29 July 2008

Brendan wants to know -

What is your favorite kind of bird?
Chickadee - 12%
Senegal Fire Finch - 7%
Falcon - 5%
Eagle - 35%
Hawk - 5%
Owl - 12%
Owl Sketch by Brendan Wright
Parrot - 7%
Birds you eat - 12%

I was quite suprised with the results of my bird poll. I was kind of hoping I wasn't the only person that liked owls. I was very surprised that "eagle" received the most votes. I expected chickadee or falcon to win. Thanks for participating in my poll - it was interesting to see what everyone thought.

28 July 2008

How Did Our Week of Medieval Meals Finish Up?

Deliciously, of course!

But our week got really busy, I came down with some sort of a tummy bug and our Internet/email started acting up, so I've not yet posted - so I'll catch everyone up - if you were just dying to know!


...we made pretzels - did you know that delectable treat originated during the Middle Ages? I didn't, but it has always been one of my favorite stops at the mall. We've actually been making big soft pretzels here for several years - we'll use them as a light dinner, especially on hot days, eating them with mustard, cheese sauce, butter (making our own didn't work quite right, oh well), occasionally ranch dressing, and always pickles on the side. Since we were having company (friends who are leaving the country definitively in a few weeks) come for an authentic Nigerien meal of peanut sauce Wed. night, we decided a light meal should do it for Wed. lunch, hence the pretzels. We tried a new recipe this time and it was a smashing success - not only was it easier than the older one we'd been using, we actually liked it better!

We also tried curds and whey (more commonly known as cottage cheese). That wasn't such a hit. We all like the cottage cheese you can buy from a grocery store in the States, but it isn't available here, so we curdled our own milk (Bring milk to a boil, add some vinegar, let that sit a few minutes and then drain off the liquid, keeping the curds. Add some creme fraiche, a touch of salt and refrigerate until you are ready to eat.) It wasn't that it tasted so bad; the curds are much smaller and more grainy than what we are used to buying on THAT side of the water. But, it is a great substitute for ricotta cheese (not always available and terribly expensive) in lasagna, so I will keep that in mind.

Finally, we made mead to drink with the pretzels: water sweetened with honey, lots of sliced lemons and spiced with ginger and nutmeg - but NOT left to ferment as was common during the Middle Ages. While the littles weren't impressed, Tim and I, as well as Brendan thought it was quite nice - and would actually be even better warmed.


...we made meat pies (people from Michigan call them pasties) and apple tarts. The mini pies we've made this week have been favorites of all the kids. We used muffin pans to make tiny pie crusts, and I was surprised by our success at removing them from the pan without breaking them into lots of tiny pieces. they sure looked cute sitting on the table, too! This is a fun one to do - and I'm sure will become a regular treat for our family.


...we finished up leftovers - so nothing really fancy. After all, in Medieval Times, they never let any food go to waste, right?


We started off the morning trying to make marzipan - acutally, I left Nadia in charge of this recipe while I went grocery shopping. We substituted butter instead of the margarine the recipe called for - and that affected the end result - plus the fact that the Nadia and under gang did all the modeling of the figures (i.e. their end result looked nothing like this picture of marzipan that I found on Wikipedia), but they made birds, birds in nests, eggs in nests, and a few other different shapes. I think they had fun, they enjoyed eating them afterwards, and I imagine we'll try this one again one of these days.

This was, I think - it is a close toss up between this and the cabbage and dumpling soup - my favorite meal, and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the gang's favorite dessert! We made another meat pie (next time I will add veggies to the mix, but apparently that wasn't so common back then). This time, instead of a pie crust or a bread in which the meat mixture is placed, we boiled potatoes, mashed them with butter (and our hands - Jonathan and Elsie Mae were impressed with that trick!), molded it into the casserole dish and used that for the crust. The filling was fried meat (prepared with onions, garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, of course), cheese, eggs and milk. Bake all that in the oven until the eggs are cooked and it was lovely. Ketchup was a favorite addition by many (NOT ME) at our table. And then, was the week's highlight...


