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Showing posts from July, 2014

Musical Instruments in Niger

About six weeks ago John and I went to visit Niamey's music museum.  John has been there several times and has established a relationship with the center's director.  The day that John and I went, John asked if we could take pictures inside the museum without a flash.  Photography is forbidden, according to the sign at the door, but we saw people taking pictures with their phones and they were with a guide who could have said something.  Still, we felt better about specifically asking before taking pictures.  So, yes, I had permission to take these pictures.  :)

It's not a really fancy museum, and some parts of it were outdated.  For example, they had books about music that were really old and records and tapes to listen to.  It all should be digitized. It kind of looked like an idea for a place to do research on music, but the information they had in that room seemed mainly western.  But I liked the structure of the building and the way they put sand on the floors, just li…

Storks Bring More Than Babies

There is a large stork that arrives in Niger, usually sometime in May, before the rainy season really begins.  And what do the storks bring?  Babies?  Nope, they bring rain or at least the promise of rain.

Local farmers have told us that when they see the Abdim's Stork....or waliya in Songhai....that they know it is time to prepare their fields for the rainy season.  

I asked once if people eat the storks and the person looked at me like I'd grown two heads.  The answer was, "No.  They bring the rainy season.  We would never kill something that brings us a blessing."

I love watching them soaring in the sky, riding the heat waves, looking for insects, frogs, and other delectable creatures to eat.

 The insect population increases rapidly in the rainy season and the storks are helpful in consuming massive amounts of them.  One thing they especially like are locusts, so they are natural helpers in keeping away one of the farmer's biggest pests.  (Though when there is a …

Rainy Season

Well, it's been awhile since I've written anything on the old blog.  It seems that if I have time to update my blog, the internet doesn't work.  And if I have absolutely no time at all, the internet works great.  So busy and terrible internet = no blog post for a very long time.

It looks like the rainy season may have finally properly arrived.  In May we had some dust storms and a few rains, and one of them gave us quite a few millimeters of rain.  I love a good dust storm, though this year I haven't managed to get any good pictures showing the storm approaching.

The beginning of the rainy season always brings several dust storms.  These storms can turn day to night, drop the temperatures by 20 degrees, and leave your house looking like the Sahara desert swept through it.  They are amazing and beautiful in their own way....especially when they are followed by rain.  Unfortunately sometimes there isn't any rain with them.  The first dust storms of the season are usual…