Monday, August 09, 2010

Great days

 

Last week was full of great days. Days where we can tell we have really hit our stride, built relationships, learned some language and are doing exactly what we were brought here to do. We love it!

Here are some pics from one of those days for me.

It started in the morning with a few hours of language class, which is always good. Then I had the unique opportunity to go speak with some of the elders (all men) for the local Tuareg community. They had invited me to their meeting to speak to them about a new project that is coming to their community that is targeting young, unmarried girls. The program last two years (much more to come on this project in the month to come!) and during the program they are not allowed to get married. This is for girls ages 12-18 only.

I was able to speak quite frankly with all these fathers about the reasons why the project is targeting those girls, and all the reasons why it is important for them to wait to get married until they are older and more developed physically and psychologically. We touched on the health effects of young girls who are having babies way too young, married off at 13 and pregnant and having babies soon after that. Early marriage and maternal death is a huge problem in Niger. More to come on that later too. The very cool thing is that we had true dialogue about this sensitive issue. They even recounted some of their own stories about girls who had committed suicide when married at 13, and another who had died giving birth. Often these issues are cloaked in secrecy. Amazing that they seemed willing to talk about it and really talk it out, even amongst themselves. What an answer to prayer!

One of the men said “we know you (meaning all of us on our team) and we know you care, and that you only bring things that will move us ahead. We have seen that and trust that with our hearts.”

Thank you God for showing us once again that relationships are sooo important and worth every minute!

Then after that I rushed home to make lunch, then the kids and I went back out to hut class! We got there a little bit early and visited with the family who lives on the school grounds. When we walked in, they were applying henna to the feet of the daughters. They do this often before they travel or weddings or Ramadan (which begins Wednesday).

Here we are under the “hanger” which is a straw and fabric roof type tent that they always sit under. You can see Arielle in the background playing, the father lounging with his tea and other people. Oumou here is getting her feet henna’d.

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They started by using black electrical tape to make their design lines. I thought that was pretty creative use of electrical tape! Then they cover it with the henna goop and wrap the foot in plastic bags. You can see on the left one foot wrapped in plastic bags and the other foot getting the henna.20100805-IMG_1328   On the right foot- the bag comes off.

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After sitting in the hangar for a while the girls all showed up and we went into class. Over the summer we are still using a public school classroom. So nice not to sit on the floor for a while :) Some of the girls are already travelling and others will leave soon. Ramadan begins soon and  many are heading out of town to their villages and families out of town to celebrate and spend the time with them. With only 4 more lessons until we finish module 2, a break is in order! Will be a few months until we start up again.

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Doing math

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Great times with a great group of girls. While we are super busy with a few more projects coming up, I will sorely miss seeing them all every week!

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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for bringing us "right where you are". You make me feel so very much a part of what you are all doing Chantelle. Good job to Paul and the guys for getting all those tables ready...What a gift-what a blessing. heather

Pamela said...

When I read that comment: “we know you (meaning all of us on our team) and we know you care, and that you only bring things that will move us ahead. We have seen that and trust that with our hearts.” - it completely summed up the reason we do this.

God bless you and Paul for all your hard work - blessings for your co-workers as well as the kids.

Love,
Pam