This was another new thing that I learned. To entertain guests after a large meal, the cook would bake an empty pie shell. Once removed from the pan, they'd cut open a small whole in the bottom, shove in several small song birds, and place it on the serving dish. When the pie was cut open, the birds would "escape" and sing, to the delight of all watching.

We didn't use song birds, and we didn't use real black birds, but I modified a sugar cookie recipe to make chocolate sugar cookie dough, used bird-shaped cookie cutters, sprinkled the cookies with sugar and stuffed them all into an empty pie crust. Boy, were the munchkins and not so munchkin-gang delighted to find those cookies inside!

And the best bit? In making changes to that sugar cookie recipe - we ended up with a cookie that tasted almost exactly like the outside of an oreo cookie - so in the not too distant future, we'll be trying to make our own homemade oreos - and that will be a REAL treat, especially with a nice, cold glass of milk!

And the comments from the gallery regarding our "Medieval Week..."

  • Elsie Mae: "Yum, yum!" (As we had to shower her off after every meal, she was quite enthusiastic about EVERY meal!)
  • Jonathan: ...No words, just a huge grin and a shake of the head, then, "speciawully backbird pie."
  • Victoria: "It was yummy and the blackbird was the best!"
  • Anna: "Oh yeah, I liked the tarts the very best - especially the ones with the custard in them."
  • Nadia: "I liked the tarts and the quiche (meat pie) with the pie crust. The blackbird pie was fun."
  • Rebekah Joy: "My favorite was the trench bread with meat and potato stew, 'cause I got to make the bread. I also liked the cabbage stew with dumplings. The tarts were my favorite desserts, 'cause they were sweet and small and cute."
  • Brendan: "I really liked the meat pie with the potato crust best of all. And all of the desserts were good, but I liked the tarts best. But then I'm a growing boy. I eat anything!"
  • Richelle: "I agree with Brendan - I liked the meat pie with the potato crust and the cabbage stew was a close second. I think both of those will become regular features in our monthly menus! And pretzels, in my opinion, warm and dipped in butter, with pickles on the are always a delicious treat, but salty really appeals to me when I'm expecting..."
  • Tim: "It was all good (Lots of meat and potatoes with a dessert almost every meal - who can complain?), but I liked the meat pie (with the pie crust) and the custard tarts the best."


Last picture is from an art exhibit entitled "Sitting Pretty: Variations on the Chair," by Marilyn da Silva. This particular piece is called "Recipe for Blackbird Pie," 2001.

And Its Name Is ---

YOUKI !!!!!

"Who is It?" I'm sure you are asking.

Youki (ALSO the name of a fruit cocktail flavored/pineapplish tasting pop that our kids love to drink, but we've only ever seen it in W. Africa) is the name of Rebekah's African Grey parrot. I sent her and her daddy out to look at cages, thinking it would be nice to have a place for the critter to live before we got the critter... they came back with a loaner cage, a cage on order... and a bird.

Rebekah had discusses several potential names: Napolean for a boy, Josephine or Joan of Arc for a girl - but since it is hard to tell boy or girl on a parrot, she changed her mind completely and went with Youki!

Youki is just a baby and is still quite nervous. It can take a long time for these birds to become true pets, but once they do, they are quite devoted and entertaining. Rebekah has been working hard with Youki and in just a weekend, he's moved from having to have a blanket over the cage because our family was just too much... too much stimulation?... to where he is now eating, climbing around in his cage, preening himself and making happy noises - as long as we don't get too close. Rebekah sits and reads to him, plays music for him and makes all sorts of noises - he's even calmed just to the sound of her voice a few times.

We'll keep you updated on this adventure is it continues to progress, and as soon as he's calmed down enough to not be traumatized by the experience, we'll take a few photos and post them for you all to see.

A Diet of Manna

Still working my way through this Bible Reading Challenge, although I've fallen quite behind on the reading schedule. Oh well, even if I don't finish it in the 90 days, it has been encouraging to realize I'm making more progress than ever before reading through my Bible... in French. And, I'm appreciating the things that God is teaching me. Some of it goes hand in hand with another Bible Study I'm working through (No Other Gods, by Kelly Minter), so I'd like to share a few things...

