your seven year old daughter has developed a crazy fear of fruit bats.
Recently Ella heard that fruit bats have been associated with the Ebola virus. Her older brother and sister came home the other night all excited because they had seen a whole bunch of bats. This was not good news for Ella and we have been dealing with nightmares and Ella running around the house closing windows ever since.
First of all we want to assure you that there are no cases of Ebola in Kenya. We are keeping up to date with developments and the school is following a contingency plan. Kenya is a major travel hub and we pray that things will not progress further.
It is interesting what concerns us when we live in Africa and…so much is going on in Africa right now. We have many parents of our students in difficult places. This is real life for us as families are evacuated from the countries they live in or the people dying from the Ebola virus are not just numbers but actual people that they know and care about.
you are asked to help oversee a children’s home.
Several years ago Kylie’s parents along with another missionary couple started a children’s home. It has been overseen by a wonderful Kenyan couple since it was begun. We were recently asked to be the liaisons between those funding the home in Canada and the home itself. We have agreed and are looking forward to getting out there and seeing some of the new projects they have been working on such as a biogas project. We are also looking forward to visiting more often and getting to know the children living there as well as David and Peninah who are running the home.
you are asked to be the counseling liaison to the administration.
Kylie was recently asked to be the counseling liaison to the administration. This means being up to date with what is happening with all of our students who make use of the counseling department and reporting to the superintendent when necessary. It also means making tough decisions and communicating with parents when a student is not doing well. Our students are normal in that they are teenagers going through life dealing with growing up. Our students are also unique in their international upbringing, continual changes & transitions, and often times difficult places that they call home. Add to that a mix of families from 20+ different cultural backgrounds and it makes for a very unique setting. It has been a privilege to work with these families and their children through tough times.
you are asked to teach Canadian Studies at an American school.
In our very multicultural setting we are blessed to have at least a few Canadian students attending RVA. Every other year Todd has the opportunity to step out of P.E. for one class period and use his training as a social studies teacher to teach these amazing Canadian kids. It is always fun for him to have the opportunity to talk about all things Canadian and not get a blank stare back – they actually know what he is talking about. These students love the opportunity to study and learn about Canada when the rest of their curriculum is American. We look forward to celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving and Canada Day through out the year with them.
you find out that your son has allergies.
We have known for a while that Titus may have some issues with allergies. Just recently we were thankful to learn that there is a doctor in Nairobi that does allergy testing. We learned that he is allergic to beef, milk, and nuts. It is already a bit challenging cooking in Kenya but now we really have to adjust things. Thankfully there are more and more specialty items being stocked in stores here all the time and it is always exciting to see what we can find but not always exciting to see how much it costs. The best part in all of this is how much better Titus is feeling now that we have eliminated them from his diet.
your daughter enters high school.
Cassidy is officially in high school! It is a whole new world. We have been working through the joys – new freedoms, a bigger class with lots of new friends; and working through the sorrows – more homework and being cut from the basketball team. We are so proud of this amazing girl and how she reaches out to others and works so hard. Pray that we will be wise parents to help guide her through the next several years. We are looking forward to what God has in store for her.
you know you are leaving everything behind here in Kenya to return to Canada for a year.
We have one more school year at RVA and will be returning to Canada in July 2015 for a one year home assignment. With furlough on the horizon we are thinking about so many things. The practical things are where we will live, what we will drive, what we will do, and how we can transition our children from the American education system to the Canadian education system.
On a less practical but even more real side we are thinking about how much more difficult it is becoming to stay connected with friends and family in Canada the longer we are here. We are thinking about how much we need a rest and some spiritual input and encouragement. We are thinking about how we can encourage you all and how we can connect our children to Canada. We are looking forward to seeing you all soon!
you have an amazing employee who becomes ill.
For the past three years Attah Wambui has been Kylie’s right hand women and has really enabled Kylie to take on the role of dean of women and administrator at RVA. Attah does so much to support us and recently she became ill with an ongoing health issue. Together with her family we were able to put together the money that she needed to have surgery. For the last several months she has been recovering and we are very excited that she will be joining us again soon.
your Kenyan ShoSho (grandma) has begun to build a new home.
Since Kylie’s family arrived in Kenya in 1988 they have had a special friendship with one family in particular. Samson, Mary and their children have been such a blessing to us all and have helped us to understand Kenya and Kenyan culture better as they answer all of our questions. Samson has been ill for a long time. They have been living up in the high hills where it can be very cold, damp, and difficult on his health. They have begun to build a new home on the Great Rift Valley floor where it is much warmer and a better climate. We have been helping their son oversee the project and we have been learning a lot about Kenyan construction and building costs. It is very different than building in Canada and has been a good experience for us.
your moms say that they are coming.
Since the Stenstroms were on staff here we knew that they would be interested in coming back for a visit. However, when we found out that Todd’s mom was wanting to come and that Kylie’s mom would travel with her we were totally surprised and excited. After being here for thirteen years we were not sure if we were going to see her here. But after getting up the nerve and finding someone to travel with she came. There have been many new sights and fun adventures. We have been trying our best to get her to see what makes this place so special for us.
you are asked to participate in a TukTuk rally.
Above our school on the escarpment is one of the last big forests left in Kenya. Conservation of forests in Kenya has become a big issue as trees are cut down every day to make charcoal for cooking. These trees are rarely ever replanted and now the country is experiencing environmental issues. One organization that has recently been formed is called the “Kijabe Forest Trust”. They have been working on educating people and providing trees for replanting. They are also doing fun fundraisers here in Kenya to help raise awareness and to pay for trees and forest guards.
We have recently been asked to participate in one of these creative and fun awareness projects. This one is a TukTuk rally. What is a TukTuk? It is a small motorized vehicle with three wheels and a 395cc engine used to transport people around cities and towns in Kenya. Crazy we know…but right now we are looking to buy a used TukTuk that we can fix up, use in the rally, and then hopefully resell afterward. Any financial contributors out there who want to participate in this fun project? The entry fee is $2,500 which we are looking for sponsors from individuals or even companies. All of the money goes to the Kijabe Forest Trust. We are so thrilled that this community is stepping up to do something about an important issue in their country!
you have to say “good bye”.
In July we saw the Class of 2014 graduate from RVA. This class was particularly special to us as we had many of the girls in our dorm, mentored many of them, had them in our home regularly, and participated with the class in many of their projects and fun times together. We were able to go with them on their final senior trip to the coast of Kenya and attended their graduation to see them all off on the next stage of their lives. They have literally gone all over the world and it has been fun to hear about their adventures and to see them starting university or commenting on the things they have been learning or funny cultural mistakes they have made. We have come to love and care for these students so much! They and their families have become very precious to our us and our family and that is exactly what we love about being here. We feel so blessed to be at RVA and to enable these families to serve in difficult and unreached places. It is a privilege to come to know and love them all.
Thanks for reading to the end of this update. There are just so many things happening in our lives. If you want to read past blogs be sure to visit our website to get caught up. If you have any “What would you say” experiences please let us know.
Blessings from the Dubbers