Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September's Start.

Can you believe it's already September?!  It doesn't quite feel like it here since the weather is still so hot, but tea-drinking must commence regardless!

The beginning of the week came with little warning...weekends seem to fly by so quickly.  On Monday, September 1st a new student joined our second grade class, so I now have 15 students (which is about twice the size of some of the other classes here!).  He is from London and speaks excellent English (with a British accent!).  Adjusting to having a new student made me feel like I was rewinding the progress I had made with the others concerning established routines.  But by about Wednesday, he was catching on and things went along quite nicely.

Every Monday after school, we have staff meetings at Sahel Academy.  On the first Monday of each month, we celebrate staff birthdays.  So we feasted on delicious chocolate cupcakes, pineapple, bananas, and Coke!  Happy Birthday to anyone who had a birthday in August or September!

Tuesday began the first weekly after-school beginners French lessons for any Sahel staff who desire to learn!  We went over numbers, letters, greetings, and introductions.

On Wednesday after school, I went to an orphanage with some of the high school students.  Each week a group of high schoolers puts together a few games and a little message for the thirty some orphans ranging in age from about 4 to 16 years.  It was really neat to be able to witness the ministry and relationships that have been built between the local orphans and students of Sahel.

Wednesday night, my roommate made dinner and we had company!  Steve and Mikki Schmidt have been in Niger with SIM for over 20 years.  What an incredible legacy they are leaving.  It was fun to get to know them more while eating delicious food.  (Rachel pulled out a chocolate pudding packet she brought from home!  Since you can't get that here, it was a nice treat!)

I have been meeting with a godly woman and good friend after school on Thursdays.  What a blessing it has been to be able to talk with her about school, teaching, life, questions, etc.

Friday after school, Amanda (another teacher at Sahel) coached me through the making of a skillet (eggs, potatoes, veggies, meat) for the TeachBeyond brunch the next morning.  And what's nice about living on campus is I was able to easily go back to my classroom and finish planning for the next week.  Friday night, I watched some TV shows with friends, baked/ate cookies, drank coke from a straw, and snuggled!  A good start to the weekend!

On Saturday morning, TeachBeyond staff at Sahel met together to have brunch. There are only 5 of us, so it made it nice for conversation.  As I sat there eating and chatting with these new friends, I thought to myself, "This would never happen in the states...a young couple in their late 20s, a fresh out of college single lady (that's me), a retired Doctor who is teaching high school science and math, and an elementary principal...all eating brunch together!"  It was delightful :)

Afterwards, we went fabric shopping!  I must admit that being in the market is a bit overwhelming and my intuitive roommate treated me to ice cream/milkshake afterwards.  I am so grateful for the people that have been here to help me transition and process all that living in Niger entails.  It was so good to be able to talk with her about all of the cultural changes and frustrations I have been having.  We came home afterwards and watched the second softball game (they play every Saturday).

What I failed to mention thus far is that I was able to skype my entire family over the course of the week!  I didn't intentionally plan for that, but it was SO NICE to connect with my brothers (each on a different night) and my parents.  Saturday I skyped with my mom and was a much needed meeting, as I was feeling quite homesick.

So, life in Niger continues.

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