Saturday, February 23, 2008

Our "New" House

Since moving to Niamey, we are living in temporary quarters on the Sahel Academy compound. Our temporary house is meant to be for a single person or perhaps two singles. It's not a bad size, really, except that the bedroom was not designed for a double bed! After living in town in Tera, this location is really quiet! One of my friends from Tera visited and said the house was too lonely. I'm enjoying the peace and quiet and having Suzanne's friends drop in whenever they want.

The kitchen door is not really the front door. But our desk is in front of the front door and people have used the kitchen door for years, anyway. Kind of hard to break old habits. I really like this kitchen. It's light and has plenty of cupboard space. There isn't a lot of counter top but I'm finding it sufficient. There is a nice pantry off the kitchen. The fridge and stove are borrowed. I HATE the stove and it hates me. It is very difficult to light (European stoves don't seem to have pilot lights). One night it filled with gas before I got it lit. It went Kaboom! and my hand was in the middle of the kaboom! I got a pretty nasty burn.

This is the wall between the kitchen and dining room/kitchen. I love that big built-in cupboard. The doors open from both the dining room and the kitchen. That makes putting dishes away a breeze.

The dining room and living room are one big room. This is the table. It's a small enough room that we keep the table against the wall unless we have company. We are using furniture that came with the house. Check out the beautiful orange molded-plastic chairs!

This is the living room. The furniture is pretty comfortable. We have our own bookshelf, desks, filing cabinet, and TV in the living room. It's a little small, but not too bad. We're used to small and our new place will be small, too!
This is Suzanne's room. The curtains came with the house. They are.....ummm......interesting. Definitely strange with her Coral Reef-theme comforter. Same color themes going on there anyway.
Between Suzy's room and our room is the bathroom. It's bigger than the bathroom we had in Tera. Here's our very small bedroom. When I get out of bed, I pretty much have to move sidewise. The cupboard door won't open all the way, either.

The worst thing about this house is that we have to move again in a few weeks!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cute Kids

While we were still in Tera one of my friends asked me to take some pictures of her kids. These are the youngest two children out of five or six kids. I took a bunch, but these were the best of the lot.
My friend. I've never been able to figure out why they don't like to smile in pictures.

Mom and son. They didn't know I was taking this one.

She's such a sober thing. Every now and then I get a smile out of her, but mostly she just sits on her mom's lap.

Why is it that little kids always want to chew on their shoes?

Isn't he the cutest thing ever?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Moving! creates all sorts of mixed emotions. There is at the same time excitement about the newness of what lies ahead and sadness over saying goodbye. When you tear up roots that have been in one place for 16 years and transplant them in another place, the plant wilts, but as it is watered and nourished it settles in and starts to grow again. We feel a lot like a plant....uprooted, but at the same time starting to perk back up.

Getting our stuff from Tera to Niamey has been interesting to say the least. Our friend, Tim Kusserow, came up with his truck one day and took a load down. Then Ed Chamberlain came with Ray White and took another load in his truck. We've taken down two loads in our truck so far. We will need to rent a bigger truck for the big furniture.

We are living in a temporary home with borrowed furniture while our place is being renovated (I'll do a blog on that another day). So we didn't want to bring it down and have to move it twice. It is still in Tera awaiting the final moving day.

So, here's the story in pictures!
John taking down the solar system. Because we put it in and own all the components of it we took it out and hope to sell it. Suzanne took this picture. I'm glad I didn't see him standing on two stools on top of the desk!

Another one of those last-minute details. We had an aviary in the yard. Last Easter Daniel and Joseph took it down, but didn't have time to take down the supporting poles, so John and Luke did it. We were really glad Luke could spend the weekend between conference and moving to help us! He and John did a lot of the heavy work.

Luke says, "Does anybody have a good plan here? My back's killing me!"

Maybe if we turn it this way it will fit in.

Luke Ardill and Tim Kusserow work on loading up the truck. Tim has this ladder-like contraption that he can hook to the front of his truck, then attach an extension to it that reaches from the cage over the top of the cabin of the truck and right on out over the hood. They decided not to use it, though.

Packing up stuff in our room, moving out suitcases.

Luke shoves in one more box.

Come on! We can pile it a lot higher than this!

John, Ed, and Luke figure out how to load our truck.

Ready to roll! Ed's truck and ours. He has a cage on the back of his so could load up more stuff than we could.
We borrowed a pet taxi for Midnight. She was a bit distressed at first, but then she settled down and slept most of the way. I think being confined to a box gave her a feeling of safety. In fact, once we got into the new house, she spent most of her time in the pet taxi. She didn't want to come out into the big, scary house! (Actually, it's a small house, but it's big to her!) She's ok now.

On the road with a load of stuff....crossing one of the many bridges on the road.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Installation of a New Chief for Tera

A few weeks ago we were able to attend something that hasn't happened for 24 years...a new chief was given power in Tera. The old chief died suddenly last summer and this man was his replacement. We went about an hour late which turned out to be an hour early....which means the ceremony started two hours late. It was pretty interesting anyway. I think I'll just post the pictures and explain them a bit.
Different chiefs coming to the ceremony. The guys in the colorful outfits are bodyguards.

This is John and some of the men who helped plan the ceremony. The man on the far right is our landlord.

These guys are playing traditional instruments. Three of them are playing hollowed out gourds. The metal rings on their fingers make a hollow clacking sound. The other guy is playing a sort of violin. Standing up is a man playing a drum that he squeezes under his arm to make different sounds when he hits it.

This horse was beautifully decked out. He stood in front of where we were sitting. But he never did anything. We thought maybe the chief would ride him around the ring, but it didn't happen.

These were gifts the Fulani of the area brought to the chief.

The short man in blue is the prime minister...the 2nd most powerful man in Niger. Guess who the guys in black suits and shades are?!

Me in the crowd. We were seated in a ring around the soccer field. The chief was seated in the middle of the soccer field. The kids behind me are standing behind the roped off area.

Suzanne got an up-close shot of the new chief. Part of the ceremony was wrapping the turban on his head. The turban is a symbol of power. We couldn't see the wrapping, though, because of the crowd. He sat under a blanket that was held by people the entire time.

Suzanne and Luke Ardill (a short-termer who was visiting us in Tera) got close to the chief. He is sitting under the blanket they are holding up in the center of the picture.

OK, this guy really impressed me. These are pounding pots and they are really heavy. This guy was holding one pot in his mouth, taking most of the weight on his chest. Then he had two balanced on top of the first one. He must have terrifically strong teeth!

This was the special music. They sang the chief's praises.

The camels stood outside of the roped in area for most of the ceremony. Then they came into the circle near where the chief was sitting. Some of them knelt down, got right back up, and left the ring. That's all they did!

These horses were all decked out, but they never really did anything!