Thursday, December 17, 2015

What's a Little Bug Between Friends?

About a month and a half ago, I found this big bug going into a restaurant.  He was deader than a doornail so I decided to pick him up, wrap him in a tissue and put him in one of the little compartments between my car seats.  I planned on showing him to my students when we talked about insects.  We have yet to talk about insects so there he sits all wrapped up in his tissue - at least that's the way it was until this morning...

He happens to be sharing a compartment with my school gate pass.  This morning my friend, Bev and I drove up to the school gate.  Someone was in front of me and someone behind me.  I reached down to grab my pink gate pass and couldn't find it.  Feeling pressured because of the car behind me I began searching a little bit more frantically.  I grabbed the tissue for some reason, thinking to search every possible place the card could have gone. I unwrapped it quickly having completely forgotten what was inside. 

When I saw the bug I freaked out (just a little bit) and yelled, "What is that?"  Being the thoughtful, nice friend that I am I then proceeded to throw the bug away from me and onto Bev's side of the car.  As you can imagine, I wasn't the only one freaking out any more.  Bev yelled louder than me, "What is that???" and started dancing in her seat.  By this time it had registered with me that it was just my dead bug and I was laughing hysterically.  I don't think Bev had the benefit of that knowledge...

However, she is still speaking to me so I say, "What's a little bug between friends?"

Some things to be noted:
1.  This kind of experience will get your blood pumping in the morning.
2.  This might have been the best laugh I have had in a long time!
3.  Bev's crazy eyes are pretty CRAZY!

Monday, November 30, 2015

How to Catch a Runaway Cow

The drive home is never dull and today was no exception.  We learned how to catch a runaway cow - Nigerien style and of course, this being knowledge that you might soon have need of, I am here to fill you in on the process.

Supplies needed:
  • runaway cow
  • four able bodied and fast men
  • two motorcycles
  • two ropes

Step 1:  Get your cow good and angry so that he runs like a crazed maniac, slobbering and sending women and children scampering out of harm's way.

Step 2:  Two men on foot should begin the chase with ropes in hand.  As you get close to the cow, you may either throw your rope with a pre-tied loop around his horns or at his feet with the intention of snagging him.  Don't expect to be successful right away.  In fact, this will probably make your cow more determined to escape.  Move on to step three.

Step 3:  You will need to two friends on motorcycles to zoom up.  Hop on the back as fast as you can and make sure your rope is with you.  Follow your runaway cow onto the main street because of course, everyone - even cows know that you can go faster on the open road!

Step 4:  Have your friends drop you off ahead of the mad cow so that you can lay in wait.

Step 5:  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again....and don't worry this is Niamey, nobody but the crazy North Americans following you will think twice about all this going down in front of their eyes.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year...Report Card Time!  Did I just say that?  I'm kidding really but I do enjoy report card time because it's when I discover these awesome little writing treasures in my student's writing folders.

First here are some of my little writers being very serious about the business of writing.


Now for the treasures!

The back story for this one is that one day my electrician (designated student to turn the lights on and off) went into our second classroom where he was to turn the lights on.  Sitting right below the light switch  was a big black spider.  He screeched and immediately went to the other side of the room where he turned on the lights.  Meanwhile, I killed the spider and teased him that one day he was going to have to be brave enough to kill spiders for his wife.  A day or so after this incident, we went into the room again and he crossed to the other side of the room to turn the lights on.  He didn't want anything to do with the scary spider light switch!  So after all of that I found this little gem in his writing folder. 

Telling it like it is, I would say!  I'm convinced there's a brave guy in there somewhere.

This second one just makes me laugh because of his plans for the terrible creature of which he writes...not to mention the way the incorrect spelling of "like" changes everything. :)

"Why I don't like cockroaches they are ugly."  And the little guy says, "Down the toilet!"

No argument here, little guy.  You've definitely got the right idea!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sahel Academy Spirit Week 2015

Every year before the annual NUTS softball tournament here in Niamey, Sahel Academy celebrates spirit week.  We break out our nuttiest costumes and our most amazing cheers.  Here's a peek into 2015's Sahel Academy Spirit Week.

Monday was Sweets Day.  I loved this little guy's fruit salad and then there is the most refreshing sweet of all - Coca-Cola!

I thought the bottle opener was an awesome touch.

