That’s how she greeted me this morning, with almost more smiles than sounds: “Bonne arrivée, bonne arrivée.” As I sat under the carport eating the hard-boiled egg, blueberry muffin, and banana that my wonderful housemate, Kathy Miller, set out for me, I met Lynlee, Kathy’s house worker. (I’m very unsure of spelling at this point, and I’m only partially confident on the sounds of her name. 🙂 ) We exchanged a few more phrases en français, and it was great! Then I got to pet one of our neighbor’s cats—a very skinny tabby who looks like the “after” version of my cat at home, if my cat ever did a weight loss program. It wasn’t even very hot under the carport, around 9:00 this morning, after it rained yesterday. I’m sure, though, that the heat will be coming. You know why?
Because I’m in AFRICA!!!
Praise the Lord, I arrived safely in Niamey yesterday evening. (For those of you wondering, “bonne arrivée” literally means “good arrival.” Lynlee was welcoming me to Sahel. 🙂 ) My baggage even caught up to me this evening, so that is another huge blessing. In the mere day and a half that I’ve been here, I’ve already felt completely welcomed and embraced. Here are some highlights from yesterday, my first time ever in Niger:
- John and Nancy DeValve personally picked me up from the airport and drove me to Sahel. They basically gave me a driving tour, which was marvelous! And they explained the railroad-down-the-middle-of-the-street. Well, when I say they explained it, I mean that we talked about how it doesn’t make a ton of sense. 🙂
- Kathy welcomed me to her home, introduced me to the dog she’s taking care of, and guided me through Sahel’s campus over to the staff dinner where…
- … I had the chance to meet a lot of wonderful people!! And eat some great food. And just sit. Without being airborne or in an airport. Marvelous.
- Kathy and I took Lady, the dog, for a night walk through the campus. Kathy gave me the low-down on the buildings and a few of the ins-and-outs of Sahel.
- Then, sleeping. Enough said. 🙂
And today has been great. I had the chance to walk around and talk with Dietrich, my cooperating teacher. I finally met Mikki Schmidt face-to-face; she is my supervisor for this student teaching experience. Kathy coached me through making deviled eggs, and then the single women who work here at Sahel came over for dinner here at Kathy’s! It was wonderful. There are 3 other new female teachers this year, two of whom are right around my age. Three of the twenty-ish aged single ladies live in one of the houses really close to mine, too, so that’ll be fun. 🙂
So far, it has been so great to settle in and meet some of the other people who help make Sahel the amazing place that it is. The conversations have been encouraging, insightful, and hilarious at times. 🙂 I’m so excited and so blessed to be here!
In summary, please praise God with me that
- my luggage arrived! I could have made the two-and-a-half outfits from my carry-on last for a while, but we’re all grateful that I have more clothes now. 🙂
- I’m staying healthy so far.
- I truly am enjoying this experience. Yes, I still get nervous about teaching, but it is so good to be here. Truly, we all need to praise God for this.
And join me in prayer for
- Balance as I allow myself to settle in while also looking ahead to what I’m going to teach, how I’m going to teach it, and how I’m not going to ruin these children forever. Just kidding. 🙂 But really.
- Peace as I figure out time for teaching and time for grocery shopping and laundry (another praise, we have a washing machine in the house!) and making meals and normal human functioning things.
- Wisdom as to how much time I spend here on the Sahel campus and how much time I venture out into Niamey. (No worries, Mom and mom-like figures—I will not be venturing by myself.) It is kind of a mini-English-speaking community here all to itself. As I get busier with school, I’m just not sure how the balance of Sahel life and Niger life will work. Good thing God knows!
Thank you for your interest, your support, and your prayers! Oh, and please be praying for all the teachers and students as we prepare for another school year. There are lots of details to straighten out before August 13th. Thanks!!
[Also, I’m still figuring out internet here. At the moment my pictures and my internet are not getting along. I’ll get pictures up as soon as I can!!]