RVA has a long history. In the early 1950's, Kenya was in the middle of the Mau Mau Emergency. This was a time of revolution as Kenyans struggled for independence against British Kenyan Colonization. One tribe, the Mau Mau, had become violent. One night in 1953, after killing tens of people at the nearby village of Lari, the Mau Mau came one night to kill people at RVA only to be prevented by God's intervention. They did not enter RVA that night to kill students. When they were later arrested, they were asked why they spared RVA. They reported that they were going to RVA to kill, but they were scared off by the many, many armed guards who surrounded the school protecting it. There were no armed guards at RVA to protect them that night. The RVA folks think God sent a host of angels to protect them. The story is amazing, and if you have the time, you should read about it by clicking here.
Since that time, RVA has put many safety procedures into place. We noticed that from the main road, there is a sign pointing to the Kijabe hospital, but there is no sign pointing to RVA. You need to know where it is. There is a large fence around the whole campus with only three gates for vehicles to enter. There is a security company that guards the fence and gates 24 hours a day. Every building at RVA has a metal door with a heavy bolt/lock system. The windows all have metal bars. There are sirens on all the buildings, and each home has a secure safe room. Below you can see the fence around RVA (with the guard trail next to it), our front door and lock system, a window with bars, and our safe room. Our safe room is our bedroom closet. There is an alarm on the outside of our safe room with a walkie-talkie, and we are able to lock ourselves in the room. There is a list on the wall of all emergency number in the safe room.
When we first moved in and saw the safe room, it was a little alarming, but we feel very safe here. Each term at RVA, instead of a tornado drill like we might have in Indiana, RVA has a security alarm drill. The security drill this term happened when we were on safari, so we didn't get to practice it. When the security alarm goes, adults are to look out their door quickly, help any students to come inside their building. Everyone is to get indoors quickly to a safe place out of the line of sight of anybody who might try to do them harm. This means you are usually going into your inner safe room. You stay there until the "all clear" alarm sounds.
On Friday afternoon about 4:00 the security alarms went off. This was not a pre-planned drill. Maintenance was working on the alarm system and accidentally trippped it. Mason was with a group of middle school students just outside the computer lab, so they all went inside. They all knew what to do. They stayed in the computer room and everyone hid under the desks. Mason was freaking out. He had never had a drill, but we had told him stories about the Mau Mau people. He thought he was going to die. All of a sudden one of the students darts to to door because they forgot to lock it. At the same time the heard some footsteps, so instead of locking the door the kid hid back under a desk. NOW THEY WERE REALLY GOING TO DIE, Mason thought. Thankfully, this was not a killer, but a middle school administrator. He came in the room said nothing and left. Mason said it was about 5 minutes later (in actuality, it was maybe 2 minutes) the administrator came back and told them it was all clear, and it was only a false alarm.
Carson was at our house taking a nap after school. When the alarm went off random people came in our house. They woke Carson up. He wiped off his drool and stood in the safe hallway with a bunch of strangers and waited for the all clear.
Chad was giving a retest after school. When the alarm went off he had to step outside and direct kids into his room and lock the doors. He had to stop the test and took all the kids into a back safe hallway.
When I heard the alarm, I was in the business office. We stepped out to lock the office and the superintendent was running by. He told us right away that it was a false alarm, so we never had to go to the safe room. Lucky me.
It was funny when I got back to the house to hear the stories. What an exciting day.