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Showing posts from November, 2014

A Whirlwind Trip

Yesterday we got to go up to the village where we used to work.  Two teachers from the school here came with us.  One of them is friends with Suz and Theo so it was really neat for her to see where Suzanne had grown up.
When we got there we went first to my friend’s house, but she is still living out on their farm as they finish up the work from the harvest.  So unfortunately we didn’t get to see her.
Our next stop was to visit John’s friend in his garden.  We couldn’t quite remember which garden was his and pulled over and parked a bit too soon.  But it was fun to walk down the road outside the town where I used to take my morning walks.  When told to skip, they gladly complied. :)
Unfortunately he wasn’t there so we moved on.

Our next stop was at the home of friends.  The lady had been our house-worker, but she was also my cultural mentor. 
Her husband had helped us out several times and even though he is strong in his M_ faith, he was always friendly.  He was genuinely happy to see us …

Coconut, Coconut Milk, and Coconut Butter

Awhile ago I read that coconut is good for thyroid health. There seems to be some disagreement about that. But even if that is not true, coconut oil does have a saturated fat called lauric acid which increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels. It is high in protein and potassium as well as other vitamins. In addition to these purported health benefits, it tastes good! You can read more about coconut here.

I found that I can buy tins of coconut milk here and I have bought some and have been using it, but the list of added ingredients is kind of scary. So I was excited to find a recipe for making your own coconut milk. The instructions are here. Since we can get raw coconut here I decided to try making it from a raw coconut instead of dried coconut like the recipe describes.

First I had to crack the shell, drain the water, and get the pieces out of the shell. A few good whacks on the coconut with a hammer is a good way to release som…

An Undeserved Gift

Recently we were given a gorgeous quilt.  This is my thank you letter to the givers of that gift.  (I hope I don't embarrass them too much!)
Dear Jenny & Joel,
Have you ever received a gift that the generosity of it almost completely overwhelmed you?  Left you speechless?  Possibly made the person who gave it to you think you didn’t appreciate it because you couldn’t find adequate words to say?

That’s how I felt when you presented us with the gorgeous quilt that you spent hours making.  It is so gorgeous I was left speechless….or nearly!  You must have spent hours laying out the cloth, cutting the pieces, and putting it all together.  And then to hand-quilt it…believe me, I have an idea of the amount of time you spent on that and of the callouses you developed on the end of your sewing fingers!
My first thought was, “I do not deserve such a beautiful gift.  The time spent on this quilt far, far outweighs the time spent with you in pre-marital counseling.  The time spent with you w…

Grieving the Loss of a Colleague

Alou was a man who worked faithfully at our SIM office for over five years.  I probably worked more closely with him than with most of my other Nigerien colleagues.  It was his job to get everybody's permanent visas or to renew visas, to do background checks, to get driver's licenses, and to pay water and electric bills as well to advocate with the water and electric companies when something was not right.  I worked closely with him because every missionary at some time or another would need Alou to do something for them.  Together Alou and I would look at the passports of the new arrivals to see when their visas would expire.  We would also work together to find out who wanted to get a driver's license.  Many of our missionaries don't speak French so I was often the go-between, explaining to Alou what they needed to have done.

Alou served each person with a smile.  He was busy all the time, running from one government office to another.  He saved each of us hours of ti…

One of the Perks of Doctoral Studies

One of the perks of John's doctoral studies is getting to know pastors as he does case studies at local churches that use the Zarma/Songhai language in their services. When he identifies a church where he would like to do a case study, he visits the pastor and explains his thesis to him and obtains permission to come to the church, take notes and photographs in the service, and interview different members of the congregation.

Last year at this time we did a case study in a Baptist church of about 50-60 members and we enjoyed meeting regularly with them. This time we are at a much smaller Assemblies of God church of about 12-15 members.

In just a few weeks we’ve really grown to admire and respect the pastor of this church.

Pastor A___ is a Songhai man who grew up in the Sorko clan. Not only are the Sorko fishermen, but they also have certain spirit-world powers. They can reportedly walk under water where they can breathe for long periods of time and perform magical arts. He …