Tuesday, September 25, 2012


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I have to say that CURE is one of my favorite places here in Niamey, Niger.  Since coming back from our leave in the states, I have really enjoyed watching and helping a bit with the art therapy. So, now we are connecting with patients through various art forms! Got thinking about how unique each person is and the different ways we connect and bring joy to others. Each person brings his gifts and talents  and I think it really benefits our patients and their families….so, really the sky is the limit and I love seeing the creativity flowing. Painting, coloring, knitting, gardening, cooking, cutting, drawing, juggling, beading, singing, bubbling, talking, making silly noises/faces, balloon animals, dancing, musical instruments…okay, you get the idea. That is not an exhaustive list. I thought it was fun looking  through my pictures and decided to post a few. Enjoy CURE @ PLAY!

We sure do a lot of laughing. I have heard it said that “laughter is the best medicine”. Many of patients need much more than laughter, but it is certainly a part of the healing process.

Some of the most recent hijinks include a unicycle and a wheel chair….. the silliness began a few weeks ago when the kids were still on break due to the flooding at the Sahel Campus. I think the pictures will tell it best.

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unicycle V wheelchair


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Unicycle lessons for Issafou

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Will Julie get in??

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Of course she will…..wheel chair powered by unicycles. Having fun and playing is something truly wonderful!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Post Exercise Masa

On my last stretch approaching home, after a wonderful walk, I was enthusiastically greeted by a guard that was having his mid morning snack. I don’t know his name but he faithfully greets me each time I walk by (wonderful taking walks here….I love to slow down and “smell the roses”. Any hoo…). This morning he invited me to share his Masa. He said that I was doing well exercising and I needed a treat. So. I reached my hand into the all too familiar black plastic bag (they are EVERYWHERE & should be banned, in my opinion) and selected a hot masa cake and dipped it into the pile of “piment”. MMMMM, it was crunchy, hot, greasy goodness.  These yummy little “Nigerien muffins” are prepared roadside…..ground millet (really, yes,like the millet we use for bird seed in the US, it is a staple here), salt, sugar, water; the savory ones include bits  of onion, or other veggies. The are deep fried in oil and served with ground piment (spicy powder…ground peppers & spices).  An inexpensive treat served up in a black plastic bag.

This is one of the many wonderful things that I enjoy in Niger, a snack with a stranger….his smile could sure light up a room & boy do Nigeriens know how to be hospitable!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Walks


My Sunday walk, such a highlight for me! This morning, it was 80 with a little breeze. Perfect for a morning walk. J called me promptly at 7 and I donned my shoes and left immediately to meet her. I have been a bit sad since returning to Niger, J was still away and then the flooding…our walk route, impassable. Oh, how I have missed it. I think that some of my sadness in the past few weeks was grieving what will not be again and thinking about so many around me that lost so much.

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J and I  found a new route on Friday. It will do, but today the bridge called to us. So, we decided to walk across the bridge and take our route as far as we could. We stopped at the gate of Sahel Academy and chatted with the guard. I love his smile and have missed his morning greetings. The normal hustle and bustle there, was not. It was quiet. Houses flattened and people, gone. Gee Whiz, I am grieving a loss of leisure activity and many are grieving much more. Picking up the pieces and starting over. We could see the campus and then the road beyond it were still full of water. We turned around and went back the way we came.

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Once we crossed the bridge, we decided to walk along the river using the other part of our usual route. The children on the Road to Galmkallye ran out to greet us. I think they missed us. They are so precious!  It was a delight to stop and chat with familiar faces. They assured us that they were well and that their homes were spared. Seriously, it is so amazing to walk there. So laid back and calm and the people are so happy and friendly…We walked a ways and decided not to venture all the way to the Chinese Bridge as we usually do. So, we greeted more people on the way back.  I sure missed them. There is something so peaceful about our Sunday morning walk…. very sad though, our favorite place to catch a hippo cruise, is now under the water! The poor hammocks just hanging there in the midst of the murky water.

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Continuing on our way, past the National Hospital morgue, a young man pulled over to greet us. It was Souleyman, a nurse who worked with us at CURE. He has moved on to a government job at the National Hospital. Another new beginning for him. So fun, to chat and catch up. He is doing well and even though he is missed at CURE, I am glad he can use his training to hopefully better the health care here. After all, that is part of the reason we are here…

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So, my day began with something truly wonderful. A Sunday morning walk with a great friend. Yes, grieving what has changed; routines & expectations, what has been lost or way laid, but LOVING new routes, adventures and even looking forward to challenging changes.  Looking forward to more walks and to the REstart of school soon…excitement is in the air!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Colorful Casts


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What a delight to be at CURE this morning and see Julie in action. In July 2012, Julie Korn launched CURE Niger's Art Therapy Program. She is a quite a pioneer and Becca  and I had the privilege of assisting her today. I thought you might enjoy some pictures. Mainly cast painting.

paintingcasts 001The first little boy was so serious and just would not smile.

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After he got in on it and started painting his own cast, he became a different boy.

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He was so determined to paint all the cat he could see!  Julie had to help him hold one cast up so he could get the one beneath it. This was his first set of casts.

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What a cute laugh and an absolutely beautiful smile! That was truly a highlight.

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Sweet little Radiya…Oh, look at those nice white casts. Not for long!

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Drew even got in on cast painting. What a team effort.

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She is a pro, this is probably her 4th casting. She was determined to polka dot everything! And there is her beautiful smile…

But, it was not all painting though. There was glitter too!

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Glitter brings as much delight here as I remember it did when I taught Kindergarten in the states. Oh boy, Zamir,  loves glitter…. so, glitter is quite wonderful & colorful casts & art & I think Julie is quite wonderful too!