This has been moving week. We're finally into our new house. We bought a new fridge without seeing it, borrowed a gas stove from friends, and hired a night guard. The house is starting to feel like home. Ben said, “This is the best house we've ever had!” When asked why, he responded, “Because we don't have to move again. This is the sixth house we've lived in since the beginning of July. All those transition have taken its toll. I'm concerned that Cole particularly is struggling with culture shock on top of all the moves—his emotions seemed to get the better of him more than usual.
The house is still a challenge however. It seems like all the faucets leak in one way or another, and monster cockroaches keep going belly up in our living room. The gas stove has an electric starter which is great for the stove top but impossible for the oven with the fluctuating electrical current—I currently have it plugged into two voltage regulators and it is still unpredictable.
Our new guard is named Mohammed—how ironic—Jesus is my saviour but Mohammed is my night guard! Mohammed, as best as I understand, has come into the city to find work, while his family (ie wife and kids) still live in the bush. He is a Tamajek/Touareg who speaks just enough French for us to get along. Touareg's are traditionally nomads who ride camels through the desert and have a reputation as raiders and warriors. (Currently, in Niger there is some political turmoil over a 'Touareg rebellion' in the northern regions of the country, which has included running gun battles and the use of land mines to blow up army personnel vehicles.) I told Mohammed he would have to teach me a little Tamajek and so far my lessons have been how to say hello and the word for “sword”. (He carries one to work with him everyday.)
Despite my expanding Tamajek vocabulary, we hope to work in Zarma here in the city. Tomorrow we start our first Zarma lesson with two other missionaries who also would like to learn. Different people have told us that we should expect a certain degree of fluency after six months but we also have a friend who spent the entire year the last time we were here and still didn't fell like she had a handle on it. Please pray that the former holds true for us.
Sorry we haven't been able to communicate the last little while we haven't had an internet connection since the end of August. (We hope to correct that soon!)