We have just finished the second term here at RVA. A very busy and full term. Those two words, busy and full, seem to get used a lot when we get to the end of terms. It is hard to even qualify them into just how we feel The best way to describe it is that we are literally staggering across the finish line of a marathon. It is not one of those ordinary marathons though it is more like the ultramarathon of hundred of kilometers. We feel like we do one of those every three months. So we thought that in keeping with the theme of a sports writer and, considering that the NHL playoffs are in full swing, here are some thoughts about the past three months and what we have done.
1. Field hockey is a game that requires stamina, focus, and the ability to hit a ball with a short stick that has an impossibly small “blade”. Kylie’s team this year was not as talented as past years but made up of girls who worked hard and put their noses to the grind stone. Their gritty play lead them to being third in the league which was a pretty good accomplishment in a place where field hockey here at many of the schools is like ice hockey in Canada.
2. Hard not to boast after watching Cassidy play this year but she is going to be one of the better players in the next couple of years. She has very good ball control, an incredible reverse stick hit, and very good field awareness. We think it is because of genetics but probably due more to the fact that she has grown up with a stick in her hand since she was little.
3. Cassidy made the JV team this year as an eighth grader. Her sights are set on Varsity next year as a ninth grader. Can’t let it get to her head just yet. The unfortunate thing is that we as coaches have seen that making varsity as a ninth grader sets up this “already arrived” mentality and the student athletes do not work at getting better. Have to keep getting her out with a ball and stick.
4. As far as sports go Todd was not able to drive bus this past term. Turned out that the Kenyan government decided to enforce a law that stated that you cannot drive a bus without a second endorsement in the license. The ironic thing though is that in order to get the second endorsement all he had to do was pay a certain amount and he could drive a vehicle with any number of passengers. Wait a minute, something smells fishy…
5. To add more twist to the situation people who had their bus endorsement in the their license could not drive a bus with passengers until they had the endorsement for four years. Try to figure that one out. Todd has had his license for over four years now and with the stamping of the second endorsement (he did end up paying after a short protest) he was able to resume driving the big buses again.
6. One more bus driving thought. Police were enforcing an obscure and totally random law that buses could not be driven after 6:30 pm (after sunset here in our part of the world). This made our extracurricular sports program with other schools go crazy as many times we are not arriving back before then. After much deliberation with the police we found out that the law does not apply to school vehicles. Ha, ha, funny police.
7. The Junior/Senior Banquet theme was Alice in Wonderland. The junior class is filled with very talented students who act, sing, and play instruments very well. It was a great night and we had a lot of fun. The best part of it all however was not being in charge of it and not having to set up in the months and weeks ahead and take down all of the paraphernalia afterward.
8. Second term marked the end of the large responsibilities of the senior class to organize and run a “store” during tournaments and large school events. This is a good opportunity for work experience and we saw some good things happening. However, there are a good number of students who will be graduating from here and be totally shocked once they get a job. Predicting that over half will be fired for some reason or another in the next year.
9. Second term also marks the count down for the seniors to graduation. Graduation is July 17 this year which is still a few months away. Many seniors though suffer with what we affectionately call “senioritis”. This is something that happens with all seniors all around the world but in a boarding school environment this can be an especially difficult thing to struggle through.
10. Students here go through many transitions in their lives. We are very aware of this as a school and invest a lot of time and energy into preparing students to transition well. The senior students who are about to leave home and return to their “home culture” face the especially daunting task of moving to a place that others think should be their home but it really is the furthest thing from it. Kylie and Todd do a lot in this area presenting seminars and in class units to help pave the way. Not all of the students are open to what is presented but the overwhelming response from alumni is that they go through exactly what we are preparing them for. Good to know that we are involved in impacting their lives.
11. Story from a week long school field trip. As a school we send groups of students out all over the place for a one week interim trip where they learn about a host of different things. One group went to a bird sanctuary for the week. A lady was there probably anticipating a very quiet week of bird watching when a van load of teenagers pulls up. Imagine the dread that she had thinking that her tranquil week of bird watching was gone out the window. However, at around the fifth or sixth day she came up to the group and told them that after observing them those days they were a very special group of kids and that she had hope in the next generation. Huge to hear those props. That is really why we are here working with these kids. We have hope in the next generation and want to shape lives to change the world.
