Thursday, July 30, 2009

Electricity and Foolishness

I am feeling kind of foolish this morning and typing as fast as I can, hoping that I will be able to get this posted before the power goes out. Last night we had power for only one hour (between 2-3am). I am so grateful that we have had some rain this week and the temperatures have dropped (it was about 28C last night) so that we could sleep even through we couldn't use our fans. --I still find it amazing how when the whole city is out of power the mosque next door can still find power for their loud speakers at five am, but that is probably because it runs on a car battery or something.
I suspect that we are having rotating power which is why I am concerned about posting this and the biggest problem is that our gas tank is empty and the pumps at the station only work when there is power. Please remember us in prayer.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Election Fever

Coming home tonight I waited impatiently behind two buses crammed with young people hanging out the windows and shouting “TzartchĂ©!” In another week the president will be holding a referendum that will allow him to continue as President for another three years and run for re-election an unlimited number of times. ( “TzartchĂ©” is Hausa for something along the lines of “continuity”) Tensions are building as all the opposition parties have united to not simply present a “no” vote but a boycott of the referendum altogether. International pressure has also come into play to discourage the president in his current attempt to change the constitution. While we don’t expect any this to have any direct impact on us or our ministry, it does reflect the issues that come up regularly in our conversations with our friends and something that is in the forefront of many people’s minds. Many local churches and local prayer groups have made the political situation a major topic of prayer, and we too invite you to pray for the peace and stability of our country. If you are curious to know more details of what’s happening here , googling “Niger Referendum” would probably yield some fruitful results.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some Recent Pictures

I realize the last few blogs have been pictureless, so if the internet will cooperate I add a few:

This is what can happen in a half an hour of rain when the ditches are back filled!

Even without the ditches you can have some fun. Unfortunately this only lasted for about a day and we could really use a lot more rain!

Yesterday's bible study. Pray for Dave as he prepares for tonight's.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I like 6:30 am…

Dave would say that that is simply because I am a morning person but he rarely sees that time of day, except for school days (the kids have to be out of the house by 7am to make it to school for 7:30).
The real reason that I like 6:30 am is that it is the coolest time of the day here in Niger. I learned from a friend that the coolest time in the day occurs a half an hour after sunrise (at least in Niger where we don’t get the nice frosty storm fronts that blow through Canada and parts of the US—although we do occasionally get rain, keep praying for rain!). So, with sunrise typically occurring around 6 that makes 6:30 my favourite time of the day! The only problem that I have with it is the tough decisions that come with it.—Do I stay in bed and enjoy and just embrace the coolest moments that I will find for the day or do I get up and take advantage of the coolness to get something accomplished that I may not be otherwise be able to get done in the day. Aah! The choices that come with summer vacation! I hope that you are finding a few moments to stop and just enjoy during your summer time.
Please continue to pray for Annie’s dad, good things are happening in his life. Pray for Dave also, he is leading two bible studies and preaching a fair amount lately—all in French which is coming more naturally, but still takes a lot more work. Also, please pray for Sahel Academy, the boys’ school is short on a few teachers for the coming year and there are people that we have been expecting that are being delayed because of the global economic crunch. On that note, pray for me also, this coming year I will be the chair person for Sahel’s school board.
As I put the finishing touches on this blog Dave has just brought to my attention that it is presently 29C at 8:15 pm the first time that it has been this cold at this time of day since sometime last February--all that praying for rain finally paid off in two storms that came through back to back last night! That said we could really use more rain.

Treating Mohammed

Sometimes I think I went into the wrong profession when I became a teacher, it isn’t that I don’t love teaching, but there are times when I think I would have been better off becoming a nurse (like my sister and all of my sisters'-in-law). These past few weeks were a prime example. Our night guard (Mohammed) didn’t show up for a couple of shifts, which we suspected meant that he was sick and were planning on going to visit him, but before we could get there a couple of his friends showed up because they were very concerned about him and felt that he needed to go to a clinic. We called Annie, a Nigerien friend that is a nurse to go with us. She told us there was no point in going to a clinic because the doctors were on strike and weren’t working at the hospitals and the clinics would only take the patients that had appointments. When we got there, Mohammed was sitting in a basin of water to ease the pain of two days of diarrhea. Annie recognized the symptoms of dysentery and diarrhea and started him on an IV treatment to re-hydrate him (it was reminiscent of the team from Brantford’s trip last summer where one of them ended up with the same situation). We went back a few times over the next few days to make sure that he was doing ok and still taking the medicine that we had bought at the pharmacy. I know that all the medical professionals reading this are cringing thinking that we help set up our guard on an IV in his hut and gave him medicine without a doctor’s prescription and I would like to let you know that this isn’t our normal practice, but it really isn’t that unusual here. Annie however has done this in the past when she worked as a village nurse for Doctors Without Borders.

If that weren’t enough the day before yesterday we came home to find Mohammed really upset. I guess he had been waiting for us for a couple of hours (he was early and we were out to eat). His wife was ill and he had taken her to a clinic and needed medicine for her (in other words he needed us to pay for it—because we are his medical benefits). He was afraid that she might be dying and so we made the call to Annie once again to come with us. When we got to his house I asked if I could pray for his wife and Mohammed said yes, yes, it’s her stomach. I prayed with his wife while Annie gave Mohammed instructions about the medicine and then helped her take the medicine. It turned out that what Mohammed had feared was lethal was a result of something that she had ate.
Please pray for Mohammed and his family. When he has a concern and we offer to pray for him, he is agreeable, but we aren’t sure whether that is because he really doesn’t understand what we are saying or because he is open to having us pray in Jesus name or just because we are his employers.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


We had someone send us an email this week that let us know the city of Toronto had declared an extreme heat alert because the forecast called for 29C and a humidex of 36C. I chuckled because the thermometer in my bedroom (one of the coolest places in the house) was reading 34.4C and I was melting with the humidity of rainy season. Ben had decided to make tacos that morning because it was his turn to cook (The boys were given a choice this summer to learn how to cook or to learn how to do laundry—they both chose cooking. I think that was because they could choose the menu.) So, while I rolled out tortillas he flipped them in the frying pan. I’m not sure who was sweating more, him over the stove or me exerting myself over the rolling pin. We don’t have ceiling fans in our kitchen because our landlord won’t allow them and my floor fan would have been in the middle of the doorway that I had to go through to deliver the tortillas to Ben, so I’m afraid occasionally I added a little salt and liquid to the dough! I started thinking about my friends and family back home that would be complaining about the heat in their homes with central air or while enjoying a dip in their pool or while enjoying a stroll through an air conditioned mall. (Of course they can buy their tortillas and don’t need to make them which takes most of the work out of tacos!) But then my thoughts turned to my Nigerien friend that doesn't have either electricity or water in her house. Her landlord promised water when she moved it but it hasn’t happened yet and the electric lines haven’t been connected to her neighbourhood yet. Or my other friends that are running their entire house (which is probably a bit bigger than mine) off of the equivalent of an extension cord from a neighbours house, so when they turn a fan on the lights dim. They would have their own hook up, but the power line doesn’t quite reach that far and the electric company says that they would have to pay to have a post installed which is way beyond what they can afford. Those thoughts made me realize that I really didn’t have it that bad! It really is a manner of perspective! I hope you are finding a way to stay cool this summer. Me, I just keep praying for rain! Happy Canada Day and 4th of July for those of you in the Americas!