Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter in Niger

Being away from family during the holidays is never easy.  There were no Easter traditions this year.  And yet, despite the lack of Easter baskets, chocolate, egg-dying, and a sunrise service, this Easter was made special by the people and new celebrations.

Easter morning, my friend Miriam and I went to church to help everyone prepare.  Miriam used the car to transport chairs and mats to the Easter service location.  We were having church in a mango grove!  It was absolutely lovely.  Though it was hot, the shade offered respite.

Service started at 10:45am and ended around 2:00pm.  The youth sang special songs and the children performed a dance and a play.  After the sermon, it was time for lunch.  We ate chicken in a delicious sauce with baguette.  One pastor asked me if I could eat it all...I didn't think I could, but it was so good!

We chatted and ate in the shade of the mango trees, sipping cold ginger bissap.  Miriam and I walked around the garden and along the dike taking pictures.  Many of the church's youth went for a swim in the river to cool off!  What fun!

I left around 4:00pm and they were preparing brochettes for dinner!  The party was not over!  But my African Easter morning was over and I prepared to celebrate a more "traditional" Easter with some teachers from Sahel.  We ate delicious ham and potatoes, deviled eggs, salad, bread, and broccoli...and ice cream for dessert!  What a lovely way to spend Easter with friends.  I came home that evening and was able to Skype with family as they prepared to have Easter dinner!  I am so thankful for technology that allows my brother in Texas, me in Africa, and the rest of my family in Pennsylvania to all talk to each other at the same time!

Praise God, He is risen!  While I missed family this Easter, I did not miss the commercialism surrounding this sacred holiday.  It was refreshing to focus on the truth of the Gospel and to be away from the bunnies, baskets, and eggs.  I am so thankful for the power of the cross and the implications of the resurrection!

Miriam and I eating lunch under the mango trees!

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