12. Todd was able to lead an interim trip riding piki’s (dirtbikes) with four students, another staff member, and a support vehicle. Interim always lands during the time of his birthday so this year was a pretty big milestone (40th) and he was able to go on this trip. The trip went from RVA to stops at several mission stations and then out to Lake Victoria. What a dream trip to do on motorbikes and an amazing memory. Kind of one of those manly things to do and write home about. See the movie here:
Piki Interim from Todd Dubber on Vimeo.
13. Reminded during this trip that you have to get out and see different things. There were people and places that we would have never seen or talked to. A couple of objectives of the trip is to learn about current contemporary African issues and to participate in a service project. There are so many issues facing people who live in this part of the world. Many times it left him wondering what it would take to thrust people out of the seemingly never ending cycle of poverty and corruption. As for our service project the group built a small dam to help provide a drink hole for animals that the Maasai people herd. Will be posting a video of the trip in the next few weeks.
14. Also were reminded that Kenya is a relatively young country at only fifty years since independence from Britain. Kind of got to thinking that this is what it might have been like in Canada for the first while after independence. Things kind of cough and sputter along with no real direction until things are finally at a place where the infrastructure is good and the dream catches. Corruption is still rampant here and until that settles down things will be taking two steps back for every one step forward.
15. Titus has been doing well in school. He looks forward to the breaks though when he can ride around on his 50cc two stroke KTM piki (motorbike). We took our first adventure to a sand pit where there are big piles of sand. Second time around he is a little more confident and goes flying off of the biggest jump. Looked impressive until he landed and ultimately wiped out on the finish. Idea noted and lesson learned… pikis do not have wings and you have to stay on when you get back to earth otherwise it hurts. No broken bones fortunately.
16. Ella would be riding a motorbike if she could. Still working on riding a bicycle though. This is a tough place to do that as there are really no smooth places to do that other than the playing courts. She does love to ride with dad though on the piki and will be a very accomplished rider, once she starts. Health wise she is doing very well and we are glad to have no concerns with her health for quite a long time now.
17. Volleyball is starting up in a couple of weeks. Just got a look at the schedule and it is crazy. The other international schools are still in session and end by the middle of June. We are just starting back up at the beginning of May so that means that we have to fit two games against each school in three weeks. Wow, Todd is hoping that his players are doing some workouts and not just sitting around.
18. The last several years Todd has challenged his volleyball teams to cut drinking soda and eating candy out of their diets during season. This year with our first game three days after we get back he challenged them before the break. That was like asking them to stop breathing for a whole month. He takes the challenge, hopefully with them, and so far he has been doing well. Amazing how many times we unconsciously reach for those types of things. He is hoping that they see the difference when they get back and that they will all be jumping the lights out.
19. If you made it this far you are amazing. This is the time that we need to think ahead to a year from now. That will be when we are returning to Canada. That will also mean that RVA will be needing a P.E. teacher to cover for Todd. So… If you have ever thought about, or even considering now about, teaching at an international school and you are a teacher/P.E. teacher then this is a great opportunity for a year. We might be able to throw in a furnished house as well for you to use (no promises right now as we are not in control of that but the possibility is there). Now is the time to start on the process. Let us know and we can help you with what needs to be done through AIM (Africa Inland Mission).
20. We just finished with the ICEC (International Christian Educators Conference) and had a very good time of professional development. This is held here every three years and we have teachers who come from a long ways away to attend. We get to meet with other teachers in our same fields and we are always amazed at how other schools operate. One in particular is the Mercy ships. They are currently docked in the Congo and they run a school on board for about fifty children. The P.E. program always fascinates Todd as there is not a lot of room on a ship to do things. Yet they play ultimate, flag football, softball, and other amazing things on the deck. As the teacher said, “We have nets up to stop the balls, but every so often they just go up and over and we have to get a new one”. OK, enough said.
Hope that all is going well in your lives. We continue to pray for you as you go about your daily lives. We are saddened to hear about events that happen in Canada and other places. These just continue to show that we are in need of a Saviour. May we all be reminded of what God has done for us during the season of Easter. Redemption, reconciliation, and resurrection are all available to us – we just need to put our trust and faith in Him.