We have all left Kenya with heavy hearts. However, over the past few weeks I have felt and seen that the kids were able to find space in their hearts for both joy of adventure and starting the unknown, and loss for what is loved and known. They certainly have taught me how to find balance, and see the ‘green side’ during a period of change. That is in itself is a testimonial to the school, and how they have grown there. I am particularly impressed with Oscar’s ability to articulate – including in writing – his emotions, particularly to his dearest friends, about leaving. 

In general, and throughout our years in Kenya, Woodland Star International School (WSS) has been a second home. I still remember Mira welcoming us, after testing us to see how “long the drive was”, and Oscar, after seeing several schools, saying “this is it” just upon seeing the space. Stella, 18 months at the time, climbed into the treehouse and did not look back.

All the teachers who have taught my children have left a mark of love and kindness, curiosity for learning and life, and appreciation for nature and respect for the environment. Again, my kids have become my teachers in many regards thanks to the life lessons they have picked up at WSS.  I would love to thank everyone involved in my children’s upbringing while at school – your dedication and passion for truly being child-centered, for acknowledging and celebrating that there is unity in diversity, and for exposing children to the realities of life beyond the WSS campus through sharing, story telling, dance, books, guest speakers, and field trips.

This has contributed to them becoming more empathetic to the world around them. Of course I am apprehensive as they navigate a new school and environment, but I can also not wait to see how they will apply the skills and tools that WSS has supplied them with to start a new circle of life. 

When we arrived in Kenya and started WSS, Oscar’s Skype video calls with previous classmates in Brazil helped a lot. It turns out, that school in Brazil or Kenya isn’t all that different! And that helped Oscar a lot to realize that he was still in the same boat as his peers.

The support system and community that Kenya has allowed us to be part of is what we will miss most from our time in Kenya. A big thank you to everyone WSS, for being such an integral part of it and for filling our hearts with so many beautiful memories! You will be in our minds and conversations for some time to come. Even though we are leaving, we hope to remain to stay in touch.

Warmly and in thoughts,

Isabel de Bruin Cardoso

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