Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wellington Street, Sherbrooke

Same day we were at the carnival we wandered down one of the streets in Sherbrooke.  Here are a few pictures.  You will see part of a Cathederal in the pictures.  We will be going on a tour there this coming week.

Sherbrooke Carnival Feb 27th

Enjoyed the local carnval. Lots of activities, ice wall climbing, zip-line, dogslide rides, horse and sleigh rides.  Venders offering up hot apple juice to keep you warm, firepits to roast a marshmellow,  maple syrup drenched mini donutes heated over a fire(Yum). Great Quebecois style entertainment.  And snow scupltures.  There was an area for familes to pack their own snow in barrel like devices to make their own snow scupltures.  Like watching families at the beach making sand castles, except with snow.

The weather was very nice (plus 4 degrees) which made walking difficult because of the slush.  Unfortunately, at least one snow sculpture collapsed. 

As you  view the slideshow please note that early on we are showing sculptures still in the construction stage.  We went back in the evening to get more complete photos.

There is a field where families could build their own sculptures.  Early in the slideshow you will see a few sculptures.  The very last slide is that same field later in the evening.  It was covered with sculptures.

Hope you enjoy the slideshow.

Sherbrooke Carnival

We just found this sign really interesting at the Sherbrooke Winter Carnival.  Did not try one, but they had smokies wrapped in bacon.  Looked pretty good.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Field Trip

On February 19, all of the language students went to the History Museum for Sherbrooke. This was one of our scheduled French field trips. We listened to a tour guide explain the history of Sherbrooke. He talked for about two hours.  I don not know when I have ever had such an exciting time!!! Although he could speak English, he was not allowed to do so by our French instructor.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sherbrooke (2006 population: 147,427)[1] is a Canadian city in southern Quebec. Sherbrooke is situated at the confluence of the Saint-François (St. Francis) and Magog rivers in the heart of the Estrie administrative region. Sherbrooke is also the name of a territory equivalent to a regional county municipality (TE) and census division (CD) of Quebec, coextensive with the city of Sherbrooke.

Part of a region historically known as the Eastern Townships, Sherbrooke was first settled in 1793 by American Loyalists, including Gilbert Hyatt, a farmer from Schenectady, New York, who built a flour mill in 1802. The village was named "Hyatt's Mills" until 1818 when the village was renamed after Governor General Sir John Sherbrooke at the time of his retirement and return to England.

The city grew considerably on January 1, 2002, by the mergers of the cities of Sherbrooke, Ascot, Bromptonville, Deauville, Fleurimont, Lennoxville, Rock Forest, and Saint-Élie-d'Orford.

In 2007 Canadian Business Magazine Magazine ranked Sherbrooke as the top place to do business in Canada.[4] The report cites large increases in commercial building permits, strong exports, a highly educated workforce, and low unemployment rate.

Sherbrooke is also the centre of an important agricultural region with many dairy farms. An important business is the manufacturing of ice hockey sticks: more of these are made in Sherbrooke than anywhere else in the world.[citation needed] The city has a concrete truss bridge, the first of its kind in the world.[citation needed]

Monday, February 22, 2010

Niger Update

Clip below is from BBC News at

Niger coup leaders promise fresh elections

Mr Ibn Chambas said the coup leaders were keen to return to normal duties

The leaders of the military coup in Niger have promised a "return to constitutional order", three days after overthrowing President Mamadou Tandja.

A spokesman for the coup leaders said they would draft a new constitution and hold elections, but did not say when.

Mr Tandja - seized during a cabinet meeting on Thursday - was being held at a house in the capital Niamey, he said.

Delegations from the UN and the West African regional body Ecowas have been in Niger for meetings with the junta.


In the third coup in the West Africa in the last 18 months, troops stormed the presidential palace in Niamey during a cabinet meeting, seizing Mr Tandja and his ministers before announcing that they were suspending the constitution and dissolving all state institutions.

Mr Tandja is in a service quarters of the presidency and is being kept in very good conditions
Col Djibrilla Hima Hamidou

Military spokesman

Profile: Mamadou Tandja

Calling themselves the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, the coup leaders promised to turn Niger into an example of "democracy and good governance" and save its people from "poverty, deception and corruption".

A senior army officer, Col Salou Djibo, was named head of a military government.

After discussions on Sunday with Ecowas Commission President Mohamed Ibn Chambas, a spokesman for the military authorities said a new constitution would be created to replace the one amended in August that abolished limits on presidential terms of office.

Col Djibrilla Hima Hamidou compared Thursday's coup to the country's last one in 1999, when the then military leader, Col Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, was assassinated but civilian rule was restored in a year.

