Friday, August 30, 2013

A Day for Fortifying

There is nothing that a teacher hates more than a rainy day when you've got kids bursting with energy who need to get out and run.  Thursday was just such a day.  It probably started raining at around 8 am and didn't stop until just before 2:30 pm when school let out.  One of our teachers who keeps track of the rain said we received about 2 inches of rain in that time period.  By the time we headed home, the Niger river, a river that just that morning had been significantly lower than the top of the dike, was now dangerously high and bursting with fast moving water.  Friday classes were cancelled as a precautionary measure.  Overnight, the river level which had read 5.4 meters on Thursday morning, rose to 6.1 meters.  Friday was a day for fortifying.

the gate,
the berms,
and the dike.
During the night on Thursday, the river breached the dike to the north of the bridge in the Lamorde quartier, a neighbourhood where several of our workers reside.  One said the water was up to his walls but had not yet entered.  He said that Jacques, whose story you might remember from last year, had already evacuated his family because their home had been flooded.  Please pray for God's protection and provision for these men, their families and the Nigerien people who are once again facing the devastating loss of their homes and crops.
A walk along the dike on our side of the bridge
finds the water lapping against its restraint 
like a bathtub threatening to overflow.
We have done just about all we can to prepare and so we wait and we pray that the things that have been done to fortify the walls around our two campuses will work.

Saturday Morning Update:  After posting this we heard the news that the river went down 15 cm overnight.  That is a huge answer to prayer!

Monday, August 19, 2013


Every year I teach, I pick up little tidbits of information here and there that can be incredibly helpful in teaching kids routines and proper usage of classroom items.  When it comes to manipulatives, which look ever so enticing and very toy like, it is hard for kids to resist the desire to play with them.
In recent years, I picked up the idea that it is extremely helpful to let kids have time to play freely with manipulatives and explore before they are required to use them in the way that the teacher directs.  So every year in the first few days of school, I let the kids loose in groups to try out some of the manipulatives, explore and think of ways that they might help in math. This is an awesome beginning of the school year activity!

Enter the PROJECTOR - light shining from a small box on to a wall at just the right height to place your body parts in front of and make shadows - Hello!  What could be more fun that?  Unless you are the teacher for whom making shadows was not the intended use of the projector.  So said teacher decided that if the free play concept works for manipulatives then it might work for the projector.

30 seconds later, I now know that if you give a First Grader time in front of a projector...

You will have a PROJECTOR PARTAY!
Flailing arms, bobbing heads, craning to be in the light - welcome to First Grade where the thrills are as cheap as they come!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Registering - The Nigerien Way

Just imagine you are planning to get married in the U.S. or Canada.  One of the tasks on the top of your list of things to do would be registering for pots, pans, plates and silverware, linens and various other household items.  Registering for items such as these is definitely not an idea I would have associated with Niger.  So I was surprised last Sunday at lunch time when I learned that such a concept actually exists at one of the shops where many people go to buy African fabric.  You see, when a Nigerien gets married, close friends of the bride or groom will all buy a fabric chosen by the engaged couple and have an outfit made out of it.   So in the local fabric shop the chosen fabric is displayed along with the couple's name, the date and the occasion.  That way you will be sure to buy the right pagne (fabric) for the big day! (For more on a Nigerien wedding go here.)

A couple of other interesting finds in the fabric shop included the presence of the very trendy banners

and the perfect fabric for "Talk like a Pirate Day" which is just around the corner on September 19th.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Lord Helped Us

At the beginning of July on a walk around the Sahel Academy campus you would have been confronted by a whole lot of dirt and views such as these....

Tomorrow these halls, buildings and grounds will be filled with students and their families anticipating the start of a new year.  When they look around they will see...


What can we say? 
The Lord helped us.

If you have prayed,
 if you have given,
if you have put your hand to
the hammer,
the rag,
the wheelbarrow,
the pressure washer,
the dolly,
the paintbrush,
the scissors,
the paper
or any other tool on our behalf...
We say, "Thank You!"
Through you...
the Lord helped us.
The work is not finished but tomorrow we'll stop to celebrate the start of a new school year -
one that begins on our very own campus.
The Lord helped us.
(1 Samuel 7:12)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Amelia Bedelia Was Here

I had my own little Amelia Bedelia moment today.  This year for the first time since my first year of teaching I will have an aid in the classroom.  She spent a few minutes helping me before the start of New Staff Orientation this morning. I asked her to put together my word wall while I had to run out and take care of buying some cokes.
What she understood was this:

What I intended was this:
I had a good chuckle when I came back and found them side by side in those two nice straight rows.   Clearly we weren't quite communicating!
It was funny but it also illustrates the point that whenever you are working closely with other people, communication is extremely important and sometimes hard to get right.  Pray for the Sahel Academy staff as we get to know one another that we would begin building a foundation for good communication with one another, with our students and with their parents.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tonight I Went A Little Wild & Crazy

Tonight I went a little wild & crazy and it wasn't even my birthday!  It was J's birthday. To celebrate her first birthday in Niger she and her husband invited a Gourmanche musician to come play at her party. 
One drummer/singer...

turned into a mini-guitar player,

another drummer with a whole drum set - Nigerien style

and two accompanying dancers and singers.

Here's a little taste of the singing and dancing.

So I can't remember if the drinking or the dancing came first....
(Don't panic!  This is me we're talking about.)
Here I am drinking my first cup of Tuareg tea ever.  What?  Yep, I've lived here 9 years and it's the first time I've ever tried it.  I told you I went a little wild and crazy.
So then the dancing began and I only did that to be a good friend.  Never leave a friend on the dance floor alone!
It was all good until the twist began and that's when I let the birthday girl take over.
She killed it!
There you have it - wild, crazy & maybe a tiny bit more cultured.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...