Friday, April 10, 2015

A Visit to Maradi

What an incredible blessing to be under the care of a God who knows exactly what we need right when we need it.  This past week, I had the privilege of visiting some amazing people and good friends from home.  Our time together was worth every minute of the 10 hours it took to get there!  I am so grateful for this family and their complete openness in having me in their home for 4 days.  And it was so fun to tell everyone that Rachel actually used to babysit me :) neat it is that God knew we would both be coming to Niger at the same time and that we would both need this encouraging time together.  God is sovereign!

I left Sahel's campus Tuesday morning at 5:00am with a student from the dorm and her dad. They graciously gave my roommate and I a ride out East to a city called Maradi for a bit of Spring break.  Speed bumps, naps, desert sand, sparse green, yellow flowers, coke on the way, lunch in the truck, stories, testimonies, a stop in Galmi to see friends...and after 10 hours of road, we arrived in Maradi at 3:30pm.

During my visit, we stayed quite busy. Up with the sun, I spent the morning reading, children playing in the yard, Rachel feeding the chickens and making breakfast.  Much of my stay, the sky was overcast, but it brought a bit of rain for a couple mornings!   I was welcomed right into their routine, helping with school in the morning; math, reading, Hausa.  I loved spending time with the kiddos, reading hours of Peter Pan and playing games.  Rachel was a wonderful cook and prepared a few Nigerien dishes I had never eaten before; a porridge-like dish called kunu and small fried pancakes called kossi!

We enjoyed  a couple visits to the neighbor's house.  What a pleasure it was to meet the beautiful children.  Since I don't know Hausa, the local dialect, I couldn't communicate except through laughter, giggles, hugs, and smiles.  We brought a bit of candy for the family and I played games with the girls.  Such joy!

 We went to the bush for an afternoon.  Michael and Rachel gave the young school girls dresses that a supporting church sent them.  The sun was hot and the sky was clear this day.  The shade and breeze provided a bit of relief from the heat.  The women went about their daily business, grinding millet and corn.  I had my first experience trying to mash the millet, and let me tell you, it's not an easy task!  They skillfully throw the tall pestle in the air, clapping their hands before catching it and pounding it directly into the large wooden mortar!  Amazing.  We toured the school a bit and the kids played on the playground before leaving.  Luckily, the car didn't get stuck in the sand!

After visiting other missionary friends - cuddling the newborn kittens and sitting on the porch swing with their 9 month old - we had a movie night...Kung Fu Panda!  We attempted to make popcorn, but I think the kernels were duds, because they burned before popping properly.

On Friday night, we were invited to a Seder dinner by an SIM missionary couple.  What a neat experience!  It was wonderful to be with such wonderful people to celebrate and remember the power of the Gospel.  Everything we ate was symbolic and scripture was read throughout the night to remind us of the significance of the celebration.  (If you'd like to read more about it visit this website:

Saturday morning, Michael drove me to the bus station for a 10 hour bus ride back to Niamey.  We left the station a little before 5:00am.  I nestled into my seat to sleep and only 20 minutes later, the bus stopped.  I opened my eyes to find passengers gathering their mats for call to prayer.  Only in Niger.  We continued our journey with frequent stops, picking up other passengers.  Soon our bus was full and I found myself seated next to a large Nigerien woman.  No AC, a bus buddy taking up about half of my seat and a child puking in the seat behind me made for an interesting ride.  But I made friends with the girl across the aisle; we are about the same age.  She offered me some of her lunch and showed me the toilets (which are really a hole in the ground).  We attempted to communicate in my broken French.  As I sat looking around me, I realized that I was the only white person on board, and quite possibly the only Christian.  Pray for Niger.

I arrived home, picked up at the station by some good friends, around 4:00pm.  It was a long 12 hour journey, but I made it!  Maradi's slow and quiet pace of life contrasted Niamey's quick hustle and bustle.  It was a true break to be with friends who felt like family.  I am so thankful for their willingness to host me!  I can't wait for our next visit!

No comments:

Post a Comment