Saturday, January 30, 2016

Home Again

After our visit to the States for Christmas, my parents and I arrived to Niamey late on Saturday, January 9th.  The next day, I took time to rest, welcomed by a cool morning, sunshine warmth.  A definite change from Pittsburgh.

Monday, there was a lot of work to do.  A week of work, and one day to do it all!  By God's grace, the planning and preparations all got done.  And I was ready to teach on Tuesday.  Of course, the 6 hour time difference made the first week of teaching a bit challenging.  I lay awake all night Monday, unable to will myself back to sleep.  The following weekend brought much needed rest.  I enjoyed my new hammock in the shade of African palms.  (Thanks, Chad!)

Since being back in the classroom, fourth grade has kept busy!  We made pet rocks to go with our geology unit.  We exploded a coke bottle after talking about volcanoes.  And thanks to Jacob and Amy for the "Insta-Snow," we had a snow day!  Students who have never seen or felt snow before were able to get a glimpse of the white magical flakes.  We finished a book called "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle," ending with me dressed up as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle herself!  We've continued to learn about how to research.  Some of the students commented on how much they felt like their parents or college students as they looked through books and encyclopedias to record information in their note books.    We still have a raffle every Friday, which the students so look forward to.  And we continue to pray to start every morning, and now end the day with a "high and low" of the student we prayed for.
There are a lot of changes on Sahel Academy's campus.  My dad has been involved in the construction of the new elementary wing.  The foundation is laid and walls are up!  A team from the States came to replace the roofing on the dorm.  And just this past week, we watched as another team and about 100 Nigeriens poured concrete for the new covered court.  After about 14 hours of hand mixing concrete, filling and dumping wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, and carefully smoothing it all by hand, the court was finally done!

It's good to be back in Niger.  And I am grateful that I didn't completely miss cool season while I was in the States.  The brisk mornings and breezy afternoons are such a blessing.  I have enjoyed meals with family, brunch with neighbors, and game nights with friends.  We even went to the French Cultural Center for an evening of classical guitar!  An afternoon of kite-flying with a student and her family and an evening of tossing the frisbee with housemates are a couple more blessings.  As I adjusted back into the routine of life in Niger, my gracious housemates cooked for me and even did the dishes!  I am overwhelmed by the generosity and love of the community here.  I am looking forward to another semester together!

My housemates and me (Naomi, Lisa, Julie, Hannah)

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