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Showing posts from May, 2007

Sweet 16

Suzanne's 16th birthday was on May 22. Because the 10th graders were taking exams this week, and because her birthday was on a week night, just our family went out for supper on the 22nd. We went to a nice Lebanese restaurant called La Cascade. We gave Suzanne her gifts at the restaurant and she opened them while we waited for our food. We all ordered pita bread and hummus for an appetizer and then Suzanne had a pasta meal, I had steak au poivre, John had chicken, and Daniel had lamb chops. We were all pleased with our meals. We stopped and bought ice cream bars at a grocery story when we took the kids back to the dorm for the night.

Then today, Friday, we had the 2nd part of her birthday. She invited all the girls in her class over and all but two came. Daniel wanted to come for the food, so he invited his friend Joseph Cail to come along. The two of them are always ready and willing to show up for meals!

I made tacos. We can't buy taco shells or tortillas here, but pita bread …

Evolution or a Creative God?

Did you know that there is a fish with lungs? This is no joke! It is not an urban legend....or maybe I should say a desert legend. This is the honest truth!

One of our staff members at Sahel, who grew up here in Niger and in Burkina Faso, told us how he went on a fishing trip in the US. When he told them about this kind of fish, they looked at him like he had lost his mind.

Well, it does seem a little far-fetched. But it's true!



They are called lungfish or more precisely "protopterus".



Many Songhai are fishermen because the Songhai live along the Niger River. The Niger River does not run through Tera, but one of the very large streams that feeds into the Niger River does. My friend's husband is one of these fisherman. A few days ago I was at her house and a huge fish was laying on the ground. I asked her what it was and she said it was a kind of fish that can breathe. In Songhai it is a "siiba".



Now, I looked this guy up on the internet just to get my facts stra…

Trying to Survive the Month of May

Well, folks, I have to tell you that May is definitely the worse month in Niger. If you can survive May, you can survive anything. The only word to describe May is HOT!
So, we came back from Niamey on April 30, looking forward to a good night's sleep in our air-conditioned bedroom. But when we turned it on....no cool air. Well, we made it through the night. John slept outside and I slept inside....we each chose the spot we thought we'd most likely get a good night's sleep.
The next day a guy came to fix it. Or should I say night because it was sundown when he came. He discovered holes in the pipe for the coolant, so he soldered them over, but he kept discovering more. Anyway, he gets it fixed, or so we thought, and we had cool air again.
But in a week, all the gas had leaked out again! So we called a different repairman because the first guy had just been in Tera on business and doesn't live there. This guy came and cleaned it up really nice and put in more gas, but didn&…

No Shower for Over Three Weeks!

I'm sure you know by now about our lack of water. We have no water coming through our taps 24/7. From January to the middle of March we had times when the water was off, but the water storage tank filled up every night, so we had all the water we needed. By the beginning of March, it was filling up about every third day, but with careful use we could make the water in the tank last that long. But now we have nothing, not even a trickle.
The problem is due in part to the explosive growth of the town. Tera is no longer a sleepy little village. It is now a sprawling large town. Now, imagine, by the middle of March the temperature is over 100 degrees every day and in April it is 110 or more just about every day. So all those people are very thirsty and also very hot and smelly. So the consumption of water goes way up. Also, by the beginning of March it has been six months since we've had any rain and the underground water table has gone way down. And then there is the problem with …