a concern as to how many times you touched the ball but everyone was having fun just running around and enjoying the day.

A link to the Kenya and Turkey pictures has been added to the site and you can see additional pictures not necessarily shown in the blog.

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