Monday, July 11, 2011

Messages for You Part One

Friday July 1st we had our year end party at the Girls at Risk school here in Niger. The Wednesday before that we had our last class and we took a lot of time playing games like Bingo and also focusing on the things we are thankful for! We looked at a large World map and talked about all the people who support this school and who pray for the girls and for their families and health and success.

The class broke into their small groups and each group got some paint and large rolls of paper. They had two assignments. One was to draw a mural with pictures of all the kinds of things they had learned this past year at the school. Then they presented to the class all the different things they learned. Some of the drawings were pretty funny! Here is one group showing Math, literacy, clothing they learned to sew, some skits on mosquito nets and clean food preparation, dancing in a circle and some other stuff.



Here is a group from the afternoon class explaining their poster. They have our colourful tree logo, the classroom, sewing machine, clothing, anti malaria, mosquito nets, and some other skits along with their names. They were proud to show how much they had learned!


I also made an appearance on most of their posters. Don’t I look great here teaching math! Smile



Then their second assignment was to come up with one phrase that they wanted to express to all their supporters. They discussed as a group what they would want to tell their supporters, what was most important to them. I then took these phrases and wrote them on poster board for them and took pictures with their thoughts.

Check out these photos. Please take to heart that they are speaking to YOU! These are the things they want to tell you, the things they are thankful for and the way YOU have changed their lives with your support. There are quite a few pics so I am going to do two posts about this!

Enjoy. Be blessed!






Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Lazy days of summer

Another blog! Don’t worry, I go in spurts and will go slowly after this Smile

Just wanted to post a few pictures of one of our African summer days!


We visited the home of one of our favourite families this afternoon. The kids all love playing together.

Bennett loves to make tea with Fatima.


Arielle and Raichatou with the baby.



Their Mom Sakki braided Arielle’s hair this afternoon with traditional Tuareg braids. It looks great!


Raichatou is 15 years old and is one of the students at our “Girls at Risk” school. Many girls her age here are already married off with young children of their own. I can’t imagine her little brother here being her son! So thankful she has a chance to stay in school!


Henna manicures – Canadian style with Sharpie markers!


This is Paul’s version of a good afternoon. Here he is hard at work on the house for our newly arriving teammates. They didn’t really want a kitchen wall or door did they?


Sledgehammering is good for his soul. Look at his big grin!


That’s all for now! More lazy summer stories to come!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The rains come thundering down…

We could feel the rains coming. For the past two days it has been insufferably hot but also really humid. Yuck. I kept thinking that soon it had to rain! And sure enough this afternoon it did! The preceding orange dust storm blew in around 1530, then the rain began to fall. It was falling so hard it was coming down sideways!

Rain is always a big joy here and we love to go outside in it. The kids especially love these times. Here are some pictures of their fun this afternoon!

The rain pouring out of the outlets for the roof


Riding their bikes on the patio in the rain


Bennett is the first to brave the “waterfall”


But Arielle wasn’t far behind, after happily stripping to her underwear!


And then came the mud. Of the joys of mud pies!




Food imitating life?

We like to have a little fun here in Niger every once in a while. And often our poor turtle Harriet is part of our schemes!!

Here we decided to get Harriet a little friend and see if we could fool her!


She seemed hesitant to make new friends, but eventually peeked out for a look! Eventually she lost interest and we made a lovely lunch with her “friend”.


Do you remember this picture from last March when we got Harriet? She was tiny in the bowl and weighed in at just 300 grams!


16 months later and here she is today, filling the bowl and weighing in at 1.8 kilograms!


Friday, July 01, 2011

“Girls at Risk” school Year End Party!

Today was the year end party here at the Niger "Girls at Risk” school we run. We purposefully left the entire party planning up to the girls themselves. They each saved 1000 cfa (about $2.50) to add to a communal savings, made a meal plan, went to the market, arranged groups of girls to do every job from sweeping, peeling food, chopping onions and washing dishes. They all showed up dressed up beautifully and all day long it was so fun.

Rabi wearing a beautifully sewn Indian-inspired wrap outfit. She was radiant! (and did a little dance when I told her so! Now that wasn’t the super shy Rabi I met just 10 months ago!)


They made a great meal of turkey with spicy red sauce, lots of onions and bread. I was surprised there was so much meat (and basically no veggies) but they were all in full on party mode (aka lots of meat!). It is so rare for them to get lots of meat here.


Each group had a job to do, and really everything went perfectly! I just showed up with cookies and juice!



Each group of girls gathered around a shared platter and dived in. Most plates were completely devoured and licked clean!


As always, it was a joy to watch the girls interact and be with their friends. Sometimes, especially with the Zarma girls who talk so loud and aggressive, I am not sure if fights are going on, but at the end there is always lots of laughter and smiles. I can speak Tamasheq, but Zarma is still outside my reach!



Rafiyatou taking a picture of me taking a picture of her. I love this girl! She is so full of spunk and joy!


Paul and I are both busy these days and the kids are off school, so we both brought a “child to work”. Paul was welding at the airport and Bennett loved watching planes take off and land. Arielle came with me and was doted on by all the girls. They sat with her, played with her, even tried to teach her to crochet! She came home one very happy, but very tired little girl! (And for those of you who know Arielle personally it will not surprise you to know she smiled all day, but refused to say a single word to anyone!)




What a day to cap off such a wonderful year. Since it was Canada Day we took this picture to show us celebrating Canada Day in style!



I really felt like a proud Mama to this big group of special young women. I am going to miss them over the summer! We have three weeks of “special projects” coming up in August and September with some of these girls and then full session starts up again October 1st! We made it through year one, and what a wonderful year!

Even though their year is done, stay tuned for a few more blogs I have on the back burner for you!