As I read through the account of the Israelites in the desert (Numbers 11, in particular), I noticed something that had never stood out to me before: (A quick aside: there is no doubt about it, desert accounts in the Bible fascinate me and have such powerful applications - and after having lived in the desert, it just makes the story all the more real and the application all the more important.) I had always assumed that the manna, provided by God for the people, was a treat. It is described as white, coriander-ish seeds that tasted sweet like honey, and was used much as bread.

What I hadn't noticed, or perhaps put together in my mind with that description, is the following words:

~DEUT 8.2-10,16-17~

You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you... In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, "My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth."

It was the first time in my mind that I considered the possiblity that perhaps manna wasn't all I'd always imagined it to be - bread-like cookie-ish wafers with the lovely, sweet taste of honey. Kelly Minter (from the Bible study I mentioned above) says it much more eloquently, as she asks the question: "What makes you think that manna might have been a no-frills type of food?"

"God was using the manna to humble and test them... Going through times of vast desert spaces and living on less than the bare minimum are not my favorite seasons. I say it was less than the bare minimum because the Lord said He didn't want them to live by bread alone. The manna was not quite enough; it didn't fully suffice them. The Lord put them in this position so they would depend on Him and not on themselves, their provisions, or false gods. Not to mention, He wanted to do them good in the end. This is the 'making room' piece. God wants to do us good! Too often we associate the idea of turning from our false gods with misery and legalism when it really means making room for God to do good in our lives... God uses scarcity in our lives to draw us to dependency on Himself."

To me, it has been quite profound to meditate on these thoughts - that scarcity, be it provisional, financial, relational, entertainment-oriented, even God's silence for a period (or hearing from Him less - or less quickly - than what I'm actually desiring... or stomping my foot - inside - and demanding). The Israelites weren't happy with the manna - they craved the things of Egypt. "They (the Israelites) were offered the minimalist diet of manna so that their souls could feast on the Lord. Instead, they craved the richness of quail while their souls starved. You could say that God wanted bread for their bodies so they could have meat for their souls..."

God did give them what they desired, but as Numbers 11 describes, they weren't so happy with the results, which included some rather serious consequences physically, as well as spiritually.

Kelly also tied this whole episode in with another well-known Biblical account - the story of the rich young ruler (Mark 10.17-31, Matthew 19. 16-30, or Luke 18. 18-30). Jesus looks at the rich young man with expressive eyes of love - and then tells him what he lacks, what is causing the leanness of this man's soul. In essence, Jesus tells him that with his eyes so focued on worldly wealth and worldly things, he is not storing up treasures in heaven and is not following the Lord. His possessions and perhaps his postion as a man of means meant more to that young man than the Savior did. Fascinating that what Jesus told him was "You are lacking this... and to fix that lack and be able to follow/walk with me, you need to give up these."

Doesn't make sense, from a human perspective... Something is missing in my life and I know that there is a hole, yet to ultimately fill that void, I need to give up more, set aside additional priorities of my own, to make more room for God.

Some of these thoughts are just half-baked in my head - and I'm not really sure where this will all lead, but you can be sure I'll be meditating on these portions of God's Word for many days to come.


Other posts related to this Bible reading challenge:

24 July 2008

Purely for Fun


As a 1930s wife, I am Very Superior

Take the test!

Not sure exactly what that means, but it provided a few minutes of amusement!

Go ahead... try it yourself!

22 July 2008

Notre Troisième Repas du Moyen Age... or, Our Third Medieval Meal

Our meal today was one I knew would cause a few raised eyebrows from the kids - new foods, new tastes... something a bit unfamiliar. Our main dish was...

Cabbage stew with dumplings!

Tim, Richelle, Brendan, Nadia and Jonathan loved this particular dish. It is quick and easy to make - and it tasted remarkably similar to creme of broccoli soup. Since we only find broccoli about... once/he year here - at least this term... and broccoli is something I love and often crave when pregnant, this particular taste really hit the spot. Jonathan's absolute delight with the soup pleased and humored us, as he can be a picky eater.