Tuesday was Fanatic Day so the kids all dressed to show what/who they cheer for.  Here's a picture of my whole class minus one student.

Wednesday was class theme day.  We chose to be Minions. I made myself into GRU and even had a bald head.  What!!!!

Better than that though was the Benji Minion pictured beside me in this photo.  His costume was awesome.  He had a bit of a hard time seeing through it which provided some very entertaining moments as he stumbled here and there and tipped from side to side.  It was great fun!

Before school started that morning, I could hear my students all the way down the sidewalk and into my classroom yelling, "Banana! Banana! Banana!"  You know you're in for it when....

And here's the whole bunch of Minions together.

Thursday was Futuristic Day.  For all you saggy pants haters out there - this one cracked me up!

Friday was Sahel Spirit Day and that, of course is when all the fun goes down.  For example, First Grade won an ice cream party for being the best dressed elementary class for class theme day.  They were over the moon excited!

Then there were the cheers/dances.  These guys had been practicing a dance choreographed by one of our seniors for over a month.

And this year the girl's kept the Sahel Academy Haka alive.  Go girls!  You were awesome!

Breaking Ground

Exciting news!  On October 2nd Sahel Academy broke ground on a new elementary wing.  We have been talking about this building for the last year and a half so it's exciting to see the work beginning.  In our current elementary wing, we have four large classrooms.  In our old elementary wing there are two small classrooms which my class is currently occupying.  These two classrooms are fine when classes are small but they are inadequate when classes are over 10-12 students.  For that very reason, our kindergarten has, until very recently, occupied one of the original buildings which is set far back into the corner of our campus away from all of the other classrooms.  This new building will allow all the classes to have their own large space.  We will be together and no one will have to move from year to year. Yippee!  Because it will be a two story building there will be space for an elementary computer lab down the road and more classroom space for middle school as it is needed. 

Pictured above from left to right is our SIM Niger construction manager, our SIM Niger director, our youngest Sahel student and our new Sahel Academy School Director.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer Meanderings

It's been a coon's age since I posted on here.  How long is a "coon's age" anyway?  Something to ponder while I catch you up on my summer meanderings.  This summer marked the halfway point of my term so I headed back to the US for some time with my family.

I spent about a week and a half with my family in South Carolina before heading down to Atlanta for a weekend.  I only took one picture the whole time I was in Atlanta.  Shame, shame!  Well at least it was a good one of me and my friend, L.  We have been friends since my first year of teaching.  I might not have made it past my first year of teaching without her encouraging presence.

The rest of the weekend was filled with time with good friends in Atlanta - tubing (where I earned a wickedly weird sunburn), a barbecue, visiting my home church, hanging out with precious people for a very short amount of time.  From there I hit Toccoa to spend a night with my favorite Nigerien Neighbours, a precious gift indeed to spend a night with them and then it was on to see some good friends in Franklin, NC.

After a night or two back in South Carolina I headed up to Toronto to be with some good friends of mine.  We spent several days at a cottage together.  I enjoyed sitting out on the dock by the lake. 

Here we all are after enjoying a breakfast by the lake!  These women have been amazing friends for over 20 years.

Before leaving Toronto, I spent an afternoon with M & C exploring downtown Toronto.  There was a lot going on as Toronto was playing host to the Pan-American games.

Here we are in Nathan Phillip's Square.

They had several music stages and some funky musical acts like this one that was tooling around on a very interesting contraption.

I thoroughly enjoyed walking one of my favorite cities with my friends.

After a week in Toronto, I headed back to South Carolina for more time with the family.  Here we are enjoying downtown Rock Hill.

My last week included a little meet in the middle road trip with K which turned out to be a little more of an adventure than either of us would have hoped for.  K's car ended up breaking down so while we waited for a tow truck till the wee hours of the morning we took pictures together, laughed and enjoyed our unplanned adventure and the gift of more time together.

All too soon, these summer meanderings were over and I had to head home to Niger.  I'm not going to lie, saying goodbye was hard but I'm thankful for God's comfort even through that and just for the sweet gift of being together with family and friends.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Jumping Up to Middle School

It was January 2012, I took a picture of my then second graders jumping off the sidewalk.  Then just cause it was such a fun picture, I immortalized them in black and white as my blog header. 

