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Odds and Ends during March

This month has been busy and challenging in many ways.  Driving in Niamey is definitely a challenge .....and it's about to get a whole lot worse! Here's a picture of a typical city driving scene. This truck is taking onions grown in Galmi out of the country.  Onions are actually Niger's biggest cash crop.

And why are things about to get worse?  Well, the rond point (traffic circle) at the end of the bridge and the bridge are about to get a major make-over.
 There will be an over-pass, multiple lanes, and I don't know what all.  So on Friday they blocked off two of the roads leading to/going from the bridge and the madness begins as all traffic is compressed into half the number of available roads.  I suspect it will get a whole lot worse before it gets better.  But when it's done it should be really nice.  It's just that it is supposed to take two years.....two years of even crazier driving than normal.  Thankfully I can walk to work, but parents of school kids have to make that trip twice a day.  Yikes.

We started the month with a trip to Galmi for a two-day orientation seminar.  Thankfully, the trip there was without adventure which is always a good thing.  With trucks like this, though, it's a wonder that we don't see more accidents.  

On the way, there are no comfort stations so as one drives through country side like this, one wonders where they will find a bush to hide behind for "comfort".  We eventually found a good bushy place!  Later we stopped for lunch here.  No, it's not the Grand Canyon, but it's beautiful never-the-less.  Things are very dry right now as we haven't had rain since September.

John and I had a goal for the year, starting in September, of at least once a month paying a social visit to a family or individual in our church or with whom we work.  It's harder than it sounds since everybody is so busy and Niamey is pretty spread out.  It's an aspect of life from the village that we visits happened every day there.  We visited a family from our church in September, a family from the office in October, then we dropped the ball on it in November, December, and January for various reasons. In February we went up to our "hometown".  A few weeks ago we were able to go visit a family we've known for a long time but don't see often since we don't work at the same place or go to the same church.  We had pulled over off the road to wait for him to come show us the way to his house.  There was a shop there so I went in.  I was really surprised to find Aldi Frosted Flakes and Aldi Raisin Bran.  It was a little expensive, but I had grocery money for the month left over so we splurged.  Now, you're probably scratching your head wondering what visiting friends and cereal has to do with each other.  I don't know either....just that one happened on the way to the other!

We have two new babies at the office!  Or I should say, the parents of the babies work at the office.  M's baby was born in a neighboring country and the naming ceremony took place there and his wife and baby just recently returned here.  So the office staff all piled in the van one afternoon and went to meet the new baby.  Then yesterday we went to another naming ceremony for the baby of another employee.  Both babies are boys.

 This month, the thermostat got turned up.  We had a very pleasant cool season and didn't use the air conditioner at all from the beginning of November until the 2nd week of March.  But when the heat hit, it hit with a vengeance.  This is the temperature inside the house.  And we have a fairly "cool" house.  Outside we are hitting 104-106 every day.  This reader doesn't go below 16% humidity, but according to the internet, it is 4% humidity today.  So, yes, it's a dry heat.  And yes, dry heat is better than humid heat.  And yes, heat is still heat.

Work keeps me busy.  I enjoy what I'm doing, but when I try to describe it, it sounds kind of boring.  And the parts that aren't boring are confidential, so there's not much I can write about work!

I tried two new recipes this week.  Unfortunately I didn't think to take pictures of either.  But both will definitely be repeated.  I have a forest of basil growing, so I found a recipe for pesto.  I cooked chicken in a close to grilled chicken as I could make it and served the pesto on noddles.  The recipe is available here.  This doesn't even have to be cooked!  Talk about easy.  Not to mention delicious.

The other recipe I tried was Moroccan Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, available here.  This was a little more complicated to make as there are various steps, lots of cutting and chopping to do, different spices, etc.  But it is well worth the work!  And it always takes me longer to make a recipe the first time because I keep checking it to make sure I'm doing it right.  The nice thing about this recipe is that you can use different veggies depending on what is in season.  Likewise, instead of raisins, you could use dates or prunes.  And, I discovered that it is really good cold as well.  We ate this as a meatless meal, so if you're vegetarian, this is a good one to try.

So, those are some of my ramblings and happenings for the month of March.  There's still a week to go, and I'm hoping it will be a quiet week!


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