"This is not an army with a putschist tradition, that is not the case," he told reporters. "In 1999 we had a similar situation. We gave power back and we had 10 years of stability.

"We are going to do the same thing."


Chronic poverty

Population 14 million, 61% live on less than $1 a day

Resource rich

Huge reserves of uranium, Chinese firms digging for oil

Politically unstable

History of coups, assassinations and on-off rebellion by nomadic Tuareg people in the north

Source: World Bank

Niger, where the army matters

Country profile: Niger

Col Hamidou said the president was being held in a house in the grounds of the presidential palace and that the Red Cross would be allowed to visit him.

"Mr Tandja is in a service quarters of the presidency and is being kept in very good conditions."

"For now, we are taking care of his security and his health."

By Sunday, all but three ministers - Prime Minister Ali Badjo Gamatie, Interior Minister Albade Abouba and Finance Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine - had been released from house arrest, he added.

Mr Ibn Chambas said the coup leaders had told him that they intended to return Niger to democratic rule and then return to their normal military duties.

"They have assured us there will be an opening for everyone here in Niger, for an inter-Nigerien dialogue," he said.

"It is this process that will lead to a new constitution and credible elections. They said they want a short transition that ends as soon as possible, but it is also the political dialogue that will define the timetable."

The BBC's Caspar Leighton in Niamey says the city remains calm and people are going about their business as normal.

On Saturday, thousands of people staged a demonstration in support of the coup, many shaking the hands of soldiers on the streets.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Niger Military Coup

Here are some related sites regarding the military coup in Niger:


BBC News Video:

Please pray for a peaceful resolution to this situation.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quebec City or à Quebec

Went to Quebec Carnival on Saturday.  Had a great time.  Walked through old the part of the city for miles and miles.  Reminded us of pictures of the streets of old cities in Europe.  Mix of residental and commercial properties, unique shops and interesting archictures.

The weather was good (-5 degrees and sunny).  We went with a couple of other language students.

The Ride

February 13, 2010 we went to the Quebec Winter Carnival.

Grace wanted to go on the giant toboggan run at the Chateau Frontenac.  So we did.

Here is a view from the top of the slide.  We are going to be next going down.  The sled on the right was ours.  We came in second.  It was really close.  Not that it was a competition.  They have gravel at the bottom to slow down and stop the toboggans.

You pay $2.00 per person for a ride.  As people come down you get a sled and drag it up to the top.  A long walk.  You walk along the run and you can see people coming down yelling  "I am going to die."  Not exactly encouraging.  I stayed calm but Grace yelled all the way down.

This is what it looks like from the bottom with people coming down.

It was great fun.  Here is a picture of the hotel.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Auto Tents

One thing that has amazed us has been the prevalence of auto tents in Quebec.  A number of commercial buildings even use a version of them at their entrances to keep the snow out and cut down on the wind coming into the building.

We know of at least one appartment block where it seems that every vehicle has its own tent.

Below are some pictures.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Serving with Joy

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)

But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:30)

We recently read a devotional based on this passage. It was by Chris Tiegreen out of his devotional called “At His Feet”.

In the devotional, he talks about how churches do not want to say that we serve God with a reward in mind. The fact is that when we surrender all, we do have a huge reward awaiting us. While it may hurt to give everything up, the ultimate benefits far outweigh the costs. We cherish our friends, family and things, but following the Word of God and living the teachings of God are of much greater worth.

Giving up the things of this world can be difficult. Obviously, it is opposite of what worldly belief values. Our world honours those who strive to be the very best they can be in worldly terms. In a large way, those values do not match what the Bible teaches. Especially in terms of whom we serve.

To quote Chris Tiegreen – “Remind yourself that costly discipleship is really to our benefit – an investment with unparalleled returns. We are to humbly accept the extravagance of His promises.”

When you serve God do so as if you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. When that happens, the things of this world seem not so important.
Who else, can possibly promise a guaranteed return on your investment? The answer is simple – no one – other than Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Change in weather

On January 28 I posted how the weather so nice in Sherbrooke.  I even took some pictures out our window.  Well, not thirty minutes later the weather totally changed.  I looked up out the window and I could hardly see anything anymore.

It was good to see this kind of change in the weather.  Some of the American students were thinking that the winter was already harsh enough.  I think they needed a jolt of reality.  I keep trying to convince them they need to put their tongue on a steel post outside.  They don't seem to believe me that nothing will happen to them.

Unfortunately, the blizzard was short lived.

Sherbrooke Art

il était une fois dans l'Est (He was once in the East)

Below are some pictures of very exquisite paintings on the walls of buildings in the heart of Sherbrooke. If you come down the one street at the right angle, it actually appears as though you could actually walk into the picture.