Rebekah and Anna ate it to fill their bellies, but weren't super impressed.

Victoria's bowl is still sitting in the fridge - as she took the minimum number of required bites and insisted that she was no longer hungry. Oh well, win some, lose some! We will try this meal again, but it probably won't be a weakly occurrence... I'm not up to fighting with Victoria that frequently!

The big surprise was what we fixed to go along with the meal...

REAL gingerbread!

This is an old recipe that really could be considered "gingered bread. We saved dried bread crumbs (and also had to go ahead and toast and crumble some bread to make enough - about a loave's worth of crumbs). Then we heated 1/2 cup of honey mixed with 1 tsp of ginger and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Once the honey started to bubble, we removed it from the heat, stirred in the bread crumbs and then pressed the mixture into a greased cake pan to harden. Once hard, we dumped it out of the pan and cut it into small squares to eat. This recipe was a hit. It reminded me of a granola bar (Hmmmmm, wonder if we did the same thing with granola, would we end up with our own granola bars?) Tonight, we weren't too hungry for dinner, so some of us took the rest of these squares, cut them into smaller cubes, poured milk over them and ate it like you would cereal - and we found that pretty yummy, too. Now we've got a fun and simple (it also made me think of Rice Krispy Treats!) thing to do with all those leftover bread crumbs that hang around in the bread box or on the cutting board after Anna and Victoria slice bread - I think this is a recipe that is a keeper!


The word "lord" comes from the Old English hlaford, which meant "keeper of the bread." "Lady" comes from hlaefdigge, which meant "kneader of the dough" (from p. 45 in Days of Knights and Damsels).

Cravings (and a recipe to satisfy, at least one...)

Of all the foods I miss most while we are here in Niger, raspberries and Wendy's chocolate frosties have to top the list. And you know all those comments people tend to make about pregnant women and cravings - well, they can be absolutely true! I've got a friend on vacation in the States who has promised to bring back some freeze-dried raspberries the end of this month. And last week, another friend brought a real treat when she and her family came over for lunch. She brought all the "stuff" to make frosties for dessert - and boy-oh-boy, were they yummy... just ask Elsie Mae...

We've since been told that they are even better if you make them, freeze them overnight and then eat them the next day - that the texture becomes more solid and creamy. I've not verified if that is true or not - they didn't last long enough to experiment, so obviously, we thought they were wonderful just as they were.

With that in mind, I thought I'd share with you the recipe my friend used - in case you get a hankerin' for your own homemade chocolate frosty!

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups ice water

    1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder

    2/3 cup sugar

    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1 to 1-1/2 trays of ice cubes, as much as you can spare

    2 tablespoons soybean oil OR 2 tablespoons corn oil plus a 5-second squirt of non-stick spray for emulsification purposes

    Place all of the ingredients into the blender, including the oil and the non-stick spray. Use less water for thicker milk shakes and more water for shakes that are easy on your blender motor. The blender should be about 3/4's full. Place the lid on. Process for a full 2 minutes. Pour into cups and serve. Makes 4 - 12oz servings.


    • Add 1 tablespoon of instant coffee for a mocha shake

    • Add 1 very ripe banana for a chocolate banana shake

    • Add a big spoonful of peanut butter for a decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake.

    • Add a few broken red and white candy mints for a refreshing Chocolate Mint shake.

    • To make Vanilla Milk Shakes, omit the cocoa powder, reduce the sugar to 1/2-cup and add 1 tablespoon (yes a full tablespoon) of vanilla flavoring. For a french vanilla milk shake crack in an egg too.

We can't get the non-stick spray, but this seems to be a great way to make a yummy frosty and it requires no ice cream - which is horribly expensive here, or requires lots of effort and advanced planning to make. I think we'll be trying this one again - as soon as I borrow a blender. Mine was knocked to the floor a few weeks back, and the pitcher part is broken. :-(

21 July 2008

Ministry Update

We just posted our most recent prayer letter. Please take a few minutes to head over to Wrights Broadcasting Truth to Niger- July, 2008 to read about what is happening on the ministry side of things.

