Woodland Star School joined a metamorphosis journey that can only be described as a miracle! Without knowing the beneficiary of the transformation, WSS kindly opened its doors to our family and saw us through the storm. This is the story of the journey:

One Morning in November 2018, my family began a journey that helped us appreciate how precious and delicate life is. This was a time of rekindling and hanging on to faith and hope, no matter how severe the situation seemed. It is this faith that saw us through the greatest challenge we have faced in over 18 years, since the demise of our beloved mother. Somehow as though a supernatural force was preparing us for the journey, one of my siblings and I had on the same night seen the darkest and lightest moments ahead in two separate dreams.

We were amazed at the level of detail we both remembered and though the dreams faded away with time, we became alert and more prayerful. The events leading to the news we received that November cascaded in a manner that made us see God’s hand in our situation. We intensified our prayers amid concerns that this critical situation would further strain our father’s health.

The next five days were marred with confusion on our part as we tried everything to take control of the situation that occurred in a foreign land. But as we began to see some light at the end of the tunnel, we eased our struggle and trusted in the people that God had led us to. 5 days later my sibling’s dream of a dark moment without sorrow finally made sense. We were out of the woods and with some level of stability, my family spent the next couple of weeks coming to terms with the gravity of the situation at hand.

The cause could not be explained in the backdrop of a very humble and risk‐free lifestyle. The month of December was daunted with a difficult task that needed commitment and dedication to maintain the stability of the situation on home ground. This was however not sustainable as it caused severe disruption to normal livelihood. A decision needed to be made on a long‐term solution, and this united the entire family in a way that had not been possible in 15 years.

Travelling from different corners of the globe, we were all home for Christmas at the same time as we all volunteered to be part of the envisioned change. This is where I and my three children had the fortune of getting to know the wonderful team at WSS. The situation demanded that we travel back to Kenya for a short period in the middle of the second term, which posed a challenge to the children’s schooling. WSS gladly jumped on the wagon and joined us on this amazing journey.

From the moment my children walked into WSS, they felt really appreciated and cared for. They woke up every morning eager to explore the daily wonders in their new environment: from petting the guinea pigs, to discovering their confidence above ground, developing hard foot soles that cushioned the pricking twigs, putting baking recipes into practice, picking out their favourite books in the library, enjoying cave time, applying logic across all subjects through an interconnected theme-based learning approach, appreciating new concepts explored on wild Wednesday, enhancing their presentation skills during the parent‐student conference, and even learning new words that I have yet to discover “chongololo”!

Even the wildlife in Tigoni seemed to welcome them when a red and black bird accompanied my son home as it hooked on to his finger but took flight when it found a new environment to explore. Despite joining the school mid‐way, the children got to play a part in the school theatrical “Ajabu in Wonderland” which they still act out. And what a wonderful setting in the woods! The greatest wonder was the friendship they found not only in the students but also in the faculty and parents!

These were just a few of the many wonders that we can talk about. Principle Timo constantly offered more help, though the support we received from WSS was more than we could ask for, enabling us to focus on the task at hand. My father’s heart became young again as he watched over the children and interacted with their teachers. In the weeks that followed, we met other people that had endured similar struggles for years, though very saddening as most did not have the support of loved ones.

Our situation suddenly seemed less grave, but as the months went by and the preparations intensified, normalcy became a past phenomenon. We eagerly looked forward to the day this was all going to change as we met with various professionals who guided us through the journey. The journey was long as dates kept changing, but we soldiered on with tremendous support and encouragement from the family and WSS.

Finally, the long wait was over and the metamorphosis began. We went through final preparations in a very calm manner as our family did all the worrying. In early April 2019, my dream about the lightest moment of the journey finally made sense. A miraculous transition with an abundance of life in a way that amazed even the specialist in the field. We however still had to take some precautions over the next couple of days to guard the delicate transition. For the first time since the journey began,

I saw the indulgent side of all the specialists as they beamed with excitement and gratitude for taking part in the metamorphosis. We could now sit back to get some much‐needed rest and take in natural vitamin D as our family helped care for the children. Normalcy has since returned and though we must change a few nutritional and fitness habits, we move forward with a new appreciation for life! Saying goodbye to WSS was very difficult for us. My son shielded his tears from principal Timo as he hid behind the parking lot tree.

My elder daughter also broke down in the car as her little sister comforted her with a nostalgic promise of a future visit to WSS. WSS played an un‐comprehendible role in this journey, and my family and I will forever be thankful for your kind and generous support. To all the kind and generous people, my family encountered during this journey, Thank you for filling our lives with sunshine!

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