Thursday, April 26, 2012

A mat in the shade

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With hot season in full tilt and the surgical camp winding down, I found most of my new friends hanging out in the shade today.

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I just love the simple things in life and these woven mats provide a place to rest about anywhere.  Portable and easy to clean…no, I am not gonna try selling them on here. But they are quite nice and colorful and very handy. Most Nigerien people spend the majority of their time outside. Many cook outside, bathe, and even rest during the day. Here at the hostel they can be found in different shady spots as the chase the shade to stay cool.

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Speaking of simple things, I loved watching this little guy (middle pic) pull his truck along with a piece of plastic mat that he tied to the end. Anyways. It was another fun day with the kids. Despite the heat they talked me into a few dances and this time Issafou joined me.

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First we all and I mean ALL piled into his nice fresh cool office to place the batteries into the I Pod. Everyone just loves Issafou! He was such a help as he is so full of joy and speaks Hausa!! The number of participants has grown significantly and they really follow quite nicely. I was happy and sweat soaked as I left the hospital. So thankful for shade (and A/C). It sure is hot out there today!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


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I just love colors….all the various shades….the different feelings… can have a very blue day and then a cheery yellow day and how the color green just makes me feel alive! One of my favorite things as a kid was to get a fresh box of 64 Crayola crayons! Oh the possibilities. I am so thankful for colors…..Today, was a WONDERFUL coloring day. I love watching the kids choose their colors. Some are quite content to use the same one the entire time and others need  new one for each line and space.

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Today I did not dance and only blew a few bubbles…today was a coloring day! The kids in the ward were more plentiful as it is now Wednesday and there have been 3 full days of surgery. I am amazed how quickly some of the lips are healing up….again, there were some kids who have had their surgery and some waiting.

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Yesterday there was a little boy who just cried and cried and Hassane decided to carry him along on his rounds. When the ward rounds were over he asked the nurses if he could carry him outside. When his friends who were still awaiting their surgeries saaw him they were amazed!  They encouraged him not to cry because of the transformation that had already taken place…..I am hoping that seeing him caused them to fear less and be more expectant for their surgery day. Seeing the children in these various stages of healing is interesting, some are really “out of sorts”, as one can imagine, some cry loud, some just have tears, some are relieved, some confused, who knows what they are all thinking. But I have to wonder as I watch them….the arms have splints to keep their hands away from their freshly stitched mouths and they are in a strange place sleeping in a bed (which most have never done) far from home.

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I had the privileged of sitting with the same peaceful boy that I held in my arms yesterday (he fell asleep while playing). He must only be two. Today he was in a much different state, looking at the IV in his hand and just waking up from surgery, crying out… I just wanted to cuddle him….I just sang to him and prayed that God would settle him and give him peace.  Oh, I pray that each of them meet Jesus in a profound way, that they feel His touch and His love.These kids are like a box of crayons….each their different color and expression…..they change day to day and I think it is quite wonderful how God creates us all uniquely….some blues, some yellows, some greens…all shades and mixtures with the ability to change and show different emotion… I love them all……and so does HE…I know he sees us as so much more than brown & black & white & pink & peach & sunburned & tan & freckled and well….you get the point! That is only one facet of who we are! I am sure His heart swells as he sees the amazing color display….… WONDERFUL indigoes, lime greens, fuschia, and so on…just like a Crayola box without limits!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chicken Dancin’ in Niger


I absolutely LOVE it when we have surgical camps. They not only provide important training but they fill the hospital to the brim. A group of 28 children, with a few adults arrived last Thursday evening from Zinder.  They are such a polite, fun and lively bunch. I spent both yesterday and this morning meeting all the new children who have come to have surgery (Cleft/palate). Some have had their surgeries and were not very happy about it, some were awaiting surgery that particular day and the rest were still playing and somewhat carefree.

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This camp, I wanted to change up my activity there a bit. I had the silly idea of downloading some new music to my Ipod and teaching the movements. Chicken Dance was at the top of the list! After only 2 days, the kids are using the chicken hands to motion what they want to do. Yes, it is hot (VERY hot) dancing in the unbearable heat, but the giggles are priceless! Other songs in the repertoire…Cha Cha Slide, Freeze Dance, Electric Slide……

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Yesterday, Julie and I just danced and gave the kids waiting in the ward a nice distraction (I hope!). Not sure who had more fun? The nurses were quite amused as well….they even judged us and handed cards indicating their winner when we finished….a little biased as Josh won and he was not actually dancing!

Today, there were many unhappy kids in the ward first thing, I tried my best to comfort them and help them best I could. Sometimes just sitting beside them and holding their hand was what was needed. Coloring books and of course BUBBLES! I did envision myself as a “Candy Striper” here!!! With much joy, I played the part today. I am so grateful that my gift of silly play is coming in handy!

When I took my music to the outside area, Harouna  met me with a HUGE smile. He wanted to dance again today. His dad asked me to take a picture of the two of them and he encouraged the rest of the kids to join.

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We danced & clapped & listened & laughed & took pictures & blew bubbles &chased bubbles. Just a super time being together.  Habib came and tried to get some of the girls to show us a dance from their village. A little too shy today, but maybe at the end of the week?

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They really loosened up as we hung out. It was a great time for all ages ……we even danced sitting down!! My morning concluded with a precious little two year old asleep in my lap. See what Chicken Dancin’ leads to? An absolutely WONDERUL morning with new friends.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

M A N G O E S!!!!

Could not resist! It may be very hot & dusty BUT this season’s redemption??  The BEST fruit ever!! Nothing like the mangoes from my tree….


tree ripened!


Ferdninad keeps a close eye and picks them at the peak of perfection. He lines them on my kitchen shelf. He is so skilled at climbing the tree and then using the pool skimmer to gracefully gather them to safety before they fall.


I just scoop them out of the clever “container” that God has provided for them….so juicy, creamy and perfect. They are truly something wonderful!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tuesday Morning with Hameed

I love Tuesday mornings, I start my day with a visit to CURE to do rounds. I visit the patients, pray and of course blow bubbles. This past Tuesday, I was a bit late and so I was in still in Leron’s office when I heard the cutest singing coming from the corridor just outside. I opened the door a little and joined my little friend in song. He stopped and then peeked around the corner. What a delight, a sweet little boy about 6 years old with the brightest smile.


We spent a few minutes giggling and then out came the bubbles!!!

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Then came the camera. Hameed would NOT smile for me but just wanted to be silly every  time I pointed the camera at him. The crazy eyes…the double salute (thanks to Josh)

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So, Hameed insisted on being the photographer….and a few times even pointed the camera straight at himself. He took several pics of me as he had me pose on t he brick wall. It was so cute.

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He would giggle and smile and the camera would not captures it. So What Yaya came in, he could not resist but to laugh at his friend.


Something quite wonderful…..tow friends laughing together!!! I LOVED it!