The Fuel

May 28, 2009 by Steve Peifer

                  I hear lots of interesting things as a guidance counselor, but perhaps the greatest thing I’ve heard all year was from a parent who had come in to express her rather extreme displeasure with me about the advice I was giving her daughter:   VERY Displeased Mother: Why on EARTH are you recommending Cal Tech to my daughter? Me: Your daughter is bright enough to get in and I think Cal Tech is one of the premier colleges in the United States. When...

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What You Learn About Yourself When a Snake Drops in Your Lap in Tanzania: Lessons in Personal Growth

May 5, 2009 by Steve Peifer

RVA has interims, and we were asked to lead a group to Tanzania. We met with our group, and we asked them, “Why did you pick this group?” When every member admitted that it was there second choice, I thought that it was an auspicious beginning, but the honesty was a great start to an astonishing week.   We were going to be living among the Datooga tribe, a group that still lives in mud huts. They live in a national park,...

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Tears of Sorrow, Days of Rage: The Stakes Get Higher

March 16, 2009 by Steve Peifer

  True Confessions Time:  my wife dresses me. This is, I know, a shocking revelation for all those who know me and love and admire my fashion sense, but the truth must come out. The other morning I was in a panic; Nancy had left and I had not determined what shirt would go with what pants. I didn’t know what to do, and then I remembered I had a secret weapon. Katie. I called her into our bedroom, and she went through...

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The Science of Romance: Putting 20 pounds of Manure in a 15 Pound Bag

February 24, 2009 by Steve Peifer

  Never been too good at that romance thing. Actually took my wife to Schindler’s List on Valentine’s Day once. But with age comes wisdom, and you add a big dollop of that holy missionary stuff, you really start to have the goods. RVA has a senior banquet every year. The juniors do it in honor of the seniors. They write a play, build a set, perform it for them and cook all the food. The only people allowed are the seniors,...

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Never Pass Out on a Kenyan Airplane: Nurse Perpetual and Other Adventures from the Kenyan Health Care System

January 8, 2009 by Steve Peifer

It had been a long hard year, and we hadn’t seen JT as a family for 12 months. So we were thrilled that he was able to come for Christmas, and we arranged to go to the coast the morning he arrived for five days on the beach.  JT was a typically exhausted college kid just done with finals, so we had a nice relaxing time in Mombasa. We were flying back to Nairobi on the 22nd, and I started to...

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There Are So Many Orphans

December 12, 2008 by Steve Peifer

I like the word “yako.” In Swahili, it means yours, but being a creative sort, I have found it has a myriad of uses. Unlike my wife, who has managed to become fairly fluent in Swahili, I have found that my breathtaking pace of learning one new word of Swahili a year was not equipping me to interact in the community like I needed to. I began a new way of learning language, and I believe that it may revolutionize the entire...

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I Have Just Become So Happy!

November 24, 2008 by Steve Peifer

  Being the college counselor in Kenya is interesting in ways you don’t always expect.  The best counselor I know told me that most of her kids stayed in the northeast, so she didn’t get to know colleges outside of that region. I have had to learn the whole United States, and I’m starting to know Korean universities also. But sometimes you get kids that come up with interesting ideas on their own. I had a student last week who is Korean,...

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A Future and a Hope

October 24, 2008 by Steve Peifer

Before I went on my last trip, Matthew had a dilemma: Matthew: I really want to ask JoAnna to movie night. Me: That sounds great. Matthew: I just don’t know WHEN to ask. Me: Why don’t you ask her during play rehearsal? Matthew: I CAN’T ask her during rehearsals. Me: Why? Matthew: She plays my MOTHER in the play. Another time opened up, she accepted, and a fine time was had by all. And I thought it showed unusual brilliance in my son to realize that there are...

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