It started like any old normal Saturday.
What is a normal Saturday?
We don’t have those so let me start over.
It was a Saturday. This particular one looked to be quite low-key. Neal was in Diffa (a 2-day drive away) and we were looking forward to him arriving home on Tuesday. Tobi had spent the night with Grama and Grampa so I was on my own. Nice! My plans were to finish up the class notes for the Roots of Character class I would start teaching Monday, have lunch with Erin, go to Tobi’s soccer game, and pick up a guest at the airport who was going to be staying with us for 2 weeks.
So, I finished my notes. Erin came over and we had a nice lunch in a moderately air conditioned restaurant. This is significant since it was very hot outside – 111 by my outdoor thermometer placed in the shade. So when I say ‘moderately’ I mean probably cooled to 85 or 90. Which isn’t 111! We enjoyed our time together (well, I know I did), which is winding down, since Erin will be leaving in June. Back at my house we continued to chat (while sweating because my house is not air-conditioned –not even moderately). I told her she should come to Tobi’s soccer game with me, secretly joking, since the only reason I was going was because I had to – being such a good Mom and all. (I should give kudos to Grampa here too, since he brought Tobi to his game early, and planned to stay and watch). I told Erin that I was kidding. No one except blood relatives should have to go sit out in that heat.
Erin left and I went on my way to be at the game for the opening kick. Just as I left our house, I took note of a few clouds overhead. Wait. Clouds? Well if that isn’t just a blessing straight from God. I wouldn’t have to sit with the sun beating down. Oh, and the boys wouldn’t have to play soccer in direct sun. That’s good too.
As I continued to drive, I noticed it seemed a bit dark. Then I made a turn and lo and behold this is what I saw.
I knew right then we had the makings of a great sand storm. And I was in just the right place at just the right time to get some pretty cool pictures of it.
You can see the red cloud gathering – separate from the ‘real’ clouds.
To my delight, traffic on the road was seriously reduced- another blessing! And, I was able to snap these pics.
Maybe that’s what the ‘red’ sea looked like when it was parted.
I love how the sun is shining behind me as I drive into the storm.
Wonder if the red car thinks it’s being followed…
Just about to turn onto the bridge. So is the sand.
Guess the red car is crossing the bridge too…
If you look closely, you can see the people on the right – running. I’m pretty sure they didn’t get anywhere inside before the sand hit.
Sun still shining on the sand and the dry river – though not completely dry.
Headfirst into the sand.
Heading to the school. There is a vehicle in front of me.
Right in the middle of it. That poor guy.
When I got to the entrance of the school, I thought at first that no one else was there. Then I saw a camera flash in the distance. There were 50+ people there. Here I’m parked and am facing the soccer field. Those crazy kids!
I know the feeling though. In spite of the sand being, well, sandy, it was a welcome change from the unrelenting heat that we’ve been dealing with. And that’s not just a pretty color of orange. It’s sand blowing around and getting into everything and everyone. I knew my house would be a huge mess when I got home (at least I remembered to take the clothes off the line before I left), but it was OK. I was happy for the change too. And I don’t think I was alone.
I’ve experienced quite a few dust storms over the past 16 years, but none as big or long as this. And the pics I usually get are from inside the storm – the dark orange look. This time I was able to be on the outside looking in. And then be on the inside too. Usually everything gets dark and within 5-10 minutes the sun is shining again. This baby lasted a good long time! I ventured out of the car when the ‘bulk’ of the storm had passed. I almost went into shock over how cool it was! And I’m not kidding when I say that I got a chill. It was only for a millisecond, but it was a chill nonetheless. Even a couple hairs stood up. And do you know I didn’t sweat one molecule (that I’m aware of) for the entire game?! Probably the best soccer game I’ve ever been to. And to top it off, our guys won!
They waited for about 20 minutes or so and finally started the game, even though there was very low visibility to the other end of the field. If 111 degrees isn’t going to stop these guys, certainly a little sand won’t either! Tobi is somewhere in this picture, covered with sand so we can’t see him.
We left after the game – happy campers. Tobi quietly rejoicing in their 3-2 victory (I heard him say to himself, “I really like to win”.) And me, rejoicing that for a short period of time I was sweat-less. And I saw the proof of that when I arrived home. When I left, it was 111 outside and 102 in the house. When I got home, it was a frigid 89 outside and 101 in the house. The house had some catching up to do.
Thus my ‘normal’ Saturday comes to an end. Funny thing is, when you live in Niger it really is rather normal.