It was good to be in Loita. Yes, Byron spent a lot of the time working but living by a campfire meant that good things were built in. Good things like zebra, waterbuck, duikers, bushbuck and dik dik around our tents at night. Good things like 5 elephants displaying their indignation and mistrust as we pulled back into camp one evening.
In all the years we lived there, I never saw a single one of the Loita herd. Byron and the boys stalked them on foot but I was always home with a baby :-) I saw the damage they did to trees and the mounds of grassy dropping they left on the trails, but I never got to view them. They are skittish and wary up there and they melt away into the trees. Our large visitors skirted the clearing that night, but trumpeted from the cover of forest several times as we ate our dinner under the stars.
One of the surreal things about returning to Loita is that Andre has a satellite connection to the internet from the house we built back in the 90's. Because we needed to make sure we would receive any news that might suddenly arrive from the school in Kenya that Colin hadn't gotten into, I would drive the 20 minutes over to the house most days to quickly collect mail.
On Thursday there was news. And that's when everything changed.
The filled-to-capacity 10th grade class had settled and shuffled and Karen, the Director of Admissions, had managed to work out how to make room for a few more students. Colin was in.
I remember that I cried as I read the mail to everyone.
Curtailing our time in Loita by a couple of days, we headed down to Narok, across the Rift Valley and up to Kijabe on Sunday. Because we had come prepared for a last minute opening, we had a duffle bag of Colin's things already neatly labeled and ready to go. We moved him into his room, made his bed, and met the family that hosts that dorm. Next morning, bright and early, Colin jumped into 10th grade. He was a week late and it's been a scramble to catch up. I guess God thought a week in Loita with the family was more important for Colin than the first 5 days of classes :-)
So this has been quite an emotional week all the way around. Leaving a high school graduate at college is one thing. Leaving a 15 year old at boarding school is another. I don't mind letting the whole world know that we all cried as we left him after lunch on his first day of classes.
All of us feel really peaceful and positive about this new development. We can see God's hand in it and there are so many good things to embrace about being at a good school with great sports and lots of friends to be made all around. Still, we can't help being pretty much a mess. We're thankful that Colin will be home for at least a month after every 3 up there.
Less than 5 weeks now till he's home for a four day weekend. You can bet your last dollar we're counting the days :-)