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Orientation for New Arrivals

Twice a year John and I and our colleague, Eliane, facilitate a two-day orientation for all those who have arrived in the country since our last orientation.  

We cover a variety of topics such as maintaining your spiritual life, handling stress and conflict, how to learn a language, church history, [s]am in our context, and sharing the Gospel using media.

Eliane had the group work in small groups during her sessions.  

John led the session on [s]am in Niger.

Scott and Lucia gave some helpful pointers for learning a vernacular language.

Sjoerd and Rachel showed how media can be used in evangelism, even if you don't speak a local language well.  

Probably everybody's favorite session is when Mr. Hama talks to us about local culture.

Eliane had the group identify things that cause stress in every day life.  The board was full!  Do you think living in Niger might be just a little bit stressful?

We like to end orientation with a fun activity that is also a chance to learn a new skill.  In the past we've done a photo scavenger hunt in which they have to use the local taxi system to get around town to find certain items they take pictures of.  But with all the road construction, it's nearly impossible to find a taxi from our location and the activity would have taken twice as long as it has in years past.  So we decided to try a new activity.

There are a lot of popular cooking shows and this idea was taken from some of those.  The learning objective was to create a delicious meal using ingredients available in local markets.  The group was divided up into three teams and given a grocery sack of ingredients.  From those ingredients they had to make a meal. Here they are looking in their sacks and planning their menu. They had an hour and a half to fix the meal.

While they cooked, we sat in the air conditioning and relaxed! :)  

They could also ask each of us one question.  

It was easily over 100 degrees in the kitchen!  Well, I guess that's also a reality of life in Niger (did I mention that living here is stressful?!)  And, yes, Abby may or may not be fanning herself with a dinner plate.

At the end we judged their concoctions and awarded the winning team a small prize.  Just in case anybody who will attend next year's orientation is reading this, I won't tell you what the winning team came up with.  I'll just say it was a very unique use of a certain ingredient that turned out to be absolutely delicious!  Here are the teams awaiting our judgment.

All three teams had delicious meals which we all shared together as a potluck.  I think they had fun and we certainly enjoyed being the judges!