Shine.

August 18, 2014 by Nicole Owens

It was a side trip tacked to the tail of a long, blistering day. We’d been out visiting KKC schools, and I’m sure we looked a fright, sporting grime and sunburn, our hair blown tumbleweed-stiff. But still the good folks at Oiti Primary welcomed us like dear friends. They’d been writing for months with a candid plea: Please include us in your feeding program. When we finally made it out to their school, they pumped our hands with gusto, radiating nervous...

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Infinitely sweet.

March 16, 2014 by Nicole Owens

    Last week Kenya Kids Can was invited to attend an academic celebration, and PEOPLE. That thing was so much fun. They sat us front and center, guests of honor at this first-ever Longonot awards ceremony, and with all the stops pulled out: balloons, poetry, song calling, cascades of faux flowers. Hundreds of students packed the courtyard, whooping as their schools were announced and trophies bestowed. Highest performer. Best in the district. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to dance. I’m guessing...

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Valentine’s Day.

February 21, 2014 by Nicole Owens

  The road twisting down from campus to the valley floor cracks me up every time. We braved that bumpy guy again last Friday, a small crew of us riding out with Mark to visit a couple schools, and as our teeth rattled in place Mark joked, “You know, lots of people pay money for seats that shake.” We arrived at the first school as the kids were washing up for lunch, scrubbing small hands under a ribbon of water poured from...

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Unsinkable.

January 16, 2014 by Nicole Owens

  The whole school has turned out to see us, kicking up dust as they dance and wave us in. We climb from the car into a river of children with smiles bleached white in the three o’clock sun. It’s Wednesday, and Todd and I have tagged along with our friend Mark to open a solar-powered computer center at a school smack dab in what Kenyans call The Interior–undeveloped land, mile upon mile of scrub brush and dirt and sheep. I’ve never known...

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It Will Be Better For Them: The End of the Chapter

July 7, 2013 by Steve Peifer

A student comes into my office and asks, “What is the secret of getting into college?” My response is that there are no secrets, but an important part of the process is showing your passion for the school you are applying for. She says she doesn’t understand, so I use an analogy. Let’s say two guys ask you out. One says, “Yo. Saturday?” The second shows up with flowers and candy, and gives you a poem because you mentioned you like poetry in English class. Who would you most likely go with?

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Meet the Daubenmiers: The Torch Gets Passed

June 25, 2013 by Steve Peifer

Mark and Sheri are new at RVA this year, but they made an impression immediately. Mark teaches math, and so impressed his students that they decided one day to all dress like him. Mark is the only member of the staff who wears a tie every day, so it wasn’t hard to figure out who the homage was for. Both are math teachers, and it was obvious that both were bright. We have a college day every year, and I get...

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Don’t Ask for Cuts in the Starbucks Line at 5am in the Indianapolis Airport: Accrued from a Three Week Book Tour

May 7, 2013 by Steve Peifer

The last few years, oh gosh, the last fifteen years have been different, and in many ways, a book tour is the most different thing that has ever happened to me. The book happened in the same way that so much has happened; out of nowhere. I was speaking in Rome, Georgia many years ago and Gregg Lewis came up to me and said, “I was the co-author of Tom Landry and Ben Carson’s autobiography, and we should do a...

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I’m More Excited than Afraid; Newest Computer Center and Publication Day

March 18, 2013 by Steve Peifer

We had pizza the other night, and I got to slice one of them. I was rather rudely mocked by my children because my slices weren’t equal in size. On another day, we were invited to a friend’s home for pizza. Jim was a commander of a nuclear sub; now he is helping to expand the mission hospital. As I looked at his unequal pieces, it occurred to me that I could have been a commander of a nuclear sub. This...

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