On the weekend of March 9-11, a group of students and staff from Sahel Academy, where Daniel and Suzanne attend, came to Tera for a weekend of hard work. There were 26 in the group....5 staff and the rest students. Even more of the students wanted to come, but we just couldn't host more than that, so the youth pastor picked who would come based on applications and whether or not they had already done a ministry outreach trip this school year.
They were a great bunch of kids. Just the international-ness of the group was a testimony. One of the teachers, a Nigerien, was asked how we could all work together being so different and he was able to witness to the man of how Christ saves people from every tribe and nation. We had Americans, Koreans, a Nigerian, a Ruwandan, a Beninois, a Ghanaian, a Belgian, and a Nigerien.
They arrived Friday night and the men went over to the church property and set up camp. The young women stayed at our house. After supper we had an orientation and devos.
The first activity Saturday morning was a football (soccer) game between Sahel Academy and a Tera team. We were told that they picked the best players in Tera to play us! The final score was 2-6 and, ummmm.....we had the 2. But our guys had great attitudes and played hard. The wind blew ferociously the entire time and kicked up clouds of dust. It wasn't exactly ideal playing conditions!
After the football game, the group divided into three smaller groups.
One group went to Doumba to help them with their church building. They decided on their own to make bricks and put up their own church building. So, the Sahel kids went and helped them move bricks from the place where they were made to the building site. Daniel worked in this group. It will be a small, one-r00m mud-brick structure where God will be worshiped. Hallelujah!
The 2nd group went to the church property in Tera to help dig zai holes. I already explained zais, so if you don't know what they are, look at my previous post or check out John's blog at http://yaaye.blogspot.come.blogspot.com or Jeremy's at http://jeremyinafrica.blogspot.com. As I said previously, Jeremy had dug at least 1/2 of the property single-handedly. Other people had dug some (I dug a wimpy 28!....not all at one time!), so at the beginning of the day, probably 2/3s of the land was dug. They didn't quite get to finish it, but they dug a lot of holes and it is probably now 3/4s finished. Their rows weren't quite as straight as Jeremy's, but they did a good job.
The 3rd group helped me with a kids' club. The kids were pretty well behaved and enjoyed having a story, singing, making a craft, and playing lots of games. We had about 40 neighborhood kids. The work of this team was not as physical, but it was equally exhausting as they had the challenge of trying to communicate with kids whose language they don't know. We did have the Nigerien teacher, Suzanne, and myself in that group, so we were the interpreters.
On Sunday morning, groups one and two went to Doumba for a church service. One of the staff members preached and the kids did special music. The 3rd group stayed with me in Tera and did Sunday School with about 60 kids.
We're having a water shortage in Tera (still). We have a new big storage tank which helps with the problem, but we realized before the Sahel team came up that the tank was filling only about every 3rd night. We knew that with that many people we would really have to ration the amount of water used. Everybody had to use the outside latrine....which means you squat over a hole in the ground...and there's lots of huge cockroaches at night....and it stinks. Everybody got a bucket of water per day for bathing. We put one bowl of water out for washing hands before meals and everybody used the same water. The kids were good sports about it all and some even remarked that it helped them appreciate how easy life is in Niamey.
It was a great weekend and we were really glad the kids could come up. It was a great testimony to work together like that and to be of service to people in Tera.