Friday, June 16, 2006

By Golly..

Well buy me a vacuum and an apron, Harold, I can do things around the house! In the last 24 hours I have:

  • Learned how to stich -I tried to learn in Girl Scouts, but by the time I had threaded the needle and knoted the thread I was exhausted. I ususally took ten to fifteen minutes to do so, and I had sucked on the thread so much ot get it through the needle that it split and I had to cut it. This happened so often that by the time I tied the knot and started, I had aboiut 2 1/2 inches of thread to work with. Plus, I'm sure I poked my figer a lot. Today things have changed. With Aichatou's patient guidance, I have learned how to thread the needle, tie the knots, mend the rip and do it all over again. That's right, yours truly has indeed mended a pair of training pants and a very cute little flowery dress for my dear friend Marie. (Who is currently making use of neither as she is parading around the house "naked as a bluejay" as my family used to say, after her bath).
  • Tied a real baby on my back (not Tigger this time!)
  • Baked a batch of snickerdoodles, successfully halving the recepie without any kitchen disasters. Mom, I think I've overcome my kitchen inablitity, although I have yet to tackle "real cooking". No longer am I the woman who fools the "fool proof" Keylime pie recipe or forgets to boil the water before adding the pasta. I am a snickerdoodle-making machine. Of course, you always knew I was good at baking, since I was the one turned to in the fear of your brownies. Teehee.

It is a wonder Aichatou let me do all this after our 20 minute conversation over the word "klutz" at the dinner table last night- Tom and I were trying to define it in French because I had used it in reference to myself. When Tom told me Aichatou would teach me all the African secrets, I didn't think I'd lose my clumsiness and gain the ability to save nine in time. (Get the pun?) Next time you see me I'll be able to balance a copius amount of things on my head while walking, simultaneously spinning dishes on a pole in both hands. Or maybe that's too much to hope for.

Although...perhaps not all my clumsiness is gone. Yesterday I woke up early from sieste and Ramatou (my roommate) and I went on a walk. There were a few thorny sticks on the ground I stepped on on the way--that is, I counted 36 thorn-sized pinpricks in ONE flip flop when we returned, many of the thorns still residing in the sole!

The Johnson family actually lives on the border of Niamey, sour our walkt took us out into an open field, for lack of a bett word, except taht said field is made up of sand and rock, not grass. We spotted six or seven donkeys, numerous sheep (the sheep here are not wooly like they are in the North. They look a lot like goats-more skin than fur. You can tell which ones are goats though because they have horns and beards) and a small animal skull. Teeth and everything still intact. I think I even saw a femur bone laying around somewhere. The other abundand thing besides sand and thorns was trash. Since it is a big open area at the edge of town and Niamey doesn't have city-wide trash service to my knowledge, trash just gets dumped outsied. It's important to realize,though, that if something can be recycled it will be. Tom told me yesterday that you almost never see a car skeleton in Niger becuase people will take the car apart, melt the aluminum down and re-shape it into things like spoons, cook stoves or seives.

Tomorrow we are going for a picnic with the girls at the hospital to visit my friends the giraffes again. The snickerdoodles are to come along and so is the whole fam. I can't wait. It's still hot here, but I still drink around 4 litres of water a day, maybe more. Rain hasn't come in more than a week, I think. I can't believe it's been nearly two weeks that I've been here. Days are flying by faster now that I'm in a routine.

One more thing-Marie is to be enrolled in preschool "jardin des enfants" in a couple weeks, which means I will be free for three mornings a week. Right now it looks like I am going to spend a lot of time with Ramatou and Zeinabou and her children. I have started teaching Haoua her letters, and now that Fati and Faycal are out of school, they have the mornings free too. Zeinabou has expressed a desire to learn English (she already knows 7 languages!) and so you are looking at the future maitress of L'ecole d'Amanda. I know some of you have teaching experience (my Dad told me about all the book club members at Central that read my blog!) Please, send any and all reading/writing teaching tips you have my way.

Baby's crying, gotta go. Another day in the life.

Hope God is blessing you where you are, he certainly is blessing life in Niamey!
Much love,

Amanda

22 comments:

ashleyfo said...

well ma'am it sounds like you're learning a lot. Adventures adventures adventures. Update from the neighborhood-John Marston was delivering papers in the hood today! randum! Um lets see besides that, I saw belly dancing yesterday with dan, that was fun. Have you seen any local dancing going on? If you see any, post photos!! Glad you're having a blast.
-AShley

Mom said...

The term is:"Naked as a JAY BIRD!"-- One we used quite frequently when you were Marie's age! :-)

Mom said...

I never imagined you'd come home with homemaking skills! Keep up the practice, my little klutz, you!
-Yay, Aichatou!!

Laura said...

post pictures of the kids! i can't believe you're learning to cook and do so much!!-who knew you had to go to Africa to gain these skills (or could you do it all along, you were just faking us out?-nope, the pasta just came to mind) glad to hear you're keeping hydrated! love you!

Miss Christine said...

