Yesterday we received very sad news about the passing of Helene Zoolkowski. For most of you that's probably an unfamiliar name. Helene and her husband Chris lived in Galmi with their family where he was a medical doctor. We first met Chris when my parents came to visit and everyone was sick-Chris made a couple of housecalls to make sure we were doing alright. Our last year in Niger I drove their youngest son Joel to school everyday with our son Ben--they are the same age. (Joel and his mom are cozied up in the picture.) Helene's been fighting cancer for the last year and a half, but Sunday morning she passed away. Today a large caravan of friends is heading out to Galmi for the funeral at 4:oo. We'd like to go along too but it's an 8 hour drive both ways and we have to find a place to stay before Thursday when our time at the SIL guesthouse runs out. Please remember the Zoolkowski's in prayer today. Helene is leaving behind a husband, Chris, and three children, Elli, Zeb and Joel. Her mother is also here.
We hope to be looking at houses in the next couple of days. We've narrowed our search down to about three quartiers/neighbourhoods, and have been getting tidbits of advice on househunting from friends as well as some contacts about who would be helpful in locating a house. The paperwork for our residents papers are underway and a friend has offered to help with getting the paperwork for our mission processed. Little by little things seem to be moving ahead. We ran into a marine working at the american embassy who is leaving last week. He was having a sale and we managed to pick a nice desk and office chair and a few food items from home. (The boys were quick to grab the case of A&W Rootbeer--apparently the marines get one shipping container for furniture, etc, and one container for food! Unfortunately I don't think the rootbeer will last long... )
In a lot of ways I think we will miss the SIL compound when we move this week. The boys have become good friends with the kids who live below us and spend the better part of the day hunting lizards, checking out their pet snakes (poisonous no less!), pet owl, falcon and hawk and general all around playing in the dirt. The internet access is nice too.