Cultural Breakthrough

At times, it has been hilarious to try and figure out the minds of growing teenage boys.  Rest assured that the culture of teenagers is in and of itself a wonder.

Make no mistake, Bongo dorm is no exception.  It may be difficult to fully appreciate the pure genius birthed from the mind of a teen, but we thought it would better our (and your) world to share and enlighten you with the words of insight, wisdom and random thoughts of teenage boys.  We will do our best to provide context.  Also, enjoy the photos of dorm life with teenagers.

Teenager comment #1:
“With me in the room, you don’t need to stoke the fire.  It’s hot enough.”
Derek was about to stoke the fire.  Comment provided by one of the Bongo dorm boys.

(Roasting hot dogs)

Teenager comment #2:
“Stick me in front of a fan and call me an air freshener.”
I (Cheryl) had just commented how pleasant it was to smell shampoo rather than gym socks.  Comment provided by one of the Bongo dorm boys.

Teenager comment #3:
“I hope there is a lock down drill when I’m close to Kedong.”
A lock down drill requires all members on campus to head for cover.  Kedong is the girls’ dorm.  This is context enough.  Comment provided by one of the Bongo dorm boys.

(The boys wanted to bake biscuits)

Teenager comment #4:
“You’re like an artichoke.  Hard on the outside, but once you’re past the peel, you’re soft and tender.”
A small group of boys gathered on the couch attempting to poetically affirm all things manly while acknowledging the inner sensitive nature.  Comment provided by one of the Bongo dorm boys.

(In house security)

Teenager comment #5:
“Can I still do streaks?”
Ok, in our home culture “streak” is not something we aspire to.  When Derek stopped laughing, he found out that “streaks” was, in fact, a point/scoring system for posting on a Social Media app.   Comment provided by one of the Bongo dorm boys.

Adult comment #1:
“There are so many random socks lying around, we could make a quilt.”
Derek owns this comment.  He had just completed room inspection.  Keepin’ it real.

(Checking out monkeys and birds)

Teenager comment #6:
“I’d rather make a shirt with my bare hands than pay for a new one.”
All students purchase gym clothes from the campus store.  Gym shirts were going missing like car keys and we mentioned what it cost to buy a new one.  Comment provided by one of the Bongo dorm boys.

(Showers are required before playing this game)

Teenager comment #7:
“If someone keeps poking me, and I punch him, is that considered bullying?”
We were outlining RVA’s bullying policy during a dorm meeting.  Boy ‘A’ was poking Boy ‘B’.  Boy ‘B’ became annoyed.  Comment provided by Boy ‘B’ of Bongo dorm.

There… now didn’t all of that just make your day???

Praise God for teenagers!!!!  Love ‘em!

Yes we do love them 🙂

Merry Christmas

It is almost Christmas and we have completed our first term at Rift Valley Academy.  Boarding students returned to their families at the end of November and with campus sporting a calmer, more quiet demeanour, we have deliberately sought rest, family time, and refreshment from the Lord before resuming class on January 3rd.

To appreciate some of the culture, we enjoyed our first African safari and just days ago, made a trip to a local tea farm.  While on safari, we hovered between reverence and awe as we encountered God’s magnificent creation in the savannah.  Lions on the hunt, elephants protecting their young, giraffes and zebras mindful of predators… all part of the beauty of God’s order in savannah life.


The tea farm gave us a good glimpse into one of Kenya’s resources.  In fact, Kenya is one of the world’s top exporters of tea, and after sipping a cup at the farm, we have now been spoiled by this local treat.

We are in the midst of spending our first Christmas away from our home culture, family, and friends.  Though we have experienced some of the ache of separation, we are not hopeless because the babe in a manger dwells in our home and in our hearts.  The ache is a beautiful reminder that we crave for the eternal peace that God sent to us in a stable.

May your celebrations resonate the love of Christ.

May your gatherings hold sweet fellowship.

May your songs be filled with joy.

May your nights be holy, your hearts be full, and your souls be at peace.

We wish you a most MERRY CHRISTMAS and pray God’s extravagant love for you and yours!  Hugs and love from the Unrau clan.

These are a few of our favourite things

At this checkpoint in the school year, we have already found ourselves reflective of the journey.  While we bear the stretch marks that come with carrying culture shock, we also seek and find comfort while looking to God for his goodness and promises. 

To help fix our eyes on Jesus, we have had some fun listing some of our favourite things about African/RVA culture.  Please keep reading and enjoy God’s diversity!

Here’s our list:

  1. TREES, PLANTS and BIRDS (Ok, these are three things, but we needed to keep the list to 10 and this made the goal achievable) –  We are land loving, garden growing, field harvesting, bird watching, stop and smell the roses kind of people.  We cannot help ourselves.

  2. JUICE – A native Kenyan lady delivers pure fruit juice to RVA and we literally pick out our favourite juices from the trunk of her car (by the way, they do not call it a “trunk” here.  It is known as the “boot”).
  3. MR. DIXON’S ROASTING FORKS – Need we say more?  These are genius!
  4. AFRICAN HAIR – This has fascinated us.  Thanks to the guys and gals on campus, we have been learning about different textures, styles, extensions and general “how to care for” info.
  5. ACCENTS – Living on the RVA campus has afforded us the richness of encountering many cultures right out our front door.  Accents, accents, accents!  They’re diverse and beautiful.
  6. HAND CRAFTED ITEMS – This one gets us every time.  You will win us over with quality hand crafted items.  Wood carving, weaving, bead making, sewing… it never gets old!

  7. MAASAI BLANKETS – Literally you can find a Maasai blanket at almost any market, shop or store.  While the Maasai sport the traditional red, the blankets come in an array of colours.
  8. ROASTING COFFEE BEANS – Does this need an explanation?  It’s a little bit of heaven.
  9. THE HANDSHAKE – The louder the better.  Really.  The point is for the shake to commence with a loud clap and then proceed with all manner of hand shaking and movement.  It is most acceptable to greet African friends with a handshake every single time.  A wonderful gesture of friendship.
  10. THE VIEW OF THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY – Perhaps part of its wonder is the fact that we are prairie folk and the curves, rolls and folds of the hills that hug the valley intrigue us.  We love the layers and depth of the hills.  It’s one of those wonders that beckon us to enjoy our Creator.

    May you be inspired to enjoy God’s gifts and goodness around you!