Talk about a journey into the cradle of civilization. Okay, I know Niger isn’t formerly Mesopotamia, but still, Africa is where it all began for humanity. We drove from Maradi about one hour to Aguie, the location of another of the school’s Remember Niger supports. As it turns out August 3 is Independence Day in Niger … a holiday … meaning no training … a day off. It afforded us the opportunity to visit Aguie with several of the computer training participants. The terrain just moving one hour east-southeast goes from dry but arable to dry but almost lush; it is at least as close to lush as anywhere here can be. It was truly a beautiful countryside. One could just have easily imagined being on roads through just about any Midwestern farmlands.
At Aguie there is the Primary School and dorms, same as Tsibiri, but there is also a Bible College where individuals are being trained to become pastors. Thanks to generous donations received by Remember Niger, a new school building (with two sizable classrooms) is under construction. It will be completed in time for the first day of school on October 1. If not for the concern and generosity of donors to Remember Niger, capital improvements would be rare … and new construction impossible.
What made this day really a connection to the cradle of civilization? First Kara, then Coleen, then Karen and I were given the opportunity to plant a tree. Tree planting is an Independence Day tradition in Niger. To touch the dirt, to hold in our hands the infant tree … was a goose-bump inducing moment. Here we are where it all began and where even in its best condition a land that is unforgiving but full of hope … and we are sending into the dirt the hope of new life in the form of a Nime tree.
I’d write more about today, but I’ve become a member of our team’s subcommittee of sickness. First Karen (and she hit the hardest but doing great now), followed by Emily then Beth and now me. I am writing this on Thursday morning … I slept on and off all afternoon and night Wednesday, am staying home today and am about to go back to bed. Nothing serious, but nothing I prefer to describe either.