Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another Milestone for Sahel Academy

When Gary and I first came to Niger in 1988, we came to work at Sahel Academy, SIM's school for the children of missionaries in Niger and neighboring countries.  We loved our ministry there and our sons attended the school.  A number of years later, the Lord moved us on to another ministry, our present one in "Gourmaland".

Our youngest son, Joe, attended Sahel Academy the longest - from 4th grade through 10th grade.  He enjoyed his years there and made life-long friends during that time.
(Here he is as an Artist on a History Day back in S.A. days)

This past August, Joe and his wife, Amy, and their 3 children arrived here in Niger as new missionaries.  Joe is a pilot with our mission aviation service, SIM Air.  They arrived two weeks before the new school year at Sahel Academy began, quickly settling into their new home.  That was important so that their daughter, Claire, would be ready to begin school on the 15th.  

Claire is Sahel Academy's FIRST 2nd generation MK to attend Sahel.  I think that's pretty special!  We have had some of our MK's return to teach and work at Sahel, and even had two of our MK's from Sahel get married…and now we have our first 2nd generation Sahelite.   

First day of school...

Claire's teacher, Miss Botheras, was a 7th grade student when Gary and I and our boys arrived at Sahel Academy in 1988!  So now we have a Sahel Alumni teaching a 2nd gen future Sahel Alumni...
Pretty cool! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summer Days To Remember

A busy summer and writer's block have both contributed to a silent blog site for the past several months.  Somehow I just didn't seem to be able to write about things that were happening around us.  Gary and I both assumed extra responsibilities while others went on vacations (we took ours in May) and that combined with the excessive power outages in June and July left us feeling abit wrung out at the end of our days. 
We had some great times though and sometimes pictures will say enough…

May was a Highlight Month for us... We celebrated our 35th Wedding Anniversary by visiting Turkey for 2 weeks, staying in little family-owned guesthouses and exploring as much as we could of this country with a rich historical heritage.  Istanbul is full of history and fascinating sites. Visiting the ancient church, the Aya Sofia, was an awe-inspiring event!

The original frescoes are being restored in the church.

Everywhere in the city are beautiful colors, designs and foods waiting to be enjoyed!

We quickly fell in love with Turkish Delight...

...and Apple Tea.

Visiting Biblical sights was a highlight of our trip.  Seeing the site of the original church of Pergamum was pretty special!

The ruins of Ephesus are not to be missed!  It took us 2 hours to walk through this ancient city and we could have taken longer.  The Library is very impressive!

It's hard to take in such ancient history. 

Pamakkule is the only place in the world where the water flowing over the mountains contains minerals that leave a white coating.  It was just stunning!

Our few days at Patara Beach on the Turkish Mediterranean were so restful.  The water was the clearest blue we had ever seen!

The region of Cappadocia was like visiting a place from science fiction!  Altho our balloon ride was canceled to bad weather, we enjoyed watching them go up the morning before...

The town of Goreme at night was surreal.
It truely was a trip we'll never forget!  We have become BIG fans of Turkey!

Then back to Niger...

When summer vacation began, Michael's family was able to pay us a weekend visit.  While they were out our way, we took the opportunity to visit a village, which would soon be unreachable after the rains began.

June was really special because our dear friends returned to Niger after a 7 year absence.  It was their oldest daughter's birthday just after arrival, so we celebrated by going out to mingle among the giraffes.

The birthday girl takes pictures.

July and we didn't get much rain...that's quite late for this country.  Thankfully the power situation was better in the city and we all watched and waited for a rain storm every day!  Meanwhile...

We enjoyed a toasty July evening picnic with friends on the dunes outside the city.  Beautiful!

And July was the first time in 25 years that I was able to catch an amazing series of pictures of a sandstorm arriving.  We were driving from Makalondi into Niamey, and just outside the city we had a perfect view of this unique storm.  The following are a few of the pictures we were able to get...

The wall of dust came rolling in on our right side, over the city...

...and we saw the rain coming from the left of us.

The two storms grew closer until they collided in front of us!

As we crossed the Niger River into the city, it was dark.  In the middle of the afternoon!

AUGUST was an eventful month, starting with a long-awaited event:
Our son, Joe, and his family joined us here in Niger...he's a pilot flying with our mission aviation program.

Back in the U.S...
4 of our grandchildren started school in August...

...leaving only one at home now.  And isn't she a cutie?!

Because we had so much rain in August, I wasn't able to drive through the water filling normally-dry riverbeds.  The clinic staff carried on very well in my absence.

Now it's September, and I can get back to clinic...and the rains are slowing down. And life continues to give us new adventures...