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The Craziness of the Middle of June to the Middle of August

The middle of June to the middle of August are my busiest months.  We have a lot of people leaving in June.  Many who leave are short termers who have finished their 1-month to 2-year commitment.  There are also many long-term missionaries who begin their home assignment as soon as their kids are done with school and many take their month of holiday in June or July.  Starting in July we get a new surge of people coming in.

My to-do list and a pile of junk....pretty typical or this time of year.

All of this involves, from my desk, a lot of letter email writing back and forth to our sending entities.   Once a placement is agreed upon, I'll offer help to sort out how to apply for visas, what things to bring to Niger, and answering a multitude of questions.  We have such a frequent turn-over at our mission hospital, that we have a personnel coordinator there who works just on hospital personnel placements.  Sahel Academy's Human Resources Administrator also works with me on Sahel Academy specific placements.  These two ladies handle a lot of the correspondence, especially emails that ask specific work-related questions.  Once we know somebody is coming, one of us has to coordinate airport pick-up, guest house reservations, in-country travel, meals for the first few days, orientation, and....if they live in Niamey...making sure their house is set-up.

We provide furnished housing for all short-termers.  And we provide furnished housing for long-termers arriving new on the field so that they have the basics for living while they find their own furnishings.  There's no Ikea here, so it can take weeks to order a hand-made bed from the carpenter.

Just to give you an idea of what this time of year is like, here are some of the things I've done in the past two weeks:
1.  Kept up with daily emails.
2.  Attended administration team meeting.
3.  Signed dozens of checks and paperwork....for a week I was the only one in the office who could counter-sign anything.
4.  Organized three different women to clean four different houses.
5.  Hired the painter to paint six houses since the beginning of May (ours included).
6.  Organized the handy-man to fix stuff at two different houses.  When I say "organized" that involves, calling him, arranging to meet him at the house, walking through and explaining what needs to be done, then making sure he gets paid.
7.  Organized the carpenter to build some kitchen cupboards and to install some shelves in closets.
8.  Organized the plumber to fix something at one house.
9.  Met two arriving sets of missionaries at the airport.
10. Listened to some friends going through a hard time.
11. Got supplies out of the STA storage container to put in houses.
12. Started to make the bed for somebody, only to discover the sheets in the cupboard really were not clean.  I took them home, washed them, and handed them off to the new arrival at the airport to make the bed herself. :(  We also had a big confusion with keys at another house and I couldn't make the bed, so the new arrival helped me make it when we took them home.  Woops.....poor planning on my part twice.  I hope I do better the rest of the summer!
13. Got money for new arrivals to get them through the weekend.
14. Did orientation with a new couple and a Bible college student who has come to do an internship.
15. Made the bed for another arrival.  Yeah!  She arrived with a bed ready for her weary body.
16. Took some pans and tupperware stuff from one house back to the storage container.
17. Met another couple at the storage garage to choose furniture.  The size of their family is expanding, so they are moving to a bigger house.
18. Spent three afternoons setting up a house for somebody coming.
19. Met with the Director of the university center.
20. Got the secretary going on sending out more thank you notes for the persecution project funds that have come in.
21. Wrote personal notes to everybody who had a birthday this past week.
22. Helped move furniture from one house to another for one of the families who just arrived.  They had bought furniture from a departing family, but it needed to get across town.  I COULD NOT have done this without John's help!  I really did very little....just made sure the men were cheered on in their hard work.
23. Had guests for supper three times last week and once the week before.
24. Ran some personal errands:  bought a gas bottle for the stove, did some grocery shopping, sent money to a friend in need, and put gas in the car.
25. Attended the Bible College graduation.
26. Served left-overs for supper only once! :)  And John helped me with supper one night, too.  He had most of it done when I got home.

No, I'm not trying to either brag or complain.  In fact, I enjoy doing all of this, but it IS a little much all at one time right now.  The hardest part is that it's soooo hot and humid.  When I get home from working at a house my clothes are completely soaked through with sweat.  I think it's that that makes me more tired than anything.  It's all I can do when I get home to make supper and then I'm off to bed.  (Just an aside....rainy season is really late getting started.  In the past ten days we've finally had two pretty good rains and a third little one.  Today is feeling so much nicer after a rain last night and a small one again today.)

Our living room as it currently looks.
Oh, and did I mention that we are also having our house painted?  The termites ate half of our living room ceiling, so we had to have that ripped out.  Then we had the place fumigated.  Next the carpenter replaced the ceiling.  This past week the painters have been there every day because paint was peeling off our walls in sheets.  
And John's office.  What a mess.
Thankfully we have been able to stay right next door as our neighbors are on vacation.  That has been such a blessing because we can go back and forth to get stuff we need.  Both John and I are ready to move back into our own house though!  

The back seat of my car will look like this pretty much all summer.

Thankfully our Short Term Associate Coordinator has arrived!!!!  I no longer have to work alone!!!  YEAH!!!!! We would both appreciate your prayers as we have a lot to coordinate in the next month.  This coming week we have a young guy and a family coming.  Neither of those should be too much work.  But I've also got to get the painter going on another house, get some curtains to one of the houses and hire somebody to put up the curtain rods, move some more furniture and appliances, and organize meals for the new arrivals.  Our trickiest job of the summer is next week when we have 24 hours to switch furniture from one house to another (it's complicated, I know!).  Thankfully I have a bunch of people already lined up to help.  
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