Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rain for Niger

"Rain, rain go away" is not something you'll ever hear anyone in Niger say. As you know, we have 8-9 months of no rain and very low humidity. We say that from November through February if there could be such a thing as negative humidity, we've got it.

Then in May the humidity comes back with a vengence as the inter-tropical front begins moving north. As it pulls north, it brings the rain with it. Existence in Niger is dependant on the rain we get from June through September. Good rain...good harvest...plenty to eat. Poor rains...poor harvest...famine.

This year it looks like the rains are NOT good at all. Since our last request for prayer there has been some rain, but we need a lot more to get a harvest. In fact, we are going to need rain well into October. Keep praying that rain will come at the right times (it doesn't help if we get it all at one time!) and that the rainy season will go well into October.

Another missionary who lives in Maradi, about 500 miles east of us related that they were having a prayer meeting for rain and while they were praying it began raining. Pray for Christians in Niger to pray and to see God at work in miraculous ways.

I must admit my faith is sometimes weak on this one. Why does Niger have to suffer so much? They already are the poorest country on earth. We dread going back to a famine situation. We have more than everybody around us, so they look to us for help. But we sure don't have enough to help everybody so it always puts us in a tight place.

These are pictures of a dust storm. The inter-tropical front moves north-east, then our storms come from the east (I don't know....ask a weather expert). As they come they pick up the Sahara dust and the early storms of the rainy season are almost always preceeded by a dust storm. Enormous clouds of dust come rolling in. The air is perfectly still as you watch the dust approach. Then it hits with high wind, obliterating the sun and often making it black as night. The clean-up afterwards is huge! It feels like half the Sahara desert was dumped in your house. The storms are so powerful that they are the excitement of the year. Unless you've experienced one it's hard to explain why we actually enjoy them!


Jane Stutzman said...

I have often wondered, too, why Niger seems to be always on the edge of dry, without ample rain, and, therefore, in perpetual famine. I have prayed for the rains to come when they should...I share your concerns for the starving of your people there--it hurts to think about it; it must be unbearable to live amidst it.
Does God see? Does He care? The answers have to be "Yes," and He is loving, wise and powerful. I pray with you that He will intervene, with thankfulness for the rain that has come recently.
And....I also don't understand that you enjoy those dust storms.

Chinglishman said...

Those pictures bring back some memories.
I've been making you dvd's, and there are about 3 shots of dust storms on those.

Carol Wilson said...

Okay, I believe you that the dust storms are enjoyable. One couldn't tell it from looking at the pictures. Your posting combines excellent verbal and visual pictures to make this weather phenomenon come live.

Dusty Penguin said...

First you hear the sound of a train roaring in the distance. Then you yell, "Windows!" And everyone in the family runs at top speed to close all windows, grab laundry off the line (if there's time), shut down the computer, and cover anything you have time to cover. In our house the first term we didn't have louvered windows. We had corrugated metal shutters like the Africans, and it was pitch black in the house. They kept out the dust better than the louvered windows, however. The storm isn't the bad part--it's the dust cleanup! I always figured, however, that it was about time for a good cleaning anyway. But after the first time it's just drudgery!

Palmer said...

Hi Nancy,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I was wondering if you happen to know Chris and Helene Zoolkoski. They are friends of ours from here in Klamath Falls who are working in Niger. He is a doctor there with SIM. Great folks. They, too, had expressed a lot of concern about the lack of rain this year.

You can e-mail me at


Hannatu said...

Yeah, Dusty Penguin, I love the storms, but hate the cleanup. Sometimes we get all that wind and dust and then no rain and that's when you really hate the cleanup.

Palmer, We sure do know the Zoolkoskis. Helene and I went to boarding school together as kids, then we taught together when I was a newlywed and she was still single. We're praying for a miracle for her!