Wednesday, November 18, 2009
On Friday we closed the deal on our new property! It was exactly what we were praying for…something in a good neighborhood, with trees, close to water and electricity, and no house so we could just build from scratch, and for around 2 million (cfa, that is). We didn’t think it would fall into our laps so quickly, and once we got here, we realized that it would be pretty hard finding something in that price range, especially with water and electricity nearby. And the whole process went incredibly smooth, especially for Niger. Zeinou, our guard, found it for us and began negotiations. He showed it to us on Sunday and by Friday we handed over money and signed the papers. Now we just have to save up to build our house!
Every Thursday is Market Day in Abalak. It’s the highlight of the week for the nomads here and every week tons of people come in from the bush to buy and sell animals, to buy other staples (like millet), and to see what else they just can’t live without. Abalak has the best livestock market in the area. I was in a hurry to get home before Micah woke up from his nap, so I didn’t make it to the animal section, but here are a few shots of Abalak on Market Day.
Here’s Micah’s new potty chair I just scored at market the other day for 650 cfa (about $1.50). They had just a plain little seat, but then I saw the super cute Baby Car and had to get it for my baby. He’s been pooping a lot, like every time I feed him, so I thought I’d go diaper free during feedings. It’s been an adventure. But I have to admit, there’s just something so satisfying about your kid pooping on a potty! Plus, it’s one less poopy diaper I have to rinse out.
This is the street just outside of the concession where we live, dubbed “Poop Lake” by previous team members here because after a rainstorm it fills with water and resembles a stagnate lake and there’s poop in it, among other things. This is one of the reasons why we want to buy our own place elsewhere…would you want you kid playing out there?
PS~Accepting donations for our building fund!
On Sunday we went over to Zeinou’s house for tea so that everyone could see the baby. Zeinou is the day guard for the concession where our house is located. He’s been working here for years, probably almost 20 by now, and he can tell you stories of everyone that’s ever lived here and probably many visitors as well.
Micah spent the morning being passed around from person to person, and occaisonlly back to Mama for a feeding.
Micah with the twins—Zeinabou and Moussa. Zeinou’s youngest children, they were born when I was here in 2002. I attended their baptism. I can’t believe how big they are now!
Zeinou and Moussa.
Zeinou’s wife Fatimatou.
This was really written a few weeks ago...wish I'd dated everything.
Last Monday, as we were approaching Abalak and our long 14 hour drive was coming to a close, we saw lots of clouds to the north and lightening. Quite bizarre for this time of year. One place near Abalak got 100mm that evening. In the next three days it rained two more times, one night it rained for about six hours and by 2 AM we had to come inside as our tafalat was leaking. These pictures are from the last rain storm. Thursday afternoon I went to market to buy some buckets and some fabric and while I was out it began to get a bit blustery so I cut my trip short and went home. I wasn’t home long when it started to pour. Lucky for us, we got the diapers off the line just in time! Rain is good, during the rainy season, but if it comes too early and then doesn’t come in season, the grass will shoot up and then die and if it comes too late it will rot the already dry pasture, which this year wasn’t a lot to begin with.
Ok, so, normally when I put micah down to sleep he cries a little. Usually 10 minutes max, sometimes less than a minute. One night our night guard heard him crying and was concerned because he thought that he was sick. And during the day, the Project workers would hear him. They told me I needed an asakansaka—the traditional Tuareg bed for infants. You hang it from your tafalat (hangar) and then, whoever is sitting nearby can swing the baby to sleep. Grandpa Jeff gave us one the other day. I think Micah enjoyed it thoroughly. I put him in it and even though he was tired he lifted his head up and was looking at everything as he was swinging.
Even when the electicity is on and we can use the ceiling fans, it’s still pretty hot inside and is much cooler outside, so for most of the year this is where we sleep. October was the Mini Hot Season and now in November, we are just starting to come into the cold season. It’s still pretty warm during the day, but comfortable at night and I’m finding that I am waking up and needing to pull a sheet over me. I can’t wait until it’s time to bring out the blankets!
Here’s Micah, just waking up!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The voyage between Niamey and Abalak is very long and very hot. When the roads are good it can be done in 8 hours, if your vehicle doesn’t break down. They’ve been working on fixing the roads since we were here last at the beginning of the year, so now the drive is down to nine hours. But it’s taken us as long as 14. Usually the first half of the trip is not so bad, it’s the second half during the heat of the day that’s the killer. Our team vehicle doesn’t have A/C, and it breaks down about every other trip to Niamey. None of the other project vehicles have A/C either. Micah gets dehydrated. I could nurse him the whole way there and it still wouldn’t be enough. Last time he stopped peeing after noon and didn’t pee until well into the evening. This time, though, I was a little more prepared and had about six ounces pumped off that I could give him. Still not enough, but it helped. What we ended up doing was to wet down his cotton swaddle blanket and wrap him up in that.