Niamey, Part 2

Ok, so I guess there are a few things I like about living in Niamey, the capital of Niger. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog telling about what I didn't like about the big city. Here, I'll write about a few things I like.

6. More people are available to repair things. You have more of a choice about who will fix your car or charge your air conditioner or put a new screen on your window. Though the quality of workmanship is definitely better then in the villages, it still doesn't come up to the standards many of us would find acceptable in our country. We also have colleagues who are here specifically to help us fix problems with our computers and our houses, and that helps.

5. More services are available. There are a variety of bookstores, grocery stores, boutiques, bakeries, gas stations, bottled gaz, and other services available in Niamey. Many of these were not available in Tera or there was little variety or quality in the services tendered. At least here, there is more of a choice.

4. There are more believers and stronger churches. In Tera we struggled to get anything off the ground and everything depended on us. Here there are strong believers who can help carry the load, and the whole burden for the work doesn't fall on us. We have many African Christian friends we can share with, pray with, and worship with.

3. Colleagues. One of the hardest things about living in Tera was being alone. We had no one to share our joys and sorrows with and no one working with us in the ministry (except when Mike Murphy was there in 2004-05). It was extremely lonely for me and one of the reasons we left Tera. Here we have numerous colleagues and acquaintances. Though everyone is frantically busy, at least the possibility exists to be able to get a few minutes to share the triumphs and struggles of life together.

2. Internet access. We never had Internet access in Tera. We always had to come to Niamey to do our e-mail and surf the Internet. While there is now an Internet cafe in Tera, it is expensive, and we still wouldn't have it in our house. For a month now, we have had Internet access in our house in Niamey for the first time since Internet came to Niger. It is fairly reliable and cheap to boot. It's wonderful not to have to haul our laptop to the office or an Internet cafe to do e-mail. And Suzanne can do her Internet courses on line from the privacy of her own room. What luxury!

1. Fruits and vegetables. I'm a fruit and veggie freak. I need decent fruits and veggies to survive. One of the nicest things about Niamey is the quantity, variety, and quality of the fruits and vegetables one can purchase here. We can even get broccoli, one of my favorite vegetables, in the cooler months. I still miss some of the cold climate fruits like grapes and peaches, but they are made up for by papayas and guavas. We don't have the variety and quality one would expect in the US, but it's a far cry from where we lived for 16 years.

Admittedly, this list is not long. I can't think of anything else I like about the city. But the items listed here are very significant and contribute to an overall well-being that could not be matched in the country.


A half century!

I celebrated fifty years of life on January 29. We didn't have a big party, but we did go out to eat at one of our favorite Lebanese restaurants, where they have great hummus (if you don't know what that is, look it up in a good dictionary). Here are Nancy and I toasting all those marvelous years (no wine in glasses).

While we were gone, our pesky neighbors, the Rideouts, decided to decorate our house. They strung black crepe paper from the fan, draped a Happy Birthday sign over our bookshelf, wrote a hand-made card on black construction paper, and gave me a cardboard tie with "Fifty years of Magnificence" on it. Here are some photos of the tie and card. Later, I opened my gifts. I'm still waiting on two packages from family.

The next evening we had cheesecake at our monthly prayer meeting at the Rideout's house. Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts. I got a lot of nice e-mail greetings and some sent cards the old-fashioned way.

"Seventy years are given to us!
Some live even to eighty.
But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
soon they disappear, and we fly away....
Teach us to realize the brevity of life
so that we may grow in wisdom." (NLT)

Psalm 90. 10,12