Thursday, July 29, 2010

Road Trip

Just last week I took a road trip with two of my fellow teachers at Sahel.  We drove about six hours to the southwest to Ouagadougou, the capital city of Niger's neighbor, Burkina Faso.  Now you may think that crossing a border wouldn't bring any significant change but here's a difference I noticed right away.  In Burkina Faso women ride bicycles. 

I can't recall ever seeing a woman riding a bike in Niger.  Motos, yes.  Bicycles, no! 

Then there were the taxis.   Niger's taxis are a combination of white and red and they are almost always Toyotas.  In Burkina, however, when you take a taxi you are likely to have the privilige of riding in a green Mercedes Benz.  Don't jump to any conclusions about riding in the lap of luxury.  Even a Mercedes Benz can be old and dilapitated!

Now let's talk about the motos.  
Motos here. 
Motos there. 
Motos everywhere.
Just look at this intersection that we are trying to make a turn in.

Then we would drive by places like this...

which you might think was a moto dealership.  In reality, these are all motos belonging to the people that work within this compound.  I'm not even sure how you would find the moto that belongs to you in all that mass.

All in all, I enjoyed the cooler temperatures, the frequent rain and the green everywhere but I was happy to hit the road home... my quiet little city of Niamey.
Never dreamed I'd refer to Niamey as quiet!

Friday, July 2, 2010

In the News

Did you know that my class made the news in the great state of Texas?  We had a class with whom we were penpals just outside of the Ft. Worth area.  In the last week of school, we arranged a skype conversation with them which had to take place very early in the morning for them and right before school let out for us.  Unfortunately, partway through the experience our internet started acting funny which put an end to the conversation.  We continued to try to reconnect and in those moments I would catch little sound bytes of what sounded like an interview leading me to believe there were reporters there.  Sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed by the teacher who had been notified early that morningy by all three of the local tv stations that they would come to record these childrens experience connecting with their international penpals.  Later on, a friend of mine living in that area confirmed that they had actually seen the newsclip on tv.  Really wish I could find that clip to share with you but I think that would be a waste of my time so instead I'll share this link to a news article featuring one of the families that joined our school community in January.  They are in the midst of starting a hospital for CURE.  It's a great article and there's even some talk about Sahel.  So here it is.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Beasts

  I have a house sitting job this summer. It comes with 24 hour air conditioning, satellite TV, a pool and these two beasts and I do mean beasts. Don't let the pictures fool you, they are big!  The cat has some issues but the dog is just a big one.  He could easily push me down if he wanted to.  Thankfully, he loves people and is very gentle unless he is harassing the cat or greeting you.
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