Sunday, March 22, 2015

Days Gone By

It's been a full week and only one more before break.  Report cards are out and Parent Teacher Conferences commence Tuesday and Wednesday.  Our unit on Vikings is finished and we will continue learning about globe and map skills this week.  I am excited to start a poetry unit with my kiddos, too!

Tonight was the big night.  "I have butterflies in my stomach!" my second grader told me.  The girls looked beautiful in their Easter dresses and the boys handsome in their collared shirts.  Lined up, quiet in the hallway, ready to wow the eager moms and dads, cameras in hand.  Miss Farrer worked hard with grades K-5 this past month preparing for the Easter Musical.  The hours of practice paid off!  They were wonderful!  What a beautiful sound and a powerful message.  He is Risen!

I am looking forward to celebrating my first Easter in Africa.  There have been many firsts for me here.  And while people come and go, I have found a family with whom I can celebrate to make it special.  (I would love to dye eggs, but African chickens lay brown eggs and I'm not sure it would be the same.  New places, faces, and traditions to be made.)

And with time, I have found myself adjusting to life in Niger in other ways.  If you have been keeping up with me since August, you know that I had a bit of trouble with the food...bleaching lettuce too long, failed attempts at yogurt, and melted tupperware.  However, I am excited to inform you that I have come a long way in 8 months!  I have successfully conquered yogurt, made my own bread, granola, homemade salsa, hummus, and tortilla chips.  I have cooked chicken and fried zucchini.  I've baked cookies, cakes, and pies.  While time limits my adventures in the kitchen, I have truly enjoyed making new things!

I have also been given the opportunity to drive in Niger!  Don't be fooled by the smiles.  Aggression is the name of the game.  And patience.  Cows, goats, and sheep meander in front of cars.  The road is shared with donkeys pulling carts of hay and camels with wide loads.  Taxi drivers zip in and out of traffic.  Motorcyclists often carry tall loads of eggs, windows, chickens, or anything else impractical.  I have seen up to 5 people on one motorcycle.  The other day I saw a man climb up onto his camel as it was walking...he just swung his leg over its neck and climbed up!  You never know what you will see in Niger.  Needless to say, driving here is quite the accomplishment and you will never be bored!

This past weekend, I enjoyed some Indian food, dancing, and great friends!  We ate to our hearts' content at the buffet and then danced it all off!  A few Sahel students and their families were involved in putting together the event.  It was so neat to see them in another context and super fun to watch them dance traditional Indian dance!  I tried my best to follow along at the end, and I was surprised and humbled by a student who commented, "You danced better than we do!"  Ha!  If only I could remember the moves!

I helped a good friend from Switzerland celebrate her birthday on Saturday by going out for brunch!  We shopped and then enjoyed a delicious meal with chocolate mousse for dessert.  That evening, we joined some other friends at the dunes.  The dust and sand in the air made it difficult, more like impossible, to see the horizon.  But we sat in the red sand, feeling the dark of the night slowly pull its quiet blanket over us.  Silence echoed in our ears and the fading of light was almost tangible.  After throwing the football and chasing it down the dunes, we started the fire for dinner, hot dogs and chips.  For dessert, chocolate in bananas on the hot coals!  We chatted long into the night, returning home tired and ready for rest.

Did I tell you about the Masquerade yet?!  Last Saturday, Student Council put on a dinner and a dance for the secondary students at Sahel.  It was absolutely lovely, from the decorations to the food to the dancing!  Cameras flashed as pictures were taken.  Volunteers circulated with appetizers, meatballs, pinwheels, and veggies.  I joined the round table of teachers for dinner, candles lit and decorations sparkling.  I was asked to teach dance, and so after dinner, I gave it my best shot.  We waltzed and did a simple two-step.  It was absolutely fantastic!  I didn't know I could teach dancing, but I am so glad that I tried.  And of course, we did the Cupid Shuffle and some other "party" songs!  After crepes and ice cream, a few fireworks were set off to end the night.  What a fun evening!

Thank you for supporting me through your prayers and encouragement.  It has been such an adventure living in Niger and I hope you get a small taste of life here by reading my blog.  May you find peace and joy, but most of all Christ.  Blessings.

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