Saturday, July 30, 2011

Getting shot and the reaction that followed

Niamey Niger West Africa - Not to be confused with Nigeria
Niger borders Nigeria on the North is the largest Nation in West Africa. 
Ranked #167 out of 169 rated countries on the 2010 UN's Human development index. 
(Canada ranks # 8)

Simply put Niger is second from the bottom of poorest places in the world to live.
The average number of years people attend school is 1.4 (expected years = 4.3)
(Canadian average is 11.5  (expected years = 16))
Average life expectancy at birth is 52 years
(Canadian  81 years)

And this will be home for 3 weeks - And I am excited to go live in this sub-sahara desert region. That being so, there are several precautions I need to take to ensure optimal health while I am there and when I return home. Simply put I had to get shot... 345$ later I should be healthy as a horse while I am there.  I am covered for...
Yellow Fever (must have this or you will not be allowed to enter the country)
Booster of  Polio, Measles, Mumps and Rubella
Typhoid (oral to take 1 week before departure)
Hep A & B
And anti Malaria meds for when I am there & when I get home.
Thankfully my Tetanus is up to date but of course I would be one of the 5% who have a reaction to the shots.  For 2 days after I was poked I felt off, then the bumps showed up, they were itchy little bumps too & there were TONS of them everywhere. So not cool, esp when they last a whole week, the worst was the little bump under the nail of my pinkie finger. You really do not appreciate your pinkie until it is out of the game due to injury.
Praying that the orals I have to take closer to departure will not have any lingering affects, I certainly do not want to fly feeling less than 100%. I am a little apprehensive, the last time I had a Typhoid vaccine I was so out of it I fell asleep at a concert - nice date I was- that would suck if I had to fly sick.

Friday, July 29, 2011

How it all came to be.....

One of my most favorite people in the whole wide world lives and works in Niger, each time Lisa is home we talk about the "one day" when I will come and visit her at her house. First it was her African home in Benin, then she moved to Niger so our "dreaming" was about visiting there - Thinking ONE DAY.... likely a day far off when my girls were all done with school, self supporting and independent, then maybe we would make the trip.  ONE DAY was a far off & distant dream, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be going this soon, or going alone, without my husband - funny thing is that God had that planned right from the beginning..... 

Four years ago our church was planning a missions Trip to Cuba.... I was interested in going.  Cuba would be cool, I had never been and I would love to go help the people there in what ever way I could. They had just been hit with some very serious hurricanes, I am good in emergency situations, and am willing to work, I could be useful in that situation.  I attended the information meeting feeling hopeful, then left that meeting kind of sad.  The dates they were planning on going would not work for me as I would be recovering from surgery at that time.  That was Cuba trip #1 - down and out of the question for me.

The next year Cuba trip #2 was being planned, I thought, great another opportunity to go and serve.  I went to the information meeting knowing that my health was good, that there were no surgeries on the horizon, the dates could work, maybe this year was my year to go.... Nope, God made it pretty clear that Royd was to go, so I would be staying home with the girls.  Cuba trip #2 - down and out for another year for me.

Late last year the plans were in the works for Cuba trip #3 - surely this would be a good year for me to go.  As I was praying, I kept getting this impression of Africa, my initial thoughts were... Yes, one day I would LOVE to go to Africa, but right now Cuba is the opportunity at hand, it sounded good to me.  Africa came back to my mind again and again.  I kept thinking Cuba, I am willing to go, I want to go.  Then Royd came and said, I think I should be going back to Cuba and I kept thinking of Africa....  O.K. I get it God.  Royd is going to Cuba and I have to wait and one day I will go to Africa.  Cuba trip #3 - 3 strikes and I am really out this time.  

At first I was a little ticked, I was willing to go, but it seemed that God had plans for others to go that did not include me....I admit I pouted inwardly about that for a little while, I can throw a pretty good pity party when I let myself.  I really wanted to go, to meet the people Royd had met the previous year, to see the sights I had heard about, sigh, it simply was not meant to be.  Then I really started to think about the 3 no go's to Cuba and the whispers of Africa - and finally I said, o.k. God do you want me to go to Africa?  Once I stilled and truly asked what the Africa impressions were all about, I got it - God wanted me to go to Africa. I just did not know when and to do what, but I was willing, whenever that happened to be, to go.  Still thinking several years down the road.

