Saturday, May 19, 2007

We did it! After weeks of planning and stress (for me, not them), West Nairobi School's 6th grade class finally climbed Mt. Longonot. After studying volcanoes, it was great to climb one. This one happens to have a huge crater in the middle because its top blew a while ago. We left school Friday morning (May 18th) in the pouring rain. We just kept praying that it wouldn't rain while we were hiking, and it didn't! It was cloudy the whole time, but that made for ideal hiking conditions. No one got too hot, so we were quite thankful for the cool weather. After the hike, we went back to school for a sleepover. We had a water balloon fight (I think I still have welts on my back from the boys throwing at point blank), ate pizza, had a campfire, made smores, and then slept as much as we could in our big chapel room. It was a lot of fun, and now I am quite tired. Here are some pictures that I hope you will enjoy.

This is my class at the bottom of the mountain before we started climbing.
Jack and Caleb were my faithful hiking buddies. They stayed with me the whole time. Of the steep parts, Caleb said, "I am happy and terrified all at the same time."

Naomi and some others taking a rest
Of 26 kids, 16 made it to the very top, and this is not an easy climb! I am so proud of them. Notice how many girls made it!

Some of the most beautiful smiles in Kenya

the class and me

Jack and Alec are enjoying the amazing view from the top. Well, as much of it as they can see through the fog.

Harriet, David, and Jack

Amy and Priscilla were a little tired. I don't know if they'd be happy knowing I put this picture on the internet for the whole world to see...

Michael and Wendy Burner have a daughter, Julia, in my class. Without their help and presence, this trip wouldn't have been possible. They helped me out so much!

J.T., Meitamei, and Teddy are ready to go home.

The boys are back at the school, playing basketball.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Some of you have been asking, and the answer is yes, I will be setting foot on American soil this summer. I will fly into Seattle on June 4th at exactly 2:15 P.M. I will spend a few weeks in Oregon, then I will be up in Alaska from June 22nd until July 10th. Then I will be back down in Oregon again until the beginning of August. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

I apologize for being so long in the writing. I have been waiting for life to slow down a little, and it hasn’t yet. So I may as well stop waiting. The week flew by this week with the entire school doing standardized testing. The students are glad it is over, though I enjoyed having a little extra time to grade papers and things.

About a year ago, before I came to this school, one of the 5th grade students died in an accident at home. His name was Ben Mosby, and he was quite influential in the lives of my students. I talked with his mother and some of the other parents from my classroom to see what we could do to honor Ben’s life. He would have been in my class, after all. We decided that we would plant three trees in his honor. Those who knew him wrote about what they remembered about Ben. I never knew him, but as I read what they wrote, I started to cry. One boy in my class talked about how Ben was more than just a friend, he was a brother. It was really beautiful to read all the things they had to say about Ben. And I pray that the trees will flourish in their new soil.

Right now I am in the process of getting approved to take my class on a field trip to Mt. Longonott, which is a volcano. We studied volcanoes in science, and I thought this would be a great opportunity for them to hike. Unfortunately, it has been quite a headache to get all the logistics in order. We want to camp there over night, but it has all turned into a huge ordeal, too many hoops to jump through. Please pray that something would work out and that I would stop being stressed about it. I have an amazing “room mom” who has helped me out in more ways than I can count. I am so thankful for that.