The Hill of Tears

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The Hill of Tears

This past weekend in Kenya Tom, Lucy, and I rode in a bus down a hill dubbed ‘The Hill of Tears.’ My eyes were puffy, my nose red, my cheeks wet, and I held a clumped up Kleenex in one fist. I looked just like everyone else on the bus.

We were driving away from the boarding school where Henry and Maggie will attend school this next year and the bus was filled with parents who had just said goodbye. And goodbye. And goodbye again. And again…until our kids decided they had had enough and ran off to play football and tetherball and unpack with their new friends.

I thought that was hard, but sitting down to breakfast the next morning and needing only three seats at the table was worse. And I thought that was hard, but boarding an airplane and leaving Kenyan airspace for Djibouti was worse. And I thought that was hard, but landing in Djibouti and driving around town without them was worse.

So in the throes of the Hill of Tears rollercoaster, I talked with two American moms living in Djibouti who have children at boarding school. I spent an afternoon with a Somali friend who grew up at boarding school. And I was thankful (thank you, L). They know the ups and downs, both the potholes in this road, and the view from it.

We have a steady peace about sending the kids to this school but that doesn’t erase the Hill of Tears.

They have been excited for months about it but that doesn’t erase the Hill of Tears.

The campus is beautiful, covered in flowers, looking over the Rift Valley, nestled in clouds some days. The staff are talented, loving, wise, faith-filled, fun-loving, deep people. That doesn’t erase the Hill of Tears.

This is where they want to be and this is where we want them to be. They are going to have amazing experiences, opportunities, and academic, personal, and spiritual investment.

This Hill of Tears is also a Hill of Happiness, a Hill of Peace and this year I will learn to be okay with driving, living, on both Hills at the same time.

By |August 29th, 2012|Categories: Expat Thoughts|5 Comments


  1. Patty Broberg August 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    I just can’t imagine — but I guess I can imagine enough to be crying while reading this. Breaks my heart. Pastor Sam wrote on his blog a few days ago a quote by C.S. Lewis: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” But how joyful in the midst of the best, too?!

  2. August 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Such a hard decision, but I applaud you for making the best decision for your family. We have often had to do the same thing…which many (most) American parents just do not understand. I pray you all have a wonderful year in your respective locations!

  3. Barb August 29, 2012 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    We love you and applaud your trust and bravery and wisdom.

  4. Tim and Richelle September 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    thank you for your authenticity and transparency – i can’t imagine, am so thankful that the Lord has not asked this of me… and hope i could be as brave as you if/when He does.

    blessings ~

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