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A Postcard from Kenya

A dorm parent at Rift Valley Academy on coping with the ongoing violence.

Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school and branch of Africa Inland Mission International, has been educating missionary kids for more than a century. There are about 450 students at the school. Because of its location at the end of the Rift Valley, only about 30 miles from Nairobi, concerns about security, safe travel, and supplies in Kenya's post-election turmoil caused RVA to stay closed until a couple weeks ago.

As soon as I heard the cheers and car horns, I knew we could be in for some trouble in Kenya. The noise was coming from an area just below our apartment, outside the fence that surrounds the campus of Rift Valley Academy, the mission boarding school where my wife and I serve as dorm parents.

In our predominantly Kikuyu community, it was easy to guess the explanation for this kind of celebration. I clicked on the TV. Sure enough, after an agonizing three-day delay, Mwai Kibaki — a Kikuyu — had just been declared the winner of Kenya's presidential election.

People in our community were delighted, but reports of violence and protest in other parts of the country began to emerge within hours. Supporters of the primary opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, felt cheated. Throughout the early vote counting, their man had been leading, but as the later results came in, his lead had diminished and eventually disappeared. Claims of rigging spread quickly, and certain disaffected elements within the population began to take advantage of the unstable situation. Our beloved Kenya, normally a bastion of stability on a troubled continent, was sliding into turmoil.

As Rift Valley Academy was scheduled to begin a new term within days, the school was suddenly faced with tough questions: Do we ask families to bring their children ...

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