Wednesday, June 02, 2010

TWO YEARS! An interview with PAUL


If you had to describe all that has happened and life in general in just three words...what would those words be?


What do you like most about living/working in Niger? 
Well that is a good question. I like the fact that I see my family everyday now.  I love the people here that we are working with(most days).  It is very fulfilling to be able to help people.  I love the friendliness and openness of the nationals.  I also love the challenge of trying to use the materials we can get here in Niger to make, fix, build, cook and what ever else we might need to do.  I am continually amazed by the resourcefulness of the people here.

What do you really NOT like about life here in Niger?
Well I don't like 48C+ days.  I don't like being asked for money all the time or being hassled by vendors to buy something just because I am white.  I don't like not being able to travel freely in the country because of security problems.

What have you learned about yourself in these past two years that maybe you didn't know before?
In the past two years I learned that I am a control freak! I always knew that I like order, function, rules and I liked doing things myself but I never realized how much I relied on my ability to control any situation to be able to function.  I am having to learn to let things go and that I can not control everything and even if I am not in control, God still is.

What is the biggest challenge here that you continue to work on overcoming?

For me one of the biggest challenges has been the lack of constants here in Niger and this part of the world.  For example laws, prices, availability of goods, electricity , water, internet, and food.  Everything is always changing and you can’t count on anything.

Give me a little snapshot of your week. What kind of things do you do in a normal week?
Well there is no such thing as a normal week for me anymore.  I never know what a day or a week will hold.
Here is a look at my day yesterday:  I got up a 5:30am to have my quiet time.  Well my alarm went off at 5:30 but I didn't get up until 5:45.  At 6:30 the kids got up and ate breakfast while I packed their lunches.  At 7:30 we left for school by 7:45 Bennett was at his school after which I dropped Arielle at her school.  By 8:15 I was back home ready to start language study after I grabbed a coffee.  By 8:30 there where three people waiting outside my gate to talk to me.  First, our “real estate agent” wanted to know if we had decided on a property we are looking at for our training center, the one that I told him we don't need until the end of August.  "Uh, no not yet," I told him,"like I told you yesterday we won't be making a decision for a while."  Next was one of our "favorite" people in Niger, you might have heard Chantelle talk about him, Youssouf. He was wondering if he could get a loan to open up a convenience store.  If you don't know Youssouf, his story is he is at our house every other day asking for money or at least that's what it feels like.  Following the request for money from Youssouf is another young man looking for a job.  It was now 10:00 and just before I started talking to the next person who showed up after the other three left my phone rang.  It was Bennett's school phoning asking me come pick him up because a rock landed on his head and he was bleeding like a stuck pig.  Back off to school I went.  So much for getting any language study done.  I picked up Bennett and took him to see our team director who also happens to be a really good doctor.  Cleaned up and patched up we headed home.  Then Chantelle and I went to go pick up Arielle from preschool.  We all piled into the truck, picked up Arielle and went out for lunch.  Then it was back home for afternoon naps (kids) or work (parents).  After the kids went down to sleep it was time for my 2:00pm language class to start.  After two and a half hours of class it was time to play with the kids and get supper ready.  After supper we put the kids to bed and then had a talk with one of our guards about his outstanding micro loan.  We were thinking it was almost time to head to bed when we realized we needed to talk to our night guard about some rumours we were hearing and ask some cultural questions.  We finished up that conversation about 10:00pm  but the guard had some questions he wanted to ask me about Christians and what we believe.  When I finally crawled into bed it was quarter to 1:00am.  Thank God not every day is like that. But in truth, many of them are!

*Offering a helping hand at the grain distribution

What are a few of the biggest things you miss about our life back in Canada?
Obviously family and friends, my dog Sanka, and greenery.  I miss knowing exactly what my job is and being really good at my job. Here I am in the process of learning to talk all over again and I can't really express myself well in any language anymore. 

Any other thoughts you want to share?
It's not always easy being here in Niger but to be honest with you I love it.  I never liked easy anyhow 'cause easy is for sissies. Ha ha Maybe the heat is affecting me after all.



Leanne said...

One of my favorite blogs ever!
Brought tears to my eyes... and cheeks. ;) Sounded just like Paul.
Love you all.

Anonymous said...

You guys are special. Love yr honesty and openness to your lives there. sincerely moved always by your authenticity. heather