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

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vacation in Burkina

Written by: Jody
One thing that can make living here difficult is the lack of things to do with your children.  Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and for that reason, even Niamey, the capital city, has a lack of things to do for and with your children.   So just this past week we took a vacation to Burkina Faso, the country to the west of Niger.

After a seven hour car trip we arrived in the capital city of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou.  To be fair Ouagadougou is not much better off than Niamey, but hey we were out of Niger and on vacation and were determined to make the best of it. 

On the first day of arriving we located the go-carts.  Yes Ouagadougou has go-carts and boy did we have a fun time.  We went with some friends of ours that were in the country for a softball tournament over the weekend, one I was playing in as well.  One thing you learn about Africa is that there is not a constant fear of getting sued so the safety pre-cautions are very limited – which can be good and bad.  When we were at Victoria Falls in Zambia the lack of safety pre-cautions was a bad thing.  There were lots of open cliffs and a very slippery bridge, which we fell on.  However, the lack of safety pre-cautions on go-carts makes for a very fun ride.

Camryn in the driver's seat!  Don't worry she didn't really drive on her own...

Let me explain… First, in America they often put a safety switch on the accelerator to keep the go-carts from going too fast.  No such thing in Africa, these go-carts flew.  Second, any bumping or rough riding that would get you thrown out in America, is totally allowed, nobody really cares.  On our first ride our children rode with us so we took an easy, relaxed ride –  no horse playing for the kid’s safety.  But on the second ride, Jody threw caution to the wind and had a race with some of the teenagers from the school in Niamey.  This was probably some of the most fun I have ever had on go-carts.

A couple of days later we got to take our kids bowling.  Ouagadougou has a bowling alley.  The kids had never been bowling before, and we had the whole 4 lane alley to ourselves.  They had a blast, however again safety seems to not be a priority in Africa, since we all bowled barefoot.  This is not recommended and we were afraid we may end up with some smashed toes, but we all made it out unharmed. 

Finally we found an indoor play place in one of the grocery stores.  The girls had fun in the ball pits, on the small zip line, and just running through the mazes.  These seem to be all over the place in America, but for us it was a big treat. 
Lauren having fun!

Although, there was not much else to do, we went swimming a lot, ate out every night, Sarah loved not cooking, and ate some great ice cream treats that we cannot get in Niger. Finally on the last morning we were able to take the kids to a small amusement park.   By small I mean they had bumper cars, merry-go-around, and a few other small rides.  We spent about an hour there  -- that’s how small it was, but the girls had a lot of fun.

Camryn on merry-go-round

Jody and Jordan on the bumper cars

The girls and a hippo

And after a seven hour drive back to Niamey, Niger we picked up a new pet from some other missionaries who are leaving to go on stateside in May.  So let me introduce you to our new tortoise.  Sarah has wanted a goat, but Jody has put his foot down on that request, but he has agreed to this tortoise.  Camryn wants to name her Mary, Jordan wants to name her Sport, and I want to name her Hingle McCringleberry so we seem to be at an impasse when it comes to names, but either way, tortoise’s don’t seem to care about names.

Lauren and the new pet

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.          

Saturday, February 16, 2013

An Update through Pictures

We've had a busy several months, so we just wanted to share a few pictures that highlight some of the things we have been up to.  Enjoy!

Camryn turned 7 on December 20th.  We had a fun ocean party for her and her grandparent's Harold and Lisa were able to be here to celebrate with us all!

Opening presents...

One thing we did while Jody's parents were here was take a trip out to Park W.  This is a game reserve that is in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Benin.  We took a boat over to an island to spend the night in some cabins.

While we were on the small island we went on a nature hike only to discover we were not alone...with our guide leading us we began searching for elephants.  In this picture Camryn is following elephant footprints.  

We did find elephants...amazing and a bit scary since we were on foot and elephants can stampede...but we made it and didn't wander far from our cabins the rest of the time!

Here are a few pictures of our Christmas...
The girls with their beautiful gingerbread house.

Jordan enjoying the best part of a gingerbread house...eating it!

Very happy with their new baby dolls - gifts from a sweet friend 

Camryn decided to dress up...tiara and marker lip stick!  Nice...

From time to time we try to participate in a common African activity so that we can learn some about the culture, spend time with people, and possibly help out with their work.  These are some pictures from a morning outing Camryn and Sarah went on to collect firewood.  Every meal has to be cooked over an open fire and it's not a meal that cooks in 10 this means lots of firewood is needed.  This job is usually given to children within the 7-12 age range.  This is a picture of us heading out to look for firewood...everyone is holding up their machete.

This is Camryn making a sand angel on our way out to the bush.  The other kids thought it was silly, but they weren't impressed enough to try it themselves!

All the kids use machetes like the one in this picture.  What she's doing is actually cutting thorns off of the stick she found.  So it's not even as simple as going out and picking up sticks.  You have to walk out into the bush, find branches, cut thorns off each one, and pile them up.


Camryn and some of the other kids on our way back. hands!  Ok, so I didn't go too far balancing like this, but I'm working on it.  Also, notice how small mine and Camryn's bundles of firewood are compared to the other kids...

These boys are twins who live in a compound close to ours.  I often see them in matching clothes, so I snapped a picture.  It's not common to see twins wearing matching clothes.  However, twins are very common in our village and an interesting thing about twins is that there are special 'twin names'.  So if you have twins there are a certain number of names you pick from.  If you have girl/boy twins you might name them Adamu and Hawa (Adam and Eve); if you have boys you would name them Hussein and Hassan, or for two girls Husseina and Hassana.  There may be a few other options, but if you have twins the names are pretty much already selected.  

Aren't these babies adorable?!?!?

This is a picture of a baptism in Boubon.  Praise the Lord!

Well, I hope you've enjoyed these pictures!  We are constantly learning and growing in so many ways. Living in a foreign culture definitely has its challenges - language learning, being an outsider, being surrounded by the unfamiliar, etc.  But we are truly blessed and grateful that we are here.  We've been able to see and experience so much first hand and God has given us peace and joy throughout our time here!