Kijabe Update

Hi Friends,


After sending out out my update last week, I was so encouraged by the kind notes I received about the new format for my newsletter and the prayers and words of encouragement about what’s going on in Kenya. Thank you! It’s only been a week but there’s so much that’s happened, that I just wanted to reach out with a Kijabe update. Sending so much love, Tori

Looking Out

A quick look at what’s happening all  around me.

In my last update, I shared about the torrential rain, mudslides and flooding we’ve experienced in Kenya. The news from Maai Mahiu, just down the hill from RVA’s campus, is devastating. Homes have been completely washed away by the mud and many have lost their lives. The railroad embarkment on the other side of old Kijabe railroad has collapsed. Another railroad embankment about 2km from RVA has also been breached.

A few communities have been completely cut off due to the area washing away. Some of the local schools have experienced devastating mudslides and a children’s home has been destroyed. Unfortunately, water continues to flow and there has been erosion and mudslides.

Thankfully we’ve had a relatively dry last few days and this has really helped stabilize things in our area. Local authorities are actively pumping water out of where it is pooling. While a few RVA staff families on the outskirts were temporarily evacuated, they have all returned home. Two of our three gates are closed due to damage. A mudslide threatened to take out the other gate one night, but staff and students spent hours removing the mud and clearing the gate. RVA has engaged an Engineering Corporation to come and do a thorough risk analysis on the entire hillside above RVA and the main road. Multiple members of the government have been here in recent days to assess the situation and they have assured us that the government will be intimately involved in recovery efforts.

Looking Back

Photo reflections on things that have happened recently.

One of the most beautiful part of this community is seeing how they come together to help others and be a blessing when there is a crisis. Our students truly have the biggest, most compassionate and caring hearts!

Students have created cards and a prayer wall, gathered clothes/hygiene products, played with children from the children’s home which has been impacted, and volunteered around campus.

Many Kenyan staff have been prohibited from coming to campus due to roads being washed out. Students have volunteered in the cafeteria, helped with cleaning duties, and joined the efforts in shovelling out the mud from the front gate of the school.

Staff and students have also participated in fundraising efforts by hosting a Coffee House and Bake Sale, a pottery sale, and gathering material goods for our neighbours. Honestly, it brings tears to my eyes to see moments of joy, generosity and kindness in the middle of such heartbreak.

*On a side note: I’ve shared a TON of photos - hope that’s okay. I just am so blown away by the students and their collective efforts.

Looking Down

As a child safety officer, I’ll be sharing insights into my day-to-day, reflecting on where I am right now and what I’m doing in this section.

This term I’ve been focusing on training some more staff to join our Response Team. Our Response Team is designed for child safety team members to assist when abuse/bullying/inappropriate technology use child safety concerns come forward. I’m so thankful for the staff who are willing to give their time to learn how to interview students, provide support and develop care plans.

“I also wanted to let you know that I appreciate the job that you did in creating the training. In-service training videos have the potential to be dry and hard to get through, but your videos were engaging, easy to digest, and thorough. Thank you. Even that simple effort plays a big role in keeping kids safe because I’m sure it is more fully digested by more of the staff than a monotone reading of slides would be. You make a difference!” - Staff Member

“I’d like to thank you for the time and effort you put into sharing your knowledge and passion with staff at our recent ProGrow Day.  I found it so helpful and heard the same from several others!!” - Staff Member

Looking In

How I am doing personally - what’s going on in my heart and how I’m feeling.

This past week I celebrated my 35th birthday. I’m so thankful for my family and friends who made me feel special, loved and cared about. I’m feeling thankful and blessed. Thank you everyone who wrote me a kind note - it was so encouraging.

Looking Up

Last, but certainly not least, we’re turning our eyes to the Lord. I’ll share some prayer requests that we can together lift up to the Lord.

Natural Disaster: Please pray for those who have lost their homes and people they love. We continue to look to our Father for His love and comfort in this grief.

Drama Performance: The past term and a half I’ve been helping co-direct the high school play “Lizzy, Darcy, and Jane.”  This weekend the students will perform for their parents, peers and the staff on campus. Please pray that students will perform for an audience of one.

Back Pain: Please pray for continued pain relief for my back. Its felt a little bit better this past week but pray that it continues to heal.  

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