Before we head to Maradi, I need to comment on the weather. We are well into the month of March. March in Niger is hot season. That means it gets hot. Very hot. Not as hot as April, but hot nonetheless. Into the 100’s. We prepared TTC thusly. Imagine our surprise when what I would classify as a cold front came through, returning us to our more ‘winter like’ conditions. Low 70’s and maybe even dipping into the 60’s at night. I’m not sure, but it was pretty nippy. And it’s not just me and my thin blood. I even overheard a team member or 2 say ‘I’m cold’. I even saw one of them sporting a sweater one morning. True story. It still heats up during the day, but it’s not even reaching 100. God is truly smiling down on us because I can tell you from experience that doing the type of training and ministry that is going on here now is multiplied times more challenging when all you can think about is how hot you feel. It makes people cranky too. Maybe I should speak for myself. I’d say thank God for the small things, but this unusual weather isn’t a small thing. So I’m thanking God for the HUGE things!
Monday morning dawned bright and cool and we were ready for the big road trip to Maradi. Two vehicles and 10 people. So it was pretty comfortable. The roads have improved over the years so there is really only 1 section that is bad. And it’s pretty bad. But it’s been worse. Some of the potholes have recently been filled with sand, and that really does help. If it’s just Neal and I traveling in 1 vehicle, we make the trip in no more than 8 hours. Sometimes less. But we are no-nonsense travelers. Synchronized bladders for 1 but no more than 2 bush stops. We have to stop for gas but we’re almost pulling away while they are removing the nozzle from the tank. You get the picture.
The trip went great but with 10 bladders and 10 sets of intestines, some travel modifications had to be made. We left at 7am, and the plan was to start the seminar at 3pm. That gave us 8 hours.
Here we are loading up from our house.
One of our stops. Lots of ‘fast food’ options if one is so inclined.
On the road again…
Some ‘common’ sights.
There are zillions of these speed bumps (and other varieties) all along the way. Their names were changed to ‘bump speeds’ if we didn’t happen to see them before flying over them. They really are this hard to see.
Potholes are kind of like inverted speed bumps.
More good road.
Outskirts of Maradi
We’re here! Maradi ‘gate’.
We arrived into town around 3:30 and went straight to the guest house where we would stay for the week and dropped off our things. All were happy to have the luxury of a real toilet.
After enjoying an official ‘throne’ we were off to the church where there were about 35 seminar participants waiting.
The team opened with some dramas and then began teaching technique.
After a quick but very tasty dinner with the Jorgensen’s and Bowden’s – Vie Abondante missionaries in Maradi, we continued the seminar from 7:30 – 9:30. The seminars each started with one of the TTC team members bringing a Bible study. They all did great and brought encouraging revelation from the Word of God. Monday was Keagon’s turn.
Then the mime training continued…We split into 2 teams. Here, Josiah and Nichelle are teaching them how to walk without going anywhere. Pretty funny stuff.
Tuesday was much the same, well, minus the road trip through the desert. Oh – and the visit to our primary school.
Sukala and Delfin are some of our leaders in Niamey and they came to Maradi to be a part of the TTC team here.
Walking over to the pre-school.
The kids were giggling at the silly juggling.
The resurrection. Almost all of these kids are from Muslim families.
Ginger Jorgensen is the director of the school. Here she is answering our questions before we get ready to leave.
Tuesday evening started out with some awesome praise and worship. Vie Abondante and TTC together. No interpretation necessary.
Then it was Nichelle’s turn to bring the message. Neal interpreted (he’s the guy on the right!)
The students were really attentive.
So were the TTC team members.
Next was the instructional video. How many people can gather around 1 computer screen? This many.
If you think this was a long post, you have an idea of what our days are like.
Next: Wednesday and beyond!