2020 is not what any of us expected it to be. You may have had expectations of what you thought this year would look like, and it wasn’t the reality we are currently living. The same is true at Canopy Life.
Conflict lies in the distance between our expectations and reality. The bigger the gap between our expectations and reality, the bigger the conflict. The way we respond in this conflict is so important.
In Episode 14 of the Canopy Life podcast, Christi interviewed our staff members, Abbu and Linah, about how they are managing the challenges of this year surrounding COVID-19 in Kenya and how these challenges are affecting our students and staff at Canopy Life.
What were our expectations surrounding what July 2020 at Canopy Life Academy would look like?
Abbu: July is usually our busiest month of the year. Those in Grade 8 are preparing themselves for their Final Exam. It’s also one of the months we usually have guests from the U.S. Normally, we would take the kids out for educational field trips so they could interact with the teams. Spiritually, we want to prepare them for being a teenager and the challenges they face as they enter adulthood and join high school. The staff would be preparing for this and interacting with the U.S. teams as well. We would be beginning to focus on the next school year which starts in January.
What does July 2020 actually look like for Canopy Life?
Linah: Right now, the children are home with their parents in their rural communities. They are miles away from the Canopy Life campus. We decided to make sure we are keeping in touch with our students using things like Zoom calling, which hasn’t been entirely successful due to poor internet connectivity. We resolved to use phone calls to ensure the students and families are safe. We try to reach each child by phone every week. The Canopy Life students are interacting with our teachers through Google Classroom every day.
Abbu: I am sharing devotions on Google Classroom. It’s a new platform for our students. They are not used to this kind of interaction, but it is our new normal. Sometimes, I send videos to the students. We’ve seen most of them able to communicate through the platform, and they are asking questions when they get stuck.
Linah: The Canopy Life staff members feel encouraged. Despite the technical challenges, we’ve remained a team. It’s helped to know that we are in this together. When we’re on the same page, we’re able to encourage the kids. They are all doing well.
What has it been like living in Nairobi in this season?
Linah: When the pandemic first hit, people were very guarded. They weren’t leaving their homes. Right now, the boundaries have lifted and people are realizing that life has to move on. We have to embrace this new normal. We are doing a lot of sanitizing, washing hands and wearing masks. We’re trying to social distance, but that can be a bit of a challenge when you are taking public transportation or visiting the open markets, which are crowded. We are grateful that people have adjusted well to the new normal and there’s less tension in light of COVID-19.
Abbu: I live in Nairobi. Sometimes, I have to go to the store. Travel in and out of Nairobi has been prohibited. The roadblocks are no longer there. Some of my friends who were in Nairobi for work were not allowed to leave the city because they were inside the city when the President announced they were closing the roads. They were able to return to their homes this week. It’s mostly business as usual, but people are being careful. Some people are social distancing. Others are not. With time, I believe people will begin to see the reality of things and start to take care of themselves more seriously.
What’s coming next for Canopy Life?
Abbu: Yesterday, we visited the Canopy Life campus for the first time since March. We were discussing the reopening protocols. Before we were even done discussing these new protocols, the President announced that school has been canceled until the next school year beginning in January 2021. All exams have been canceled. It’s as if the 2020 school year never happened.
I think the strategy will change. We are hoping to enhance our digital platform, and that’s one way we will be investing in our students in the near future. In the meantime, we are going to continue digital learning, and we are planning to visit our students in their communities, now that Nairobi is not on lockdown.
How can listeners get involved even in this season?
Linah: You can partner with us through prayer, visiting when we are able to travel, or by committing to sponsor a child at Canopy Life.
PRAYER: Please pray for our students as they navigate life during the Pandemic. Most of the parents may be stressed about health, resources, and finances. They may even displace some of their frustrations on their children. We are praying for God to give us wisdom so that we can help them transition back to who they are in Christ.
Another way you can be praying is for our teenagers. Having been away from us for almost a year, we know there are other voices speaking to them. Our prayer is that this year will be quality and they will gain wisdom that will prepare them for high school.
COME VISIT: When the world reopens, and we go back to normalcy, we hope you can come to Kenya and interact with Canopy Life students and share in the joy of our children.
SPONSOR A CHILD: You can partner with us by sponsoring a child.