Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sonic the Hedgehog

Donnie found a hedgehog one night. Isn't he cute?


The day before we took Brooke and Larry back down to Niamey, Brooke and I went over to spend the afternoon with my friend Mina. We had lunch, and then after lunch they busted out the henna.

It didn't last too long as I spent everyday in Niamey swimming at the pool. But it was nice while it lasted.
Check out those cankles! The beauty about bed rest is that it has restored my
feet and ankles to a non-prego state. I'll have to take a picture when I have my camera.


So, after Tagalalt, we went to Mini-Mini to spend the night. Unfortunately it was a very quick trip, I only got to see a few of the women, and I never got a chance to go back before leaving Abalak. It will just have to wait until we get back. We'll probably live out here when we live in the bush. This is the oldest and most developed site that the project works with. This site, and the rest of the valley is where most of the land regeneration projects have been done (if you're interested, I can tell you more). This particular morning we were making a tour of the wells getting water samples for a friend back home. Here are some of the women collecting water for the day.
This is Seidi, the Camel Whisperer of Mini-Mini, with some of his baby camels.

Ever spit tobacco into a camel's mouth?

This is just a little guy.


Tagalalt was the village where I lived with Erica and Linds for four days of the week when I lived here in 2001-2003. When we first arrived at Tagalalt, all the men were at the well. It was a little bit of a suprise visit, they didn't know we were coming. I think the element of suprise makes for a better visit. This is Mallum, the chief of the village. I tried to get a candid shot but everytime he would see me he would pose.

I don't recognize this young guy at the well with his turban on, but he was probably one of the little kids I once knew six years ago. This well is around 100 meters deep, all hand dug. They twist the ropes by hand, they're made from the strands of plastic that are woven together to make the sacks that millet and rice come in. They use teams of donkeys to pull up the water.

This is Ali, one of the believers here at the site. He's been through literacy classes, and can kind of slowly read words and laboriously write them if he wants to, but because he reads so slowly, it's hard to put it all together and understand. Steve bought a bunch of these tamper-proof, Niger-proof, solar powered MP3 players that have the entire Bible recorded on them in their own dialect of Fulfulde. Donnie and Steve are showing him how it works.

We were getting ready to move on to Mini-Mini after lunch. Moussa's helping Larry put his turban back on.

Who Needs Alkassoum?

This was during the settling in week, the week before the five visitors came. Donnie decided to do some deep cleaning.

I thought he was silly at first, but when we were done it looked like a whole new place. We showed Zeinou and he thought that we'd repainted the floors. As it turns out we were able to keep it looking this good with daily sweeping and an occasional wet mop.

I Miss Chloe

Totally random, I know.

A Brief Synopsis

Our first weeks in country have been a bit of a whirlwind of activity. When we first arrived in Abalak, visitors in tow, living arrangements were not quite what we'd expected. The first few days we were sleeping in one house, cooking in another, and going back and forth between them all trying to get set up. Luckily, Brooke and Larry seemed to take it all in stride. That first week we visited Tagalalt, Mini-Mini, and Toumbi's family at Abilbal. All too quickly it was time to take Brooke and Larry back down to Niamey. We stayed down there for a week to visit the clinic where I was anticipating delivering, stock up on food supplies, and to hang out at the rec center where we were blessed to meet cool new friends. We then went back up to Abalak to settle in to our new place and start learning Tamasheq. In addition to scrubbing the floors, I learned to make yogurt (so easy in Niger) and sewed together some cotton produce bags in an effort to not contribute to the black plastic bag problem in Niger. I think we had about a week before we had more visitors. We hosted a group of five in Abalak for a week that were there to do an evalution of the relief and development project. I don't think I've ever, in my whole life, spent as much time in the kitchen as I did that week. (By the way, Abalak Alumni, I've expanded my repetoire beyond chili, peanut sauce, and East Indian Beefy Curry fact I haven't made peanut sauce once yet!) They left last Saturday. Sunday afternoon I went to Alkassoum and Tawadou's and read with them some stories in Tamasheq (I still haven't gotten over the fact that they have a little girl!!!). The next three days after that I wasn't feeling so hot, so Wednesday we came here to Galmi...but more on that later.

19-24 weeks

Here's my ultrasound at 19 weeks (or maybe is was 20?) done at the end of February at the Kaba Clinic in Niamey. Not too impressive, doesn't look like much at all, really, but you can see a spine! Even if we'd wanted to, their machines are kind of old so we wouldn't have been able to tell the sex anyways. I was hoping to get a print of where you could see hands and feet, that was cute, you could actually tell what they were. I just had another ultrasound done here at Galmi this week and everything is looking good on the inside, now if we can just keep him in there until July! I've been feeling him moving around in there for awhile now, but just in the last week or so we've been able to actually see it. It's kind of weird, like I have an alien in there, or something.