Thursday, March 22, 2012

dusty dry season

just a few phrases and pictures of life here right NOW…. most of these were taken between 3 & 4 this afternoon

dust 011

dust 003

low dust in the sky dominates most days now…..Becca refers to it as African fog

dust 001

sandy roads can be tricky to drive on…..loose sand feels a lot like driving in the snow

the abundance of sand is plowed to the side of the road to find more solid ground for drivers

dust 002

the sand also drifts and it reminds me a bit of snow

dust 014            dust 015

increased dustiness in and around the house (if that was possible?)

dust 008

the Niger River is shrinking day by day

dust 009

areas in the river that were once full of water are now green feeding grounds for livestock

dust 005


can hardly see the Chinese Bridge (or the “Deuxieme Bridge of Niger”) from the Kennedy Bridge

many many people wear masks to filter their breathing

dust 021

masks worn are often the nice blue blinders complimentary on Air France

small sandy “tornadoes” blow down the street and I take cover

dust 013      dust 020

did I mention the EXTRA coating of dust….check out these leaves

the air remains hot into the evenings

dust 023

a dusty pool?

inside walls are hot to the touch and it often feels like I just opened my oven when opening the door

what a unique experience we are having!! Here is just one of Drew’s pics of a taxi that I thought I would end with……(oh there is the Ministry of Justice building that burnt down at the beginning of the year….hmmmmm…a bit suspicious, but that is for another day….

dust 010

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Woman’s Day


I had never been aware of this “holiday” until I moved to Niger. The first year CURE was open, all and I mean ALL of the female employees came to Leron’s office to have a meeting. I think I have a picture somewhere that I will attempt to dig out…found em!

March 8 2011 011

It seemed funny that they came in to tell him that he needed to do something very special for them. The stressed how important it was that none of the men benefit from their special treatment. So it began, celebrating our females employees. It is a pretty big deal here. Some people have special outfits made and some even have fabric made to commemorate the day. Here are some pictures from last year.

Best Morning 019   Best Morning 057

So when Leron came home today and reminded me that today was International Woman’s Day, I asked what special treat the ladies had today. He said that Issafou prepared as special lunch of pintade, potatoes and green beans. then he commented how yummy it was. Confused, I asked how he knew. Really the ladies really don’t like the men to join in the celebration unless it is in the serving capacity. So Leron begins to tell me that Samna, our HR Manager, went home and got some of his wife’s clothes and he and Leron dressed up as women. I so wish that I would have been there! Samna is so jolly and loves a good joke. He really got into it.

DSCN2365      DSCN2360

I did not know that it was International Woman’s Day until dinner time but I did have a sweet lunch out at a favorite restaurant with friends today. I will count that as celebration. Then another nice surprise, our friend Souleyman’s mother came around dinner time with rice and spicy sauce. She also had a dress made for Becca as she is a young woman. So, today , even though it is almost over…..I celebrate woman…..from all walks of life, from every nation on the earth….all unique and wonderfully made. I count it such a joy to be a woman and to know so many great ones!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Football in Niger

On Thursday, Leron scheduled a match for the team that CURE Niger sponsors…..
bunny&soccer 022
They are a group of young men (I thought boys) who needed some equipment. They play and practice in Lazaret, where the hospital is located. Last fall Coach Jibo came to CURE asking for a donation. Leron gave them some money for jerseys (which, green could not be found…so red it was), balls and a net.

In the fall Leron was invited to one of their games. He took a very short ride to where they were playing. He said that day could have been filmed as a Coke commercial…..picture this…..Leron shows up to this dirt field….dusty, hot day…..everyone on the team came to shake his hand. Then out of nowhere a bench a appears and he is offered a seat…..then the ICE COLD COKE is handed to him. Ahhhhh….sounds like a dream. He said it was pretty neat..
bunny&soccer 024
I am finally catching up with the rest of the world. They are all crazy about Football…not the US brand, but soccer…hard core. You can see pick up games all over the place…little kids & men. They don’t need grass, or fancy anything…gee sometimes they don’t even wear shoes. They even get pretty creative with balls, I have seen them kick anything that will roll. Some of  you might be aware that Niger’s team, the MENA, earned themselves a place in the African cup just a few short months ago. There was so much hype and just earning a spot was amazing! They did not win but I am sure it just fueled a few more dreams here in Niger.They love it and they are quite skilled. Sport, entertainment, camaraderie and for some, aspirations of being a star....

Well, Coach Jibo has been after Leron to schedule a match with the Sahel Suns (where the kids attend school).  Sahel Academy’s team just resumed practice last Thursday. They are in  their second year under Coach Windsor & Coach Phenning. I have been so grateful that Ben can be a part of this! The team is a bit different…there are kids from all over the world, girls/guys, 7th-12th grades. Quite diverse. Needless to say, the Nigerien team was a bit intimidating to some of the younger players….size alone. It was a  great match though...great sportsmanship. They are just happy to be playing. ALL of them.

During the game there were a couple of minor injuries…one guy knocked heads with a teammate and they promptly brought him to see Leron. Too funny, he has to tell them over and over that he is not a doctor (I did however, as a joke buy him a Dr Pepper shirt that states “Trust me, I’m a doctor”…he wasn’t wearing it).

So the game concluded two very hot and sweaty halves later…..everyone shook hands and headed for home. This was the most amusing part of the day for me. Leron swung open the very back hatch of the CURE van and like a vacuum was sucking them in….. like lightning, entered the van…..I have to say I have never seen anything quite like it. The team, 2 coaches and others that came along numbered 25, this was guys 15 years old and up ….I am not exaggerating….Leron experienced bush taxi driving first hand….my camera died and I mourn the fact that I could not capture this with a photo. This will have to do....although a van and everyone was inside. when they were loading I was even questioning if they would all fit and Leron assured me that they would...not a waste of one inch of space......


It was a challenging match for the Suns, but a great experience. It was quite wonderful to be there….Ben played and Becca cheered from the sideline and we all sweat right along with everyone else....its was a scorcher!