Thursday, June 18, 2009

Time Flies

Can you believe it? We're into T -10 days left on our journey. Our time in Niger has flown by and we still have much to do. Updating our blog has been hard since high speed internet has still not arrived in this country. However, there is no questionning the fact that we are thankful for each day that we are here. It means that the political situation remains stable enough for us to stay here. We continue to pray that the leaders of this country will choose to act in a way that is wise and just.

While here we have met up with old friends and made new ones. What an incredible feeling to shake the hand of someone you worked alongside 13 years ago! We have been greeted with big smiles and lots of laughter - they love the fact that John is still able to greet in the local Gourmantche language. We've spent 5 days with ACEN, the church association we worked and lived alongside. Our plans were to spend some time in the village and do some workshops. The rains have been coming and everyone is waiting for an opportunity to plant so things are constantly in flux. Our village stay was not possible (if it rained while we were there we could be stuck for well over a week) but we did manage to do most of the training. John did a few workshops on hygiene and sanitation. Pam drew from the wealth of resources developed by her colleagues back home and gave a workshop on the work of deacons in the local church. It felt natural to be working with poster paper under a tree, chickens and goats passing by, and groups of small children huddled nearby watching all the action.

A visit to our old village is still coming up (depending on the rain, of course). It just wouldn't seem right to leave Niger without having some millet and leaf sauce.

When not with ACEN we spend three or four mornings a week with the Sisters of Charity. They have a child survival program that includes growth monitoring, a dispensary and weekly food distribution. The Sisters are gracious and generous, as always, and we have met many other interesting expatriates volunteering. Over 10% of the children we see are severely malnourished and are kept for 2 weeks in a small hospital/clinic run by the Sisters. This has been hard to see and led to many good discussions with the kids.

Home schooling continues. We've been able to focus on a few art skills while here. Our friend Ardell is an art teacher, and she has taken us and her four children to visit some of the local artisans. One visit to learn soap stone carving and one to learn wood carving. As I write the kids are sewing wallets from local leather.

Our families have been having fun together. We recently spent three days "on safari" in a national wildlife park.

We've been staying in a family's house while they are on home service. Having a place to unpack is always a treat and we have been spoiled by having our cook from 13 years ago with us again. He didn't know we were coming so he was pretty surprised to see us! We also have a dog to look after for a few weeks.

We still have a few more things we'd like to do here and a few more people to see. Can we squeeze it all in?


  1. I escape work almost daily now to walk through the park, go right past your house, down Simcoe, and back to the I think of you almost daily!
    Can't wait to see you all again.

  2. Dear John, Pam, Simon and Danielle,
    We have loved keeping up with you in your travels, reading your stories and seeing your pictures. But we are even more loving it that you will be back soon! We can't wait to see you, and we hope you do get to fit in all the things you still hope to do!

    See you soon,
    Love, Susan, Bill, Rudy and Nathan

  3. It's been great to follow your adventures around the world. I guess you must be back home in Canada by now.

  4. Hi there! I just found your blog today, and I can't wait to read back and hear all about your adventures! My family is planning a RTW trip with our two kids in 5 years when our littlest is 7.

    Love that you are Canadian too!! :)