It's 2015 and those second graders just graduated from fifth grade and they are moving on up to middle school.  So just for fun I took another picture, same location, same order.  It's amazing that in such a transient community the core group of this class is pretty much the same.  They are still amazing kids!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stranger than a High Schooler and Other Admiring Notes

In every First Grade Teacher's Life there comes a moment when you have to make a choice - correcting the spelling or letting it go because it's just too funny to change.  I chose poorly here because this note literally read,

Daer Coach,
You are stranger than a high schooler...
Don't ask me why I didn't just focus on fixing the word "dear" and leave the rest of that awesomeness alone!

This note is pretty awesome too because it looks like coach is out on the field with his hair dryer.

Better than that might be the picture of the bulging bicep inside the card.

There is nothing like a note from a First Grader to bring a little joy to the day unless of course it's a quality quote.  It just so happens that I have one of those too.  We were talking about how the Israelites were always grumbling.  So I asked the kids if they ever grumble.  Mr. Vocabulary raises his hand and says, "Yes, I grumble when I don't get my duty sleep!"  I laughed and said, "You mean your beauty sleep?"  He was pretty confident that it was "duty sleep."  So another little boy tried to help him out and said, "Yeah well it's dudey sleep cause he's a dude!"  Clever little guy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Targets, Ombre, Chevrons and All Things Crafty

Just thought I would post a few of my favorite recent card creations.

I decided to use my circle dies to create a rainbow target and then pop a word out from the middle using the scripty thanks die from Lawn Fawn and a Hello die from Papertrey.  I loved the way these turned out.

Then I had a little ombre chevron action happening in these ones and used the same dies to cut out the words for these two cards.

I love this last little card for its color combination and that sweet little "Congrats" stamp from Stampin' Up's Your Perfect Day set. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy, Happier, Happiest

I've been on a forced blog break due to a dead computer and the work of learning to use a new one.  But I am back with this gem of a picture that I hope will leave you feeling...

happy, happier, happiest.
If that doesn't do it for you then perhaps some First Grade dance moves and muscle love will.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Fools in My Fridge

Thanks to one of my former students, I received a highly amusing gift on my birthday.  She made her way into my house and filled my refrigerator with a bunch of silly characters.  

A sign of things to come!

Ha. I love the bushy mustache and tie man. For my Sahel Peeps...makes me feel like Paul David Tripp is in my fridge and that's just funny! :)

The eggs are just too funny!

I realized today that the guy behind the mustard bottle is supposed to have bushy it!

I surely do love to laugh and this is certainly the gift that keeps on giving in that department.  Thanks for giving me the gift of laughter, HR!  This might just be the best birthday gift I've ever received.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Mosquitoes Are Driving Me Batty

Lately, there has been some repair work going on to get the sprinkler system working properly so that the lawn right outside my classroom can stay nice and green.  That's meant a lot of standing water and a direct increase in the mosquito population.  Last Friday I literally had mosquitoes swarming in the classroom.  So, of course, I have been strongly promoting a closed door policy.  But then there's that one time when a fellow teacher stops by and stands in the open door to visit and who should swoop in for a visit but Mr. Bat. Perhaps he heard that the eating was good what with the abundance of mosquitoes and all!

Now I've had a lot of visitors to the classroom - a swarm of bees, a scorpion and a water scorpion to name a few.  But this was my first time to have a bat drop by.  It was nice of him to consider helping us with our mosquito problem but with all his swooping and carrying on it would have been hard to focus on learning.  (Really, I just didn't want everyone to hear me screaming like a girl!)  So I called some friends to help me catch Mr. Bat and send him on his way.

Bye, bye, Mr. Bat!

(No children were traumatized in the making of this story.  They were away in French class.)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hoofin' It

Well, now this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Hoofin' it through town!"

There are loads here in Niger and then there are LOADS!  I can tell you straight up that this wouldn't be a load upon which I would like to find myself precariously perched.


(Hope nobody is too grossed out...but sometimes you just have to share because otherwise no one would believe the things you see!)  :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Barcelona Day

Picture this:
About 20-25 boys playing soccer on a basketball court.  You scan the crowd and see a bunch of them running around wearing the same jersey...Did they call each other?  You know, prearrange this somehow?

Not according to them.  They just rolled out of bed and simultaneously decided it was Barcelona Day.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

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