Suzanne turned 18 on May 22nd. A fellow student, Rufus, celebrated his 17th birthday on May 23rd. Since he lives in the dorm, we threw a party for the two of them together. The high school is small so the kids do a lot where everybody is invited and the kids are so busy it would be difficult to have two parties in one weekend.
We invited the 11th and 12th grade classes to go with us to the sand dunes outside of town. I spent the day fixing food: tzatziki, maccaroni salad, cupcakes with four colors of frosting, and baked beans. I also had to make a trip to the store and make sure the Cokes were cold.
We borrowed a fellow missionary family's car and piled everybody into their vehicle and ours. Here in Niger people can ride in the bed of pick-up trucks, so we had plenty of room for the 17 who went. We parked our vehicles at the bottom of a hill....we discovered we probably could have driven a little farther up. At any rate, we hauled the coolers of sodas and food and other paraphernalia up to the top of the dunes.
The kids made it to the top much faster than we did. John and I had to stop and talk to the dude you have to pay to park there. I guess it is a government thing to protect the dunes from the tourists. It really is amazing that for as many expats as go up there that there isn't trash everywhere, but it's not like that at all. We were also the last up because I was so slow....going up hill in sand is not as easy as you might think!
We had a great panoramic view from up there.
The kids had a fun time jump off the dunes and trying to climb back up. Then we ate supper. We had the coolers perched on the edge of the dune. Basically one side was a gentle slope down and the other was a drop off. So we had to balance the stuff on the only flat surface which was the edge of the dune! Never the less, sand was in all the food. It must have tasted good anyway, because it all disappeared.
Some Nigerien boys were down in the streambed playing soccer, so a bunch of our guys went down and joined them. Even in the evening it was probably about 105 degrees and we went through our five gallons of water in no time flat and drank 24 Cokes. The kids were still extremely thirsty so we abandoned the plan of singing worship songs in the dark and went home for more water. We went through another three gallons of water there. After a game of Mafia, people were still thirsty, but the cold water was gone and it was time to go home anyway.
On Saturday night we took Suzanne out to a Chinese restaurant for Chinese fondue. Ever since my sister-in-law, La-nee, served this to us it has been a family favorite. A boiling pot of water with spices in it is put in the middle of the table. Then there are plates of raw meat, vegetables, and vermicelli. You drop the stuff into the boiling liquid, then fish it out and dip it into a spicy sauce. Very delicious!
After supper, we came home and gave Suzanne her gifts. Daniel had brought her a very nice study Bible from the US. We gave her all Nigerien-made gifts, but they were all specially designed for her. One was a metal box with African scenes painted on it. We also got her a silver Africa necklace. And we had a messenger bag for her computer (that she doesn't own yet!) and a tote bag made from African cloth. The messenger bag is on the right hand side of this picture. By the way, we are opening gifts on our bed so we could enjoy the air conditioning. No AC in the living room!
I hope you'll excuse a little parental bragging, but Suzanne is a real joy to have as a daughter. Of course we have our moments, but we are very proud of her. She is a beautiful young lady on the inside and outside and a lot of fun, too!