Amanda. This is of utMOST imPORtance! I believe that we are SWITCHING PERSONALITIES/AURAS/WHATEVER. I, little homemaker in the making, have become the ultimate klutz. I trip over everything, run into the edges of tables at the Gap that have been there the entire time I've worked, and drop everything everywhere. Since you are picking up all these handy things and I am becoming klutzy, I believe we have switched... beings.

Or perhaps I was always a klutz. That must be it. ;-)

P.S. I bought cute clothes today! I wish you were here so you could come buy Gap clothes at our big sale! (tops for 6.99!)

Kristin said...

So I'm a bad friend that forgot to check this blog for a long time...in fact, I haven't talked to you at all in a really long time! Well, I miss you so much but I'm really glad that if you had to go so far away it was to do something so worthwhile. I hope when you come home you can teach me all about Africa :) Your courage amazes me...sorry if you're sick of hearing it, but I don't know why you would be. Hopefully hearing that makes you happy. I'm kinda rambly because it's pretty late, so I'll wrap up: I miss you, you're in my prayers, and don't forget a single thing so you can tell me everything k? Love you!

Miss Christine said...

Hey... it's been above ninety here, so you can at least feel in good company in the heat - although I'm sure it's probably even hotter there! <3

Cool wishes,
Me :)

LauraMunroe said...

amanda!!! i finally read all of your blog. you amaze me woman. i cant wait to see you and pictures and hear wonderful stories from you in person. i miss you like crazy and wish you the best!

xoxoxo- your cousin laura m.

Tom Johnson said...

Hello, this is just to update you that Amanda is going to be with our Iowa volunteers at the rural hospital for 4 days. They desperately wanted her translation talents, since their Spanish wasn't working in the Nigerien bush. She'll be back on Friday.
Tom

Tom Johnson said...

Hello, this is just to update you that Amanda is going to be with our Iowa volunteers at the rural hospital for 4 days. They desperately wanted her translation talents, since their Spanish wasn't working in the Nigerien bush. She'll be back on Friday.
Tom

Jeff/ Gretchen said...

Thanks, Tom-- We're glad she can help out inthis way!

Your mentor said...

Hey you! Sorry I haven't been in touch yet, but I've been reading your blog and trying to keep up with all your adventures--and by the time I'm finished reading, I'm too tired (from vicariously reliving all your adventures) that I can't bring myself to post a comment! Anyway, I'm glad you're having a blast. We took Maury with us to Indiana this weekend--talk about adventures! I'll write you an email to tell you all about it. For now, let's just say: he had a nice time running around the scenic Indiana countryside on Sunday morning. But don't worry--we captured him and brought him home safely, with only about a million burs stuck in his fur. My sister and I successfully picked them all out, one by one. Good times. :) Love you lots! I'll write more soon!

Miss Christine said...

Haha, Amanda, I forgot to tell you this! You mentioning that you tried to learn how to sew in Girl Scouts reminded me of the year we sewed our own Santa hats (my entire troop!) for the Santa Claus parade... which we were in many a year. The year we rode on a float instead of walking... wooo buddy... SO COLD.

Kin Ma said...

Dear Amanda,

Hello! This is Kin Ma, an MSU friend of Tom Johnson. I linked to your blog through Tom's newsletter. Thanks for your candidness and sense of adventure and helping us experience the journey to and within Niger. Your humor and patience in watching the giraffes is uplifting.
Keep up the great work and may the Lord teach you much more in the days ahead.

Peace,
Kin Ma
Grandville, MI

Mom said...

Amanda- we got word from Bz & Dz that Brandon PRINTED OUT your WHOLE BLOG for them,so now they're all up to date with your goings on!! :)

michael bell said...

HI AMANDA!!! im sorry im such a bad friend and didnt get to call you before you left. thank you SOOOOOOOOOO much for the bday/grad present. you absolutely made my day! im almost done with the book (ive never red it before). its super cool how donald (were on a first name basis now) signed it! haha anyway im going to write you in africa so watch the mail!!!!! love you!!!!!!!!!

Amanda said...

Hey Everyone! Thanks for your comments, they are SO encouraging! I know I haven't updated recently, but there is a LOT to write about, and a very long post will be coming soon. I do read all of your comments, however, and they just brighten my day in ways you can't imagine!

Amanda said...

Hey Everyone! Thanks for your comments, they are SO encouraging! I know I haven't updated recently, but there is a LOT to write about, and a very long post will be coming soon. I do read all of your comments, however, and they just brighten my day in ways you can't imagine!

matt enquist said...

when's your last day there?

Laura said...

amanda--i've realized we overlooked something while packing...i think i saw the camera ashley gave you in a suitcase, since it went thru the luggage detectors (higher power than the ones you put your purse thru) the pictures won't turn out. the x-rays do something to the film. hope that this is ok, that you haven't taken pics, or that you can retake them...keep up the domestic help as i rack my brain w/ o.chem!!! love you!

Anders said...

You write too much, or not enough depending on how I feel about reading that day.

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