Another Successful Foray into Medieval Cuisine

This time it was meat pie, boiled potatoes and veggies, with custard tarts for dessert. They were supposed to be raisin and custard tarts, but couldn't find those anywhere at any of the shops I checked, so --- we adapted just a bit. And Jonathan has a new favorite meal - he couldn't get enough of that spicy meat pie!


"We think Daddy is enjoying being home this week, with Mama cooking like this!"

More from Oswald Chambers

"I remember . . . the kindness of thy youth."

Am I as spontaneously kind to God as I used to be, or am I only expecting God to be kind to me? Am I as full of the little things that cheer His heart over me, or am I whimpering because things are going hardly with me? There is no joy in the soul that has forgotten what God prizes...

God is saying to His people -- You are not in love me now, but I remember the time when you were -- "I remember the love of thine espousals." Am I as full of the extravagance of love to Jesus Christ as I was in the beginning, when I went out of my way to prove my devotion to Him? Does He find me recalling the time when I didn not care for anything but Himself? Am I there now, or have I become wise over loving Him? Am I so in love with Him that I take no account of where I go? or am I watching for the respect due to me; weighing how much service I ought to give?

If, as I recall what God remembers about me, I find He is not what He used to be to me, let it produce shame and humiliation, because that shame will bring the godly sorrow that works repentance.


-from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, Jan. 21 selection.

20 July 2008


We kicked off our week of medieval meals with Sunday dinner...

~A slow-cooked, thick and hearty stew made with lots of onions, potatoes, garlic, some carrots and a bit of ground beef.

~ "Trench" bread - and no, that is not a "typo," where I really should have typed French bread. Trench bread is round or oval loaves with a crispy outside crust, but the bread also serves as a bowl for your soup or stew.

~Last but not least, we enjoyed gingerbread cookies, dipped in milk, as our dessert.

Tim was preaching out in Boankada (one of the bush churches) this morning and took Brendan and Anna with him, but everyone else particpated in the preparation of this meal:

~Rebekah taught Nadia how to make the Trench bread.

~Jonathan and Elsie Mae helped Mama with the potatoes. Elsie was busy washing potatoes - both before and after they were peeled and diced. Jonathan started learning how to use the potato peeler and worked for quite a long time dicing the potatoes after they were peeled. It takes a loooooong time to peel and dice 4+ kg of potatoes.

~Victoria was busy helping clean/wash dishes and then helped lots with measuring and mixing for the gingerbread cookies. We were able to make this treat with REAL molasses - one of our friends who worked at the embassy gave us what she had left when they returned to the States recently, so this was a real treat!

~Rebekah, Nadia, Victoria and Jonathan all helped roll out and cut the cookie dough. Then Rebekah and Nadia helped keep and eye on the cookies while they were baking.

The girls then decorated the dining/living room to give it a medieval atmosphere. They closed all the curtains, turned off all the lights and fans. They set the table with our nice dishes, set out the candles for light, made a poster welcoming the rest of the family to the feast, and made sure the place was swept and picked up.

Although we had to wait until nearly 3 p.m. for Tim and his gang to return, everyone agreed this meal was definitely well worth the wait and the effort!

19 July 2008

Days of Knights and Damsels

Next week is our week of "summer vacation." Tim is taking a week off work, there are lots of little house projects we want to take care of, time to play games with the kids, and just for fun, we are also doing a "Medieval Studies" unit. We started with the intro yesterday. The big girls read all about how knights and damsels dressed - and then created costumes for Victoria, Jonathan and Elsie Mae. I was so disappointed when I found out that the batteries in the camera were dead (AGAIN!) for when the big girls introduced me to Robin Hood and Maid Marian... WOW! Were they cute!

This is the book we are using to get a lot of our ideas and information from, although we have a couple of other resources, too. And Tim is excited, too - since we are using medieval recipes for all of our meals this coming week - means a diet more based on meat and potatoes than we typically have, to he's sure he's in for a treat.

