Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Little Turban Man

Crocodile Meat

This weekend was the the 60th anniversary celebration for the organization that Hubert works for. In fact, he was the one that organized the festivities. Anise came back from the dedication of the new building saying that they'd already eaten lunch and that there was really good food there and they even ate crocodile meat and that they brought some home for us...

Bissou Bissou

For the last bit of our vacation time we're staying in Belfort, France with the French family that Donnie stayed with while he was learning French 10 years ago. They've stayed in contact over the years and consider Donnie to be like a son to them. It's been wonderful to get to meet them and they're taking such good care of us...Merci Famille Euvrard!

Here's Micah giving kisses to his Grandpapa Hubert...


I'd never seen swans before in real life. Today we went for a walk around a water resevoir and as we began our walk we came across this sight...

I was a bit amazed at what large feet they have.

The papa swan was a bit agressive and would chase after runners and dogs if they got too close to the mama and the babes. It was amusing to watch. We continued down the path and soon crossed a doberman pinscer headed back in the direction of the swans and we wondered what that encounter might be like.

Here are a few other shots from our walk today...

Hard to imagine that in just a few short days we will be leaving this beautiful place and headed back to our "big sand box" as Donnie likes to call it. Unfortunately, though, we're still not cleared to go back up North and so we will be stuck in Niamey for a bit...hopefully not for too long as it gets expensive to stay there and as much as I hate to leave the western world behind, once we get back to Niger we will be anxious to be home again.

Operation Christmas Child: Jadiri

What else can I say? The kids loved opening up their boxes. It was fun watching them go through them and look at all of the stuff inside. Here are a few pics from this site.

Here's the link to the rest of the Jadiri pics:

Operation Christmas Child: Tagalalt

In mid-May before we left we loaded up two trucks full of Christmas boxes and along with the Mannixes we made a day trip out to two of the Wodaabe sites. We went to Tagalalt first in the morning.
Here are some of the fathers having tea while the children are opening presents. The women were all over at Mallam's house.

Some people really put a lot of effort into these boxes. Some families and individuals put together multiple boxes. Many people included letters and addresses in hopes of corresponding with some of the children.

Imatane took care of Micah for us while we were otherwise occupied.

Some of the kids were scared and didn't know what to think of some of the stuffed animals that were in many of the boxes, but this little girl looks like she loves her dolly.

Micah had fun playing in the empty boxes while we waited for lunch.

We took loads of pics, way to many to post here. You can look at them here:

Operation Christmas Child: Ecole TANAT

The first place where we distributed boxes was at Billou's school, Ecole Tanat. Tanat means "good decision" in Tamasheq.

Boxes being unloaded from the truck.

And here are a few of the kids who were told to sit in their seats but couldn't help but watch what was going on outside.

We started with the youngest of the four classes first. This little girl sang us a song before we began.

It was quite an occasion...all of the kids came to school on Sunday morning so that we wouldn't disrupt classes and all of the parents on the "school board" were there. We each took turns passing out the gifts.

Of course, the children were all very excited to receive their gifts.

Here is a link to my facebook album with all of the pictures from the day: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=66111&id=1248716064&l=781e84bfc5

And here is a link to the Association Tanat: www.associationtanat.fr. It tells a bit about the school and there is also a link to sponsor a child as well.

[Well, I tried to make them links, but apparently it didn't work, so you'll just have to cut and paste the addresses :(]

Operation Christmas Child: Part I

Christmas in...May!
I'm sure many of you have heard of Operation Christmas Child, a program through an organization called Samaritan's purse. Every year around Christmas time they gather shoe boxes of gifts put together by people in the states and then they distribute them to children around the world. Ever put together one of those boxes yourself and wondered where it ended up? Well, this year, a large number of those boxes ended up in the Abalak region of Niger! We received boxes from Wisconsin, Minesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and Missouri. So far, before we left on vacation (and would have otherwise been evacuated for security reasons) we were able to do five distributions, one at the private school in town, other families around Abalak, and then one each at three different Wodaabe sites. We still have more boxes at home and are hoping that we can go home soon and that someday our ban on bush travel will be lifted so we will be able to take more gifts out to more children in the bush.

Here are the boxes on just one more leg of their journey from the states to Niger. They're coming from the distribution center to the office in Niamey while they await transport up to Abalak.