Skip to main content

The Death of a Living Dune

October 2002 was the first time we went to the sand dunes about 40 miles north of Tera. We took our co-workers, Gary and Joy,with us. They had two guests from America with them and we wanted to show them something interesting. The first picture shows John, Gary, and their friends on top of a huge sanddune. From the top of this dune, you could look this picture you can see Joy about in the middle of the picture. In the background you can see some windbreak fencing. Take notice of the bush because that will be our anchor for the rest of the story. (Don't worry, Gary....I won't tell the full story.)

John discovered these dunes when he took somebody to their village in the bush. Across the roads from the dunes is a rather large village and just beyond the village is a lake.

The dunes were living dunes which means that they move with the wind, growing, changing shape, constantly in motion. The problem is, they were encroaching on the town which, instead of being between the devil and the deep blue sea, was between the dunes and the deep blue lake. So a project came in and put up cornstalk fences that acted as windbreaks to keep the sand from moving.

The third picture shows our family in December of 2002, the 2nd time we went to the dunes.

A couple of years passed and we didn't go to the dunes at all. Then in December 2004 we took Mike, Alesha, and Ryan Einfeldt. We were really disappointed because the dunes seemed a lot smaller than we remembered. We had told everybody how beautiful they were and then it was rather anti-climactic.

Then this year we took Jeremy....Jeremy who grew up visiting the amazing dunes in Michigan. Yes, there really are dunes in Michigan! Anyway, we were really disappointed this year. Bushes are growing everywhere and the dunes are just kind of sandy hills now. In this picture, Suzanne is near the top of the dune and the bush that I pointed out to you in the 2nd picture is right behind. Granted, in 4 years the bush probably grew a lot, but the dune definitely shrunk!

I'm sure the villagers are happy that their village has not been swallowed up by shifting sands. But it's disappointing to us because it was such a fun place to roll in the sand and jump off the edge of dunes and just forget your cares for a few hours.

Here is John contemplating the horizon. Again you can see the fencing, mostly broken down, but living bushes are taking its place. By the way, the photo is not really out of focus...there was just a lot of harmattan in the air. (For a good definition of harmattan, see John's blog:

Daniel and Jeremy had a mock battle with some kids who came to look at the strange white people. I think Jeremy, Daniel, and the kids all had great fun chasing each other around the dunes. Note the fencing beyond Daniel.

Well, maybe we'll have to go to Agadez sometime and see the real dunes of the Sahara Desert. Now, those are spectacular. (No, we don't live in the Sahara Desert. We live just south of it.)


wow these pictures were beautiful, thanks for sharing them
Anonymous said…
Sorry I didn't get to comment while you were in the city. Eventually, I'm sure, you'll be back. This has been a great read. Thanks.

I suppose you didn't consider putting the chin whiskers in dreds?

mymeanderings said…
What dunes did I go to? You might not even be able to answer it, but when I was there Mom and Dad took me to dunes that looked like the ones in the first pictures.
So dissapointing that they are not like they were!

Popular posts from this blog

Practice Hospitality

My mother-in-law, Jean, is an amazing person with many gifts.  One of the first things I noticed about her when I was but a young bride, was her gift of hospitality.  It was nothing for her to invite a large group of people over, make each one feel welcome, cook a big meal,and seemingly do it without stressing herself out.  I don't know if hospitality just came naturally to her or if she learned it.  In this picture you can see Jean throwing a party for a class she taught in Nigeria.  

I believe that for me it has been a learned skill.  My parents were hospitable and it wasn't unusual for us to have guests over (though usually not as many at a time as my mother-in-law would do!).  But when I started living on my own, I had to learn hospitality.  The first time I invited somebody over for a meal, the lid got stuck on the pot of vegetables, I put too much salt or soda or something in the muffins, and I forgot to serve milk and sugar with the hot drinks.  I've gotten much bett…

Meat Roll-ups

Tonight I made meat roll-ups.  And I got to use some ingredients that made food prep much easier than normal!  I did make two batches of rolls so that John could have a lactose-free meal.

The first thing to do is to brown some hamburger.  With the main batch I stirred a tin of mushroom soup into the browned meat.  For John's batch, I stirred in flour, some almond milk, and seasonings just enough to moisten it, but not to make it really runny.  In Niger, I would make it the second way since we don't have tinned soup.

Next I made a batch of biscuit dough using Bisquick.  Of course, in Niger, I have to make the biscuit dough from scratch.  I mixed it up with the almond milk.  Once the dough is rolled out in a strip, spread the meat mixture on it.  Roll it up like you would cinnamon rolls and cut into slices.  Lay the slices on a cookie sheet and cook in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

While they're baking, I browned fresh mushrooms in butter (in Niger I would use tinned mushroo…

Happenings in November

Well, here we are, more than half way through December, and I'm just now getting around to telling you about November.  It was a fun, busy, and eventful month.  We were still on vacation and we got in a lot of good family time during the month.

We were still in Ohio with Suz and Theo at the beginning of the month.  Suz and Theo were working hard to get Hezekiah to gain weight.  He kept losing weight for the first few weeks of his life, but he's doing great now.  We tried to spend as much time as possible with Tera so Suzanne could concentrate on adjusting to the new baby ... but mostly just because we wanted to and we enjoy her so much.  

We also tried to get in as many baby snuggles as we could.

Whenever we are in the area, my dad's cousin, Jeanne, invites us for a meal. She is actually closer to me in age than to my dad, so I've always just considered her a cousin and don't try to figure out if she's a second cousin or a first cousin once removed.  Whatever the …