Some of the foods we are plannig to eat: French Toast, Stew served in a Trencher, Meat Pies, Cabbage Stew and Dumplings, Mead, Marzipan, Curds and Whey, Apple Tarts, Curd Tarts and Real Gingerbread. We are even going to make our own butter! I've had to come up with some creative substitutions for some of the recipes, but I think things will actually work and then, much to my surprise, I was actually able to find everything when I went grocery shopping this morning. Of course, the big girls will be heavily implicated in all meal preparations. I need to get some batteries so we can share some pictures. We also hope to construct a miniature castle that they can use to play with puppets they'll also be making.

Preparing for this unit of study has been lots of fun - I've learned lots of interesting things I'd never heard before - we'll be sure to be sharing some of those tibits with you throughout the week, too!


Did you know that the following sayings all came from the Middle Ages?

  1. Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
  2. One shears the sheep, the other the pig.
  3. He casts roses before swine.
  4. He's an ear-blower.
  5. The world turns on her thumb.
  6. It's a hoe without a handle.
  7. He sits in his own light.
  8. The pigs run loose in the corn.
  9. He kills 2 flies with one blow.
  10. She takes the hen's egg and leaves the goose's.

It will be interesting to hear what the kids think these different proverbs mean - I'm sure we'll get some funny responses!

18 July 2008

Friday Fun

Need a good laugh?
Head on over to "Rice Crispy Treats"
and read what the mom~ster had to share.
She titles this post "warped,"
but I found it just plain hilarious...
and boy-oh-boy...
could I identify!
Have fun!

17 July 2008

What Do You Do When...

...when you call home, expecting your wife, child, or house worker to answer the phone, and instead, you hear an unknown adult male voice on the line?

That was the question Tim faced just yesterday, when he called the house. Of course he spluttered, "Who is this?" (forgetting French, for the moment).

To which, that unknown male voice replied, a little exasperated: "It's me, Brendan, Dad. Who'd you think it was?"

Yep, no doubt about it... he's no longer a boy, but a young man in the making.

15 July 2008

Here's Johnny!

Jonathan has to be the cutest and sweetest little boy there ever was. I complained and muttered when he decided to arrive on our 10th anniversary (I kid you not!), but he's been the best anniversary present either Tim or I have received. His endearing qualities make it a challenge to discipline him at times - though we do strive to perservere when it is needed.

We've been a little concerned about his speech development. He'll be 4 years old in December, and while his vocabulary, grammar and syntax are all developing and he's making huge strides, he can still be a challenge to understand as he often speaks very fast and unintelligibly, especially when excited about something. As he is generally a child enthusiastic about everything, including life in general, that is a frequent occurrence. Early on, as he began to try and communicate more and more, he did figure out a most adorable and humourous strategy to help us understand what he was talking about. If we couldn't decipher the word, he'd make the sound. So dinosaurs became "roars," as were lions, tigers and bears. Horses were "neighs," the rooster was called a "cock-doo," Butterscotch (our dog) was "wuff," explosions became "pows," monsters growled and when he wanted to tell me that Safana was cooking, he'd imitate the sound of butter sizzling in a frying pan. My most favorite noise however was the one he used for sleep/nap/bedtime or any other detested and stuck on his bed related word - he'd snore! As he grows up, these sounds are slowly disappearing... but he still keeps that hilarious snore!

Last night, he came crying into our bedroom. He'd had a nightmare (that often happens with our children on the days they take their malaria prophylactic), and after I helped him go to the bathroom, he told me all about his nightmare. It was quite a scary one, so I let him crawl into bed with me for a little cuddle. When I later told him it was time to go back to his bed, big tears started to leak from his eyes, he grabbed me tightly for a hug and with his nose pressed to my nose he said, "Peeze, Mama? I need ~insert snore~ wiff you. Den me no mo scary drweam."

Those of you who know me well probably know that I couldn't say no to that, so he spent the rest of the night cuddled up as close to me as he could get... and awoke with a big grin on his face this morning, whispering, "I wuv you, Mama."

Oh, I think I could just keep him forever...!!!!

13 July 2008

LES EXAMENS... "Oh my!"

