Jody and Sarah Fox - this phase of our Journey as IMB missionaries in Niger, West Africa

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our New Normal

We’ve been compiling a list of things that may seem strange to some people, but for us, it’s our new normal. These aren’t just things we’ve heard about, but they’re so common that we’ve already experienced all of these things in only a month's time. You may have seen or experienced some of these things in America, but it would be out of the ordinary, but this is normal here and no one even looks or thinks twice about these things, except for us, but we’re getting used to them…


· Being cut off by sheep, goats, or cows crossing the road

· Rules, what rules? Just don’t hit anyone, oh wait, there is one rule… you must use your turn signal.

· We came across an accident the other day in the road. They had put out a road flare 10 feet behind the vehicle, and by road flare I mean a big rock.

· Round-abouts are common (just like you would find in France) except there are different rules for each one. Good luck remembering which rules apply to which round-about.

· Babies riding on motorcycles. Other things we’ve seen on motorcycles: huge tv, 20 ft. ladder, dad with three kids, two men on one motorcycle – each with a live sheep in their lap. We just can’t make this stuff up!

· Driving in general is pretty crazy. You’ve got two lanes (you aren’t required to stay in your lane, it’s really just a reference to width) and there are all sorts of different travelers sharing those lanes – pedestrians, bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, donkey carts, cars, majorly overloaded vans, camels, donkey carts with long poles sticking out into ‘your’ lane, goats, sheep, cows, donkey carts being driven by kids, etc. etc. etc. It’s so crazy because you’re sharing the road with things of different speeds, so everyone is constantly passing someone and then you throw in the swerving to avoid potholes…You have to be constantly aware of everything which makes driving stressful to some (Sarah) and exciting to others (Jody). Think: real life frogger.


· Cooking with a gas stove and yes the propane tank is inside (not sure this would pass fire code in America). At least when the power goes out you can still cook.

· Kitchen is unbearably hot when you cook

· Finding bugs (sometimes living) in your dry food (rice, flour, etc.)

· Have to bleach all fruits and veggies before you can eat them

· Not being able to read most food labels, including cooking instructions. I even bought a bag of French fries only to discover after baking them in the oven that they were actually beans!

· Hot dogs in a can

· Powdered milk – Lauren didn’t fuss about it at all, but the other girls still won’t drink it at all.

· Constant use of ice cubes…drinks don’t stay cold for long!


· Power outages frequently (where we are living now there’s a generator so they typically only last 10 seconds). This is so normal for the girls that they made a game to go with it…whenever the power goes out they stop whatever they’re doing and pretend to be sleeping (fake snoring and all) until the lights come back on

· Brushing our teeth with filtered water (can’t use the tap water to rinse, however, Jody forgets sometimes, he’s going to get sick).

· Cockroaches, do I need to say any more?

Out and About

· Lizards running everyone around our house – sidewalk, trees, up the side of the building. The girls love seeing them and they’re really no problem, except for the one that got into our house. There are a few different kinds we see and even tiny baby lizards can be seen everywhere.

· Sand everywhere…this is the desert after all

· Getting used to the metric system…I should have paid more attention in 5th grade!

· Not being able to communicate with anyone…hopefully this won’t be normal for too much longer, but it is for now.


· Never sitting together as a family again. Guys sit on one side and women on the other

· Hearing roosters crow during service

There’s nothing like living in Africa! What an adventure!!


  1. Oh my word! I had a lizard come in our house just last week. It freaked me out so much! Although...lizards aren't necessarily common in Louisville as they are in Africa, so it may have surprised me more than the one that came in your house.

    What a list! Sounds like an adventure!

  2. I can imagine the excitement of riding with Jody.