Saturday, October 04, 2008

Team work retreat

For part of this past week, the team here in Niger met at a local hotel for a work retreat. We had a conference room inside that was perfect for our needs and the kids still went to school in the mornings and then played around with the other kids in the afternoon. We had the added bonus of having the Africa Team leaders (the Enn's) with us for a few days too.

On the first night of the retreat we rented a longboat and went down the river to a restaurent. The owner told us it would take around 45 minutes. We got there 2 hours later. Thankfully the ride and the water was peaceful! We saw 4 hippos in the water (in the distance thus no photos) and chatted and the kids played with each other. We ate by the river then turned around and went all the way back to Niamey. Got to enjoy a gorgeous sunset on the way there though!

The hotel was interesting. By Niger standards, it is one of the better ones in town, and the rooms are not cheap. We quite enjoyed the 24/7 air conditioning (although their filters were not cleaned since installed likely and thus moldy) and they had good restaurants on the premises and a really nice pool. We enjoyed it a few times and it was almost always empty except for us!

Bennett is finally enjoying the pool and loved the horse head floater ring.

Arielle still prefers sitting by the side of the pool, with her feet in, and watching the people play and splash. Here she wanted her own swim ring to sit in, but all from the safety of land.

So while the peripherals of the hotel were a nice change, the rooms themselves still reminded me if a run-down super 8 motel. Our toilet seat was hanging on with an elastic band, the shower door was broken, closet door was broken, air conditioner spewed mold, very cramped space, i didnt trust the sheets to be bug free and brought my own, several people got sick from the food (on the team- not in our immediate family) and there were lots of mosquitos in the rooms, frogs and geckos in the halls, and peacocks outside the paths! Don't get me wrong, it was sufficient for our purpose to study together and have a few topics presented to us etc, but another one of those funny times when i am reminded how very different of a place we live in. Their "4 star" hotels are ones I wouldnt even set foot in back home!

Paul enjoying the pool and me enjoying the camera angles.

One night we went to a restaurant in town called "La Cascade". It is a bit dark and dingy but has pretty good food. And the kids love the "waterfall" inside. It is a rock fountain that they fill with dish soap and make huge bubble piles in! Can't beat that for creativity!

So now we are home and thankful for the time we had, especially so much time to connect with our teammates and discuss things together. We had presentations on biblical storytelling, water wells, development, & the african sense of money and relationships. We also worked on value statements and hopefully starting the "forward planning" process in a few areas.

The kids, fast becoming great friends with the Cheung's girls.

Here is the newest picture of Team Niger!

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