I have not been keeping up with my blog because I get discouraged by trying to upload photos and then having them not come up in order, so I will continue to post most of my photos on Facebook and then do most of my writings on here. I've been here 6 months, and just now finding a system that works.
A lot has happened that I haven't been able to share with you, but now I realize that I can share little things that happen here and there on here instead of waiting for a newsletter. Sorry this is all just now coming clear to me.
So I shared in my last posting that I had the opportunity to visit Maradi, and major city that's 10 hours from here. This was a tremendous trip as it offered me an opportunity to get away and reprioritize life. It was a time of great spiritual revival and I was ready to take on the world when I came back to Niamey! While I was there, I also had the opportunity to visit a leprosy hospital and crop planting project. Both were very neat, as both are meeting the needs of the people and there's many opportunities to share stories and the plan of salvation.
After coming back, the school year continued in full swing. All went well for the most part. A sad moment was when my student from Norway had to return home. I had spent a lot of extra time with her, teaching her english, so as to form a special bond. It was very hard to see her go, but I will see her again this coming school year. So then I got a taste of what it's like to say final goodbyes. Being in this type of ministry requires many goodbyes, as teachers and students come and go quite frequently. It's bitter sweet and you just learn to treasure each and every moment you have with each person.
At the end of the year, I had the opportunity to assist my friend Ruth with icing the graduation cake! It was so much fun and turned out really beautiful in my opinion. We were a little late to the graduation, but that's okay. It was a lovely ceremony. Being that it's a small school, I also had the privilage of attending their banquet as well (which is like their prom). Even though I didn't have any special connections with any of the students, I still enjoyed this very much :) Next year I hope to seek out more opportunities to hang out with the upper classmen.
Wrapping up the year, my students had a swimming party, signed yearbooks, received class awards, cleaned out the classroom, got report cards, and finally ended with an assembly. Then they left. All went smoothly, I was just exhausted by the end! The last day was all that I had hoped it to be and still can't believe that my teaching the grade 1 & 2 class is finished. I'm going to miss my kids very much! At least I will see many of them on the playground and church next year :)
Now for the goodbyes. At church every Sunday, they have a time for hellos and goodbyes. Towards the end of the school year there's always a lot of goodbyes, and it's a time to see your friends one last time. Many times (as long as I'm all prepared for school the next day) the singles will go out to eat afterwards (it's an evening service as many of us attend a local service in the morning). I was able to hang out the last couple of times, as I knew these were my final times to get to be with Kathryn and Mike, both a very treasured friends. I did have the opportunity to spend lots of extra time with Kathryn, which I will hang on to these memories forever. Our last outing was right before I was to leave for Ghana, and she for home. We had planned to get pedicures, but nothing was working out! Just another reminder of where we are :) Looking back, it was a time full of adventure and laughter and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Did I mention I hate goodbyes? I also had to say goodbye to my dear friend Wanda, but I have a good feeling that I'll be seeing her again since her son will be going to the same school my Bryan goes to, which this connection still blows me away.
I will end here and then post about my time in Ghana on a seperate post. So much has been happening!