Within days, of me saying to God "I get it" I received an email from Chantelle, the director of the Niger Girls at Risk School.  Chantelle was extending an invitation to come to Africa and help her and her team with some extra projects at school with the girls before the school year officially starts.  She was looking for women to come to Africa to help teach sewing classes / projects for 2 - 3 weeks in September.   It was like a little light came on and I could see the sign on the wall that said... "see daughter I had something planned all along, something tailored just for you"  Africa, a dream come true, needs that fit within my skill set, with girls the same age as my own, at the school where I have been paired up to pray for one of the students for the past year. The pieces of the puzzle were falling into place, the timing and 3 strike outs with Cuba made sense now.  I was going to Africa..... it took a bit for it to sink in but I am going to AFRICA...  it still seems a little surreal, it is how God works things out and grants us the desires of our hearts beyond what we could ever imagine.  
I am AFRICA bound.....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dreams come true.... AFRICA here I come

I remember the exact moment in 6th grade, when the travel bug hit.  I was sitting listening to Tawney Owl (my brownie leader, yes that is really what we called her) talk about being born in Australia and the wonders of her homeland - I can see exactly where I was sitting, what I was wearing, what photos she was showing.  I knew there & then that one of my life goals would be to visit this amazing land I was hearing about. 

That dream came true in 1982, the year I graduated.  It was during that adventure that my desire to travel was ingrained in the core of my being.  I love everything about it, anticipating, packing, having a passport, long car rides, long bus rides,  airports (best place ever to people watch), flying,  all of it is fascinating to me...not to mention, new places, new people, new foods, sights, sounds, it is all exciting. 

I started dreaming of places I would love to visit.... Newfoundland & PEI, Rocky Mountains (done, Canada & USA) , Swiss Alps, Israel, Spain, Africa (planning stages), Paris (done), China, Norway, Italy, Antarctica... basically I decided way back then that I would pretty much go anywhere if the opportunity presented it's self.

I would love to be able to say that I have stepped foot on every continent & seen the 7 wonders of the world before I die... we will see if that ever comes to be, in the mean time I will go... I will take advantage of the opportunities presented and I will be thankful.

One such opportunity has presented it's self and I am jumping in with both feet and totally excited to be doing so.   Early in September I will be boarding a plane and heading to Niger West Africa for 3 weeks.  An opportunity of a life time and I am so totally amazed & excited that it is happening.  I will be helping at the Niger Vocational Training School (Girls @ risk school) teaching sewing projects, and what ever else needs to be done.  I can not wait!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Work continued, holidays happened.....

A few days of work turned into a few more, then those few more turned into a few more, it's all good.   I am certainly grateful as Summer is the perfect time for me to pick up some work.  No worries about calls from school needing me to be there ASAP to pick up, take home or to doctors.  It's all good, BUT blogging gets sidetracked, life happens  and is happening there is much to tell but time seems to be at a premium.  I miss writing, I miss blogging.  My mind still runs a mile a minute with TONS of ideas to blog about, I just never get here to put it down. 

So here is a nutshell version of the past few months...

June - Final Dance show of the year (Ashlynn's final dance show ever = a little sadness), school is out,  July 1st Canada day celebration fast approaching, worked for a few days. Burnaby Farmers market starts, I sell KICS Lemonade, a few Saturdays.  Got several shots in prep for Africa - reacted mildly,no surprise there, recovered, all is good. June flies by.

July - July 1st = Canada day celebration at Church = crazy insane time at our house for a few days.  Worked some more, holidays come . . .
6 days spent with friends at their cottage at Shushwap lake = fun despite the lousy weather.  We love spending time at the lake.  We taught a few new games and played many rounds. Read lots, watched a few movies and did not let the lack of sunshine ruin the fun. Laughs, movies bad weather does not hinder our fun, only the swimming.  My new swim suit did not get used.   The up side of rainy weather = AMAZING rainbow.  Sadly I was in the car at the time and my camera was back at the cottage, but you can trust me it was totally AMAZING, stretching from one side of the lake to the other in a vibrant colourful double arch.  Spectacular!
Home for about 24 hours to do laundry and re-pack then pack the car, add a tent and a few other supplies and we are off for another 5 days.  Creationfest Northwest 2011 here we come.  Please God no rain.... it rained the first night AFTER we set up our tent and had it well tarped - this I can handle.  The next day was slightly sprinkley then the sun burst out and shone for the rest of the festival.  Perfect!  Now we are back home, I am back at work, will be back at the Farmers Market this weekend, and life feels busy.  I feel like I need another vacation and I have only been back for 2 days.  July seems to have flown by as well. 

My grandma was so right when she said, time flies faster when you get older.  I knew she was one smart cookie!