Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last Decade

Lucky for me I have my clock on my computer still set to Eastern Standard Time so I'll sneak this in as the last post of 2009 even though as I sit here typing in Niamey I can hear the new year's fireworks all around me! Just got to thinking that God has walked me through some pretty amazing things in this last decade...
  • graduating college
  • learning to teach
  • being baptized
  • trusting him with my biggest hopes and dreams
  • recognizing that He is with me in failure and success
  • coming short term to Sahel Academy
  • dealing with challenging students
  • learning to love them
  • studying French
  • returning to Sahel long term
  • driving in Niger (never do that on New Year's Eve)
and realizing through all of this and more that He is trustworthy, faithful and worthy of all my praise!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Crafty Christmas

I had a lot of fun crafting for Christmas. The addition of the sewing machine my Mom made me buy and bring to Niger made it even more fun. Here are my favorite creations.

Favorite card - I love this thing. It was hard to part with it!

Favorite bittie cards - created these on Christmas eve - a last minute idea.

Saw this ornament idea and wanted to try it but I had to borrow the main supply, felt, from Beka. I ended up giving it back to her kids - just in a different form! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Miss Them

Buying in Bulk

In North America one is generally rewarded when one buys in bulk. The more you buy of something the cheaper the item is. It is easy to expect the same in other cultures but that would be a false assumption. Often times here in Niger, one is rewarded for buying the smaller amount. For example, these little cream cheese cubes come packaged in a box of 6 for which I would be required to pay 1475 cfa. That works out to about 245 cfa (approximately 60 cents) a cube whereas I could choose from the box of unpackaged cubes and pay only 150 cfa per cube (approximately 40 cents). Interesting cultural difference!

St. Lucia Day Celebration

Christmas around the world - that's what we spent the last two weeks of school focusing on. My children had the opportunity to hear first hand about the traditions of France from Eliane who brought in a delicious yule log for the children to enjoy.They also heard about Christmas in Norway from Mrs. Lindberg who is the mother of one of my sudents. She did a beautiful job explaining some of the traditions including St. Lucia Day celebrations. St. Lucia was an Italian saint marytred in 300 A.D. She has become a symbol for light in the midst of darkness. This is a particularly important celebration to those living in Sweden and Norway who spend much of their winter days in darkness. Mrs. Lindberg told the kids that it is often dark until 9 or 10 am. For the St. Lucia day celebrations kindergarteners come to school dressed in white. One child will be chosen to lead a procession with a lighted wreath on her head and the students will go from classroom to classroom caroling. I can only imagine how special this would be if school starts when it is still dark outside! It wasn't dark when we started school but we enjoyed listening and learning, caroling at the doors of the other elementary classes and eating Lussekatt, a traditional St. Lucia bun.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


These two were thrilled to death when they realized that the new haircut belonging to one of them made them look almost like twins!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Day the Donkey Got Away

I am itching to pick up my little markers and draw this little story in stick figures but I think it might just be better if we all use our imaginations...

In the course of the work day there comes a time when we all must stop by the bathroom and take care of business. What does that look like when you are the owner of a donkey and cart on your way to wherever? Well, you pull up beside the nearest wall and even if that is the wall on the main road that leads to the only bridge in town, it's still quite possible that you can discreetly take care of business. That is, of course, as long as your donkey understands the need for discretion.

But should your donkey miss the memo about the need for discretion, he might decide to make like a banana and split. At which time, you will be nonchalantly standing at the wall, unaware that your donkey is on the lam, running directly into the path of the two white women driving down the dirt road to the intersection. The donkey hesitates while the white women look around at all the people sitting around chewing the fat wondering where the owner is and why in the world no one cares enough to stop the donkey running directly onto the main road. But you, the donkey owner, remain blissfully unaware of the unfolding drama. Meanwhile, your runaway donkey decides to take the plunge into oncoming traffic. Cars slow, swerving to avoid him. Motorcycles screech to a halt, brakes squealing and finally, your attention is caught just as you finish up. Just in time too, for now your donkey and cart are well down the road. No mere jog will do for catching up with them. Run, donkey cart man, run!

What do you do?

What do you do when the item you need is at the bottom of that pile?
Well you definitely don't unload the whole thing. That would make far too much sense!
I learned to stack dishes like this while a fifth or sixth grader in Galmi. Alihu, our house worker, was quite good at it and so I studied up in the fine art of dish stacking. Speaking of Alihu, he had been around visiting in Galmi as some very good friends of mine from Galmi days are back in Galmi for a few weeks. He had been asking after me and my family so one of "my good friends" decided to call me via cell phone to let him talk to me. He speaks Hausa which I understand but can only do the bare minimum of greeting in. I speak French which he can not speak. Wow! Talk about awkward and "my good/bad friend" walked away and left us to hash it out. So that was about the longest 20 second conversation I've ever had and the best part about it was someone else was in the car with me and got to enjoy all the awkwardness!
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