Friday, November 19, 2010

The Intergalatic Space Fair

The Sahel Student Council planned an Intergalatic Space Fair last Saturday evening which took me back to my K.A. days and the anticipation of waiting for Fun Fair, a veritable carnival of fun.  That's pretty much what we enjoyed this past Saturday as well.  There were carnival games like

Meteor Blast
 Fish Upon a Star
Destroying Blazlack Germs
and Astroid Defense System. 

But the highlight had to be the SI-MUL-8R  KR8.  The kids got inside a crate which had been outfitted with seat, control panels, headphones from our friendly SIM Air guys.

Then the door was closed and the crate which was on top of a wagon was tipped back.

 At this point lift off began complete with countdown and all the sounds of a real takeoff. And then our director spent the next few minutes rocking the crate back and forth giving the kids their own personal ride through "space".  All the while a video camera which had been hooked up inside the crate, displayed for the outside world the riding astronaut's reactions.
Can I just tell you that I work with some pretty creative people!  Kudos to Brian and Cathy for dreaming this amazing ride up.  Brian especially deserves a gold star for standing there and shaking and rocking the kiddos all night!

Amazing Fun!  And on a side note the crate has been outside the library all week and it's been fun to watch the kids climb in and close the door while a friend on the outside rocks them back and forth...reliving the fun. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

As Seen On the Bridge

Oh my, I love the bridge.  That's where all the funny stuff happens.  Picture it with me, if you will.  Samantha and I pull up to the stop light where we notice a man and a boy on a moto and stuffed between the two of them is a full grown sheep.  So I say to Sam, "Too bad you don't have your camera out and you could take a picture."  She hurriedly proceeds to get it out and we chase them down for a picture on the straightaway towards the bridge.  We get to the corner and suddenly I see the sheep's tail lift up.  Uhoh, that's not good...that's a sure sign and yes indeed, here it comes - poop - basically right into the kid's hand.  Then the sheep decides that he is not happy to be sandwiched between two people on a now the kid has a pooping, bucking sheep and why don't we just throw a traffic jam in there for good measure.  Ahh yes, another unforgettable moment on the bridge!

What TCKs Do For Fun

Growing up in Nigeria, there was nothing that made me happier than the local garbage pile. It was a treasure trove of tin cans, boxes and other pieces of junk just waiting to be imagined into something new. Thirty something years later and that still seems to be a third culture kid's favorite toy chest.

It was three weekends ago that a town sprung to life on our campus made from cement blocks, junky pieces of wood, broken tile, cans, toilet paper rolls and all manner of other items. For the past three weeks, when the recess bell rings this "town" becomes a busy center of activity - buying and selling with bottle caps as money, sweeping and cleaning, building and fixing. This town has a bank, a mayor, a military camp, stores and even houses with generators (after all we do live in Niger)!

Here is the thriving metropolis!

A closer look inside a house.  Great care is spent each day in sweeping away the dirt from each yard.

A "No Trespassing" sign!

And why not?  As the sellers of the sweepers (a section of a tree branch),
their product is in high demand and must be protected.

These propietors are a tad bit more welcoming.

Next door is the bank.  Notice the flag out front.

The local farm.

Every town needs a military encampment ...

with soldiers keeping guard.

Here's the mayor's house.

I'm thinking he needs to upgrade because he doesn't even have a generator like these folks here!  (Pringle can on the left is the ever essential generator.)

There are several Tonka trucks and a bulldozer that industriously make the rounds through town each day picking up garbage and transporting stuff.  Somehow I missed taking their picture.  So there you have it - 50 or so TCKs using their imaginations and this is what you get.  Fun for everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Construction Zone

We are in the middle of building an administrative wing on the end of our high school building.  This will be our first two story building on campus and today was the day chosen to pour cement for the second floor.  Here in Niger you don't call the cement truck to deliver you load after load of cement for your floor.  The entire amount of cement was hand mixed and poured by about 50 men today.

You can see that it took a lot of people to get the job done. In the foreground and to the right, the men are mixing the sand and rocks which was then added to the pile of cement on the left and mixed with water.

Once the cement was mixed on the ground, the men under the platform threw it up on to the platform.

From the platform the cement was thrown up to the second floor where it was placed in a wheelbarrow and poured out to make the floor.

The entire floor had to be hand mixed and hand poured in one day.

All in a day and night's work! Apparently, they won't be done until 3 or 4 in the morning!
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