Sunday, September 29, 2013

For Old Time's Sake

Do you remember when cheese came in a can?  During my earliest years growing up in Nigeria, if we had cheese it had either crossed the ocean with us on our return from furlough or it came from a can just like this one. (At least that's the way I remember things...I wasn't exactly doing the shopping!)

We have no lack of yummy cheeses here in Niamey but I was in a little store on Saturday that happened to have cheese in a can so I decided to buy some just for old time's sake.  You know how the nostalgia of things from your childhood can get to you sometimes!
It was just as I remember it and the only thing that would have made it better is if I had been pulled over somewhere alongside a road eating cheese sandwiches under the shade of an African tree with my family.  Mom, Dad, Kent, I can send you a can....on second thought, perhaps you should just go out and buy yourself some Kraft cheese slices.  It's about the same thing!

Friday, September 27, 2013

From the Rising of the Sun

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
Psalm 113:3

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spontaneous Visit to See the Squash

Every year about this time boatloads of squash come floating up the river on giant pirogues.  I always think to myself, "I should go by there and get some pictures."  But of course, it never happens partly because that area has been a bear to park in and partly because I'm usually tired and on my way home so my desire to get home outweighs my desire for pictures of squash on giant pirogues.  However, now there is an easily accessible area in which one can park so when I drove by this morning and saw this view as I crossed the bridge...

I decided it was worth the effort to go back because of the cool reflections. After parking my car, I walked across the road and not unexpectedly, a man quickly offered to be my "guide" to the squash experience.

These pirogues come up the river from Benin (if I'm not mistaken) and they pull up as close as possible to the bank. The squash is then thrown overboard and floated to shore which you can see in the right hand corner of this picture.

My squash guide informed me that on shore they are placed into piles of 100.


Then the piles are sold.  With two boats having been unloaded and another one in process, you can imagine that the squash business was hopping on this particular day.  There were people buying and selling everywhere.

Once the piles of squash have been purchased they are carried up the side of the bridge and placed on trucks which will take them to markets and other places to be distributed and resold.

My squash guide took me to his pirogue which he said was broken and taking on water.  He felt I needed my picture taken in the pirogue and assured me that he had experience with a camera.  He then proceeded to move the camera about wildly searching for me in the view finder and this was what his first try produced.

Excellent!  I think he might have just pressed the button the minute he located a part of me.  Second attempt was better. (Please excuse the dirty work clothes.)

Then he insisted on taking my picture next to the very picturesque water pumps.  I'll be treasuring this one for a long time to come!

Later I posed with the squash.

I insisted that my self-appointed guide also have his picture taken with the squash.

Don't think that you can't be cool and love your squash too! 

It goes without saying my guide pretty much made this spontaneous trip to the squash patch everything that it was.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Watching the Paint Peel Off the Ceiling

I have been lying around for the better part of the last two weeks watching the paint peel off my ceiling.  What can I say?  I lead an exciting life and it's not often that one could actually claim to be watching the paint peel off the ceiling but in this case, it's the truth.  I give you exhibit A...

the ceiling above my bed.  I had a bout of malaria which had me in bed for four days last week.  Then wouldn't you know it, I had to return to my prone position to ward off another round of something which included more fever and a nasty cough.  Needless to say, looking at this ceiling is getting rather old so I'm distracting myself with a silly poem...


and a little list of things for which I am thankful.

  • a neighbor that is a nurse and a friend
  • friends that bring me drinks, meals, medicine
  • texts, calls and facebook notes from friends who care
  • being able to listen to sermons and Christian radio online
  • thermometers :)
  • a good book like this one to read when I've actually felt up to reading
  • a great teacher's assistant who has been willing to teach for me
  • God's word that puts everything back into perspective
  • and last but not least - silly poems!
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