When we came back the end of July, we had been gone for two years. So many things are exactly the way they were two years ago. But some things have changed.
Our MK school, Sahel Academy has grown a lot, increasing in numbers every year. The biggest change there is the new classroom and administration building. These pictures were taken a couple of weeks before school started and there was still a lot of work to do to get the building ready. The outside has now been stuccoed, tiling was laid upstairs, the stairs have been cleaned off, the lights have been hooked up, and the upstairs classrooms are in use. The offices will soon be in use as well. In this picture, it was still very much under construction and there were no lights in the building. But you can see the stair case....this is our first double-story building at the school.
Another thing that is quite different from the old days is that there is now a green softball field/soccer pitch. It's pretty amazing to see this much green in one place!
The town also has a brand new bridge. The bridge was under construction when we left. It's pretty impressive, with a total of four lanes. As you can see, however, there isn't much traffic on the bridge. The road at the end of the bridge that connects it from where you've been to where you want to go is TERRIBLE. So most people only use it if they live close to it or if the other bridge is blocked up.
Lastly, there are these new structures all over town, mainly on the roads coming in to town. I'm told they are to keep trucks that are loaded sky high from entering town. Trucks that have their loads higher than these structures also tend to have problems driving under power lines, telephone lines, tree branches, etc. and usually end up pulling something down that creates a huge inconvenience for everybody else.
Oh! And one last thing....there are solar-powered street lights in some parts of town. They are really cool, using one of Niger's natural and free resources....sunshine! Since the sun shines almost 365 days a year, it might as well be used. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the lights.