It’s interesting what you do for fun in a village. There are no McDonalds play places, although you can buy African 'fast' food when you're out and about. However, most of this I would not recommend. There are no playgrounds with slides or swings or parks to go and throw a frisbee. However, I did see children using small pieces of plastic to slide down a rocky hill. This looked painful and maybe even dangerous, but the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves. And each night the young men play soccer in the market area which is a big sand pit and stirs up quite a bit of dust, but this hardly counts as a park. And there is no Dairy Queen for a nice ice cream surprise.
Instead we are forced to find fun and leisure in other ways. Let me give you a few examples. One afternoon on a walk to the river we came across some young boys riding donkeys. The boys allowed Jordan to go for a ride on the back of one of the donkeys with daddy’s help of course. On other days the girls enjoy looking for tadpoles in the Niger River, which is the second biggest river in Africa and in which we live a short 5 minute walk from. The girls have attempted to raise these tadpole into frogs, but so far every one has died somewhere in the process.
We found out that in a village a jump rope can be loads of fun. If you break this out with a bunch of kids, fun is sure to errupt. Even some of the adults get into the action with the jump rope.
For the adults we find other hobbies to keep us entertained. For me (Jody) I have taken up planting a garden. I know this seems very un Jody like, but for some reason watching something grow each day that you had a hand in planting and preparing seems fun. And walking around the market on Wednesdays is always an adventure at the time. Finally, to close the day Sarah and I look forward to sitting down with a little Jack Bauer (TV series 24) before bed, which sometimes makes your mind wander as you lay in bed.
I’m sure that hardly any of you read our list of joys and think wow, so cool, I wish I was playing with a jump rope, or riding a donkey or even catching tadpoles in a river. In fact if you did, I’m sure you could find places in America to do all these things. However, for some reason doing them here, in this place, as a family brings us joy.
The other day I took a walk to the top of a small hill on the edge of our village that seems to be the highest point in Boubon, our village, and that overlooks the mighty Niger River. The view was absolutely amazing as the river darted around islands and stretched in both directions for miles. When I think about standing there and taking in this scene, a scene that a picture doesn’t do justice to, I think "Wow, I’m blessed to see and experience this village."
Jordan riding a donkey
Not the top of the hill I wrote about, but this hill is near by.