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Showing posts from December, 2011

A Quick Trip to DC

My reason for going to the USA was to try to get Suzanne back on the road to health.  But of course I wanted to spend time with Daniel as well.  I saw him overnight on Thanksgiving weekend and we got to have lunch together, but it was a really brief visit.  

So Suzanne, Theo, Kelly, and I decided to drive down to DC for a weekend.  We finally found one that worked for all of us.  It was an 8+ hour drive.  We stopped once for supper at Wendys and once for gas.  We made good time until we got near Daniel's exit and the traffic was all tied up because of construction.  I guess we finally got to his house around midnight and we had left at about 2:45. 

We saw his apartment and Theo stayed there.  Suz, Kelly, and I had reservations at a hotel.  First we went to the wrong one, then we had to figure out where we were really staying.  We were so tired when we finally dropped into bed.

The next morning we went to McDonald's for breakfast, but there were so many people there that we decide…

Update on Suzanne

As you know, we made a sudden decision for me to go to the USA to visit Suzanne.  She had been sick for over two months.  During that time she had some weeks of feeling better, but after the 2nd time of feeling really good, she felt sick again.  By then she was really discouraged and we felt like some time with Mom might help her get over it.

By the time I got there she was starting to feel some better, but complained about nausea in the evenings.  She was still taking anti-nausea medicine as well.  Gradually she started feeling better.  During my time there, she moved out of the dorm and over to my parents' house where I think she is eating better and more regularly which, ironic as it may seem, helps the nausea.

So what was wrong with her?  We really don't know.  So many people have suggested different things.  Early on she was given a treatment for giardia which actually seemed to help a bit.  But as it kills off the bad bacteria in your digestive system, it also kills off th…

I Love Our Neighbor Kids

We live on a compound with three houses on it.  Our house is actually a duplex.  Currently we live next to a teacher at Sahel Academy.  She's a lot of fun, but will be moving soon.  A couple from New Zealand who will also be working at Sahel Academy, will be moving in there next.  I'm sure we'll like them, too.

The house in front of ours is a family house.  A family of five lives there and they have the best kids ever.  When Suzanne and Theo were in Niger they promised them some good all-out water fights. Here are some pictures from one of the water fights.

These kids are really creative.  Here is a house they built out of mud, sticks, stones, and leaves. I often find them outside in some sort of creative play.

In October/November the dad of the family was gone for a month, so one Saturday morning we had them over for breakfast.  Another night we had them over for supper and then we played Tripoley together.  To sum up the game very briefly, you put chips around on the mat …

A Hippo Hunt

After orientation, I arranged a canoe trip up the Niger River to look for hippos in their natural habitat.  It turned out that quite a few people attending orientation needed to do some shopping while in the big city and Saturday was the only day they could do it.  Another had ended up in the "emergency room" (I use that term loosely) the night before orientation started and that person and several others helping care for him were also unable to come.  And some had already done this, so it turned out to be John and I, the Kim family, the Rupnows, and Christoph.  

We entered a large, what might be described as a dug-out canoe. In French it is a pirogue and in Songhai it is a hi (pronounced hee).  The pirogue had cushions on which we reclined.  Overhead were grass mats to protect us from the sun.  There was an outboard motor on it to get us upstream faster.  The boat man also used a pole to steer the boat whenever we were close to shore. 

Along the way we saw quite a variety of…

Orientation -- an Important Part of my Job

As personnel coordinator, an important part of my job is orienting new arrivals to the field.  This happens in stages.  When they first arrive, I meet with them in my office and go over some things that are important for them to know....things like not using your left hand, taking your anti-malarials, how to recognize when you're going through culture shock, and what you can post on the internet.  Of course, during this initial orientation the new arrival is usually jet-lagged, bleary-eyed, and totally overwhelmed so I'm not sure how much is really absorbed.

As they settle in to their work and ministry, we assign them a mentor.  This has been a bit haphazard, and we are trying to move towards more intentionality in this.  The reason for having a mentor is because as new arrivals go along and begin to process things they begin to have an idea of what questions they really need to ask.  The mentor is there to help them with everything from figuring out how to wash their vegetable…