I was nervous and freaked out on the way there (It rained the entire day!). We almost got stuck in a huge puddle of water - ended up walking a long ways and then right in front of the of the school where I was taking my exams, there was a running river of mud, sand, water and trash. The father of one of the kids in my class had to carry me across, and we finally got there. My dad left his phone with me so I could call when I was through with my tests.

We had to show our identity cards, and then find our testing numbers. Mine was 238. Our classroom was the only one that had a big leak through the roof in the middle (remember I said it was raining), most of the lights weren't working, and the windows were really little and rain was coming in through them. I was glad there were no fans, or we would have frozen since most everyone was soaking wet from the rain. I took my first exam and everything went just fine. On the second one, my dad's phone started to ring. Actually, it started to croak like a frog, because that is the special ring he has it set on. The teacher asked, "Who has a phone in here?"

I didn't know I wasn't supposed to have a phone, and I thought my daddy had turned the ringers and buzzers off, so I said, "Me. I have a phone." She called me to her desk. I walked up and she asked me to give her the phone until recess, so I did.

When recess finally came, she gave me back the phone and told me to turn it off. I didn't know how, so I went into the bathroom to hide and call my mama. I told her what happened and she explained to me how to turn the phone off. When I went back into the class after recess for the last test that day, the teacher asked, "Did you turn it off?"

I said, "Yes, Maîtresse."

I took the next exam, then went out to wait for Daddy.

My tests continued the next day, too. It went much more smoothly, except that I had a big pit or river of running water flowing underneath my desk. The water from all of the rain from the day before was still finding places to go, and it had carved out the river under my desk. It was a little wierd.

I took my first exam and went out for recess. There were two more tests after that. Then I was finished and free, and stood around waiting for my dad.

The one thing my teacher bothered me about, and the question she kept asking was, "Did you bring the phone?"


by Rebekah Joy Wright (editing help from Mama)

Just a word, from the parents' point of view - obviously Rebekah didn't get to take her exams under ideal testing conditions, but we think it was a good experience for her to see what her Nigerien friends have to do, just for the privilege of moving on up into middle school/junior high. Of course, we gave her an incentive to do well, too... If she passed her exams, we'd get her an African Grey parrot, something she has been asking for now for the last 2 or 3 years.

Her exams took place June 25th and 26th and today, July 13th, the results were finally posted. She passed!!! ...so now Mama and Daddy get to make good on their promise, as she has already reminded us several times today. It will probably be several days before we can actually make all of the arrangements, but she is already thinking about names. She's settled on Napolean, if it is a male. The jury is still out if it is a female. Any suggestions?

Thanks to all of you who were praying for Rebekah as she took her exams - and just think of the great story she'll have one of these days to tell her grandkids!

(Picture of African Grey is from Wikipedia)

Edited to add - If you'd like to see how the "sky water" pools and pours during a good rain in this usually parched and sandy land, check out the following video posted by Rachel and Sjoerd, over at Life in Niger. It really is quite unbelievable! From what we are hearing, this is the best rainy season in the past 15-20 years, definitely the best one we've experienced while here. Niamey has received over 200 mm of rain already. I believe that is more than the total yearly accumulation they've received in some past years, and Lord willing, these rains will continue until near the end of September.


12 July 2008

Nightime in Our Town

Isn't this a cool photo? I saw this picture on a couple of different Peace Corp blogs, from workers here in Niamey, and thought it was really neat - but I couldn't figure out who actually took it. It actually makes Niamey look like a real city - and not the overgrown village it often feels like during the daytime!

10 July 2008


An interesting article about Niger...
(by Scott Johnson)


Brendan walked up to me this morning to ask a question about his chores. He's been tall enough to look me in the eyes for several months now, but this morning, he seemed to be taller. Sure enough, when we stood back to back in front of the mirror, it was obvious. He had clearly surpassed his mother in height.

And you know what? Most of the time I not only love him, but I also just really like and enjoy this delightful young man that the Lord has given us. We are truly blessed, and it is a privilege to have him growing up in our home.


The big kids all had other things to do the other day, so I took advantage of a few quiet minutes with the little ones to snap some pictures as they played quietly in the corner of our bedroom while I was working on Sheep Tales.

Best buddies and playmates... Aren't they sweet?


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