Gas Canisters on the Roof

The Front Gates of the School that Were Locked

Part 1 - Position Available
Part 2 - The Year was 1999
Part 3 - Red Dirt or Green Grass
Part 4 - Preparations and Going the UK
Part 5 - But I's Dark and it's only 4.30pm!
Part 6 - Laying Out the Fleece
Part 7 - Oh, That's Why We're Here!
Part 8 - Shakin in my long skirt and sandals
Part 9 - You won't mind teaching history will you?

During our time in Niger we had the opportunity to experience many cultural things. We were able to visit a village and stay overnight in a hut (not a tourist village, a real one where some Southern Baptist Missionaries work). We were able to visit a pottery island along the Niger River as well as go on two camel treks (pic left - me trying to get on the camel). I don't recommend sitting on a camel for more than an hour.

All of these things were 'fun' and interesting but there were two challenging events that happened which looking back may seem a little exciting but at the time were quite scary. I'll share one event here and one in the next post.

The first event happened after we'd been there for around 6 months or so. Every year at the same time the students in Niger riot in protest to an event that happened a while ago. On this day they were rioting on the bridge which was very close to the school where we lived. Michael and most of the men who lived on the property were across the other side of the bridge at the SIM office as it was mail and pay day. I was on my own in our house when I noticed that there were a lot of people walking along the narrow pathway that ran alongside the river. Our house was about 40 metres from the river and this path was infrequently used. There's no wall or fence along that edge of the property, just bush.

The bridge where the riot happened

I could hear the noise of the riot and occassionally there would be a bang on our roof which I later learnt was from gas cylinder's landing that had been shot into the crowd by the riot police. At the time I was emailing my parents who are missionaries in Papua New Guinea. I emailed and told them about the gas cylinders and my Mum emailed back saying that the local volcano across the bay had gone off and there was ash in the air. I emailed back and said 'you win!'.

After a little while some of the people who were streaming past the property on the narrow pathway decided to come onto the school property and our house was the first one they'd see. You guessed it, I was scared silly and rushed around, turned off all the lights, locked the doors and squatted in the corner with the phone. I phoned the front of the property and told them that four guys had planted themselves at our back door and were helping themselves to our water tap. (pic: back of our house)

They sent the school property guy up who was a local to ask them to leave and they did. I don't think I was in any danger but you never know!

Of course the gates were locked at the front of the school and all the kids were locked inside although I heard later that some of them had climbed on top of the roof to see what was going on. It was quite exciting for them I think.

What did I learn from this? Life as a short-termer may be fun, interesting and sometimes dangerous but God is always in control. If he wants you to be somewhere he'll protect you. Stay tuned for the next installment because the second story I have to share is actually quite a bit more scary than this and a big testament to what the Lord did for us while we were in Niger.

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