Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Sandstorms and Sand dunes

Anyone who has ever lived on or near a desert before knows the sand has a constant presence in our lives. It fills out streets, our clothes, our shoes, our ears, our eyes and our house often! I know that the texture and beauty of sand dunes and patterns in the drifts is something I have really grown to love. This past week we had the opportunity to enjoy sand in two very different ways- in a trip to our favourite dunes to celebrate our 4 years in Niger anniversary, and just a few days after that, a massive sandstorm hit town!

 

The sandstorm

 

This time of year we have the most sandstorms. As the dry season slowly wanes and we see the beginnings of rainy season, the high winds shift and pick up and carry moisture with them. When the winds really pick up they propel miles of fast moving sand, dry and laying on the ground, into the air in an eerie dark as night experience. You usually get a few minutes warning and can see it coming and take cover.

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Paul had just phoned to tell me the storm was coming so I ran around to close all the windows and hussle the few girls who were visiting inside. This is what we saw approaching over the roof of the house.

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When the storm hits it turns the middle of day into an eerie deep orange night. When the worst of it hit I could not even see my front gate and the wind was whipping fiercely.

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A friend posted this photo of the chaos on the road

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*photo courtesy of Julie

Another friend posted this pictures from the school across the river where Paul is working with his apprentices to set up their shop. Since they have a large field you can get further back and really see the size of the storm. Too bad Paul got caught in it!

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*Photo by Brian Bliss

He looked like a sand monster according to our kids, even his hair had turned orange!

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The sand dunes

Our favourite sand related past time is to head to a large sand dune formation on the other side of the river. Some people think that there are lots of huge dunes all around us, but in fact you need to go much further north in the country to get to the area where there are truly miles of dunes.

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I truly love the lines and texture and variety of the sand!

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The kids love the sand dunes even more than I do, if that is possible! To them, it is the world’s largest and best sand box. They bring toys, meet up with local kids, and we don’t come home until every crack and crevice of their body is filled with sand, their tummies are happy with roasted hot dogs and their limbs tired from all the climbing up!

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Bennett taking a rest on his way to the top.

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Arielle powering through the steepest part of the climb.

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This little dump truck that we brought along was a huge hit. Even the Aunties all had fun sitting and watching it pick up speed, up-end itself in summersaults and keep on rolling all the way down the hill!

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The kids loved the dump truck. They all took turns grabbing the dump truck and finding the flattest and steepest parts of the dune where it would roll down and not stop for a very long time! All the kids would laugh and chase it and have a blast!

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The dunes. An experience not to be missed it you ever visit us in Niger. I promise, your backyard sandbox will never be the same and you will have memories to cherish!

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1 comment :

Di said...

That photo of Paul reminds me of the old farmer and his wife photo all he needs is a pitch fork. LOL LOVED the photos. The sand dunes are truly amazing.