Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An African Son

I've written about our Gourmantche son, David, before. Several times, I'm sure. It's been fun to watch him grow up over the years and a privilege to be a part of his life. This year David is in the University of Niamey in the Medical School, studying to be a Doctor. He's always wanted to be an evangelist and he's excited that being in the Medical profession will open doors for him to share Christ with people.
Well, starting University here has been a real experience for David, Gary and I and David's family! We certainly have learned a lot about the "system" and how to navigate it. One of the requirements for him to be in the Medical school was that he had to have a laptop. Why is that? Because most of his academic material is found on the internet or passed to the students by the professors on USB sticks. That's because medical textbooks in French are just too expensive for the students to buy. Another chunk of change goes into making the necessary photocopies.
When David goes to class, he leaves around 5 a.m. in order to be at the lecture hall by 5:30 to get a seat. Classes start at 8 a.m.! The hall holds 250 students, but there were 800 enrolled at the beginning of the year. By now, a good number have gone into other studies. David had to persist to be able to remain in the medical department.
By next year, much of the material he will be studying will be in English, so Gary and I have been speaking English with him when we're together or on the phone. He's getting quite good, and I enjoy getting text messages from him. I can never tell what he'll say next!
Tomorrow is my birthday. It's late at night...midnight, and I just got a text. It's from David and this is what it says:
"Hi this is a song 4 u. let go, sing whith me "Happy birthday to u, hapy birthday 2 u, hapy birthday 2u mama, hapy birthday to u!" Be blessed mum!!!!!"
I am blessed! Very blessed to have David in my life!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Home Improvement, Makalondi Style

The Christmas before this past one, my sweet husband bought me a romantic Christmas gift. A hot water heater. Not standard fare in Makalondi, where we don't have 24 hr. electricity or good water pressure (water tank above the house), nevermind that it's usually so hot here that we don't Want a hot shower! But during our cold season, the water does get chilly and I would dream of a hot shower.

We kept wanting to get it installed, but for one reason or another, it just didn't happen until last week. And then it happened! Gary brought out our good Gourma plumber and in one day, he had attached the water heater to the house outside our bathroom shower and connected up the plumbing and elecrical wires.

When they tested it, there wasn't enough water pressure to make a spray of hot water! It just kind of trickled out of the shower head. When Gary showed me, that didn't discourage me! All you need is just a little hot water to make all the difference. Sure enough, that evening, I turned on the hot water and very soon needed the cold water, making it just perfect for a warm shower! Ahhh.... What I've dreamed of for 12 years finally became a reality!

Having been inspired by our success with the hot water, we decided to get the decaying kitchen wall done...finally! We couldn't find a mason in Makalondi willing to do the work (for whatever reason...but we have our suspicions). So Gary hauled two loads of cement bricks out and brought the mason with him. In three days we had a new wall up and while I write, the cement is curing as they splash water on it several times a day. Maybe in a week or so, I can get a painter to come out and paint the walls a nice ocean blue (any color to bring cool water to mind). But for the time being, my fridge is right up face to face with the stove, and I don't think I'm going to be able to cook in there . We'll sort it out, but the consolation is, that when all the renovation is completed, I'll have a sturdy wall and a bit more room. That's big!