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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Student Health

For the last 4+ years we have served as the RVA Student Health doctors, which has been a holy privilege and a burden of faith.  Just up the hill from our door are about 500 students, from Kindergarten up to Grade 12.  Most of them are missionary kids, members of teams all over this continent working to bring life into broken places. Their parents translate and teach and immunize and operate, they build water pipelines and fix machinery, they fly planes and plant fields and write curriculum.  Others are children of local Kenyan leaders, or diplomats, or business people, all working to develop and serve.  Last time I counted we had about 30 nationalities represented in the school.  The largest groups are from North America, South Korea, and Kenya. The fact that these parents can send their children to a safe and excellent school enables them to soldier on in some of the world's hardest places.  The fact that these parents DO soldier on means that their children are vulnerable to sickness and discouragement, because nothing disables an effective Kingdom-worker faster than a problem with their children.  So this is an aspect of our jobs that we take very seriously.

We love having the connection with our own kids' school and peers.  We love having the different spectrum of illnesses to ponder, since most of our Kijabe work deals with infants and malnutrition and disability and surgical complications, seeing acne and anxiety and sports injuries and hypothyroidism keeps our horizons broader.  We love interacting with parents like us, who have concerns for their kids. We love promoting health through taking a step back and planning for the annual flu cycle with vaccines, or screening all the kids for appropriate body-mass-index or psycho-social stress manifesting as physical complaints.  We love being able to connect body and spirit, to pray with our patients after we talk.  And mostly we love working with excellent nurses and nurse practitioners and administrative support.  While Kijabe is a great place, it can also be nice to walk up the hill and step into a private-practice atmosphere where things are organized and efficient.  We also collaborate closely with the Counseling department, and Physical Therapy.  It takes a village!

Soon the Family Medicine and Paeds doctors at Kijabe will be asked to take this job over from us. We will miss it.  When you think about RVA, do pray for the health of the students, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  They are an amazing gift, young people who have the cross-cultural skills and courage to truly change the world.

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