Saturday, January 29, 2011

Galmi Surprises

Things that have surprised us thus far:

  • The meat is so lean you use a lot of oil to cook it.  No marbeling in this meat.
  • The home made yogurt is really good.
  • The number of little lizzards that are attached to all the buildings. 
  • How rocky and rough the terrain is.  Expected it to be more sandy.
  • How many flowers there are on the compound.
  • How delighted the locals are that we are here for a long term.
  • How cool the nights have been in January and that we needed to use extra blankets at night.
  • How many workers are still needed at the hospital - medical and support.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Galmi Market

Wednesday is market day.  Market day is a tad bit busy.  People packed in like sardines trying to slowly work their way through the mass.  On certain sections there is the incessant honking of those on motorcycles working their way through the crowd.  Of course, there is also donkeys pulling large wagons slowly through the throng of people.

It is truly amazing at how quickly a crowd of children start following you everywhere.  What's in the market, other than people?  Well there are spices, fruits, vegetables, cloth, clothing, touques, pots and pans, tools, ball bearings, soap, meat and butchers, and lots of color.  The butchers were in one area cutting up fresh meat.  Some of it is a little gruesome.  Lot's of flies.  Everything was organized in sections.  If you wanted spices you went to one section, cloth another.  There was an area where the camels and donkeys were.  We will call it the parking lot.

We bought some spices and some fruit.  Carrots are really nice and sweet so we have been buying these as well.  Grace also bought some cloth to get a more tradional African outfit made.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First week in Galmi

Still sorting through our emotions.  Just glad to be here and begin work slowly.  It did not take long to unpack as we only had some suitcases and the supplies we picked up in Niamey before coming.  The grounds are surprisingly large, and every bit as green as the areal photo's.  The hospital is the first building coming into Galmi from Niamey, so we have not seen much of the village yet. 

In our last blog we mentioned harmattan season.  Well, that has continued most of the week.  It was clear enough on Wednesday for planes to fly and SIMAIR came in and transported some personal to various locations.  Dust in the home is a fact of life.  It blows, we wash floors and dust, then all over again.  Everything is covered including computers.

On the second day we had a tour of the hospital.  The NEED is great.  The suffering is profound, the facilities are being stretched beyond capacity as are the number of staff to care for the patients.  We were struck by the patience of the people to wait for service in numbers I have never seen in a N.A. hospital. The hope and progress made on the rebuilding of the new hospital cannot come soon enough.

Our first impression of our home, was that it was bigger than expected.  Love the kitchen, lots of counter space to do baking for our many guests we will be hosting.  The pink bathtub is not our first, and we are glad for the brown geometric design shower curtain we picked out before leaving Canada.  The bathtubs narrow down considerably more here then in N.A. they go down to 13 inches wide. Our bedroom is huge, but will be divided so an office space can be made in it.  Currently the desk is in the living room area and we would like to save the area to entertain our guests.  Grace was delighted at the size of space to make a garden behind the house and is eagerly planning for the future.  The hospital has a strong water supply so watering is no problem.

We need to purchase our own furniture here, so this week we ordered a table to be made at the workshop on the hospital station as well pantry shelving for dry goods.  We were quickly convinced it would be good idea to purchase a freezer, as that is where we will want to store our flour.  This prevents little critters from making  a home in the flour.   Plus Grace will need to have a good amount of food prepared in the freezer for the many hosting occasions.  This week carrots have come into season, they are sweet and delicious. 

Each morning each department starts its day with morning devotions.  The guest house devotions are done in hausa and the office devotions are done in hausa or french.  We are both finding the work interesting and will require a huge learning curve.  We are grateful that we could come when there is still people in place who can share the knowledge.  Grace's job is a 24/7 job, with guest and short term people coming and going anytime of the day and any day of the week.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


January 10 at 7:22 pm we entered the Galmi grounds for the first time. 

It was about a 6 1/2 hour drive from Niamey.  The road is actually pretty good. The last 20 miles was rough.  Lot's of potholes.  It was also very dark which combined with all of the dust in the air was like driving at night in a heavy fog.  The last 20 miles took almost 1 hour.  Very grateful for an experienced driver.

There were people were sitting at the road side waiting for a bush taxi.  Saw camels wandering about.  Lot's of cattle, goats and sheep at various points. Sometimes we could see the herders.  Massive speed bumps through the villages to make you slow down.  Very effective.  Once again we are amazed at how hard these people work to scratch out a living.  It was market day at many communities along the way which is always interesting to see.  The couple driving treated us to some barbequed Ram.  The flavor with the spices and the Galmi red onion was very tasty.

Right now we are in the season of the Harmattan winds which kick up the sand and dust.  The other day, at the conference, I almost felt like there would be a thunder storm.  The winds picked up, the air was a little cooler and the sky darkened.  Rather than a coming thunder storm it was just the dust hanging in the air darkening the sky.  The winds create a continuous haze that blocks out the sun.  Sometimes you have a dusty grit in your mouth.

We have had our first tour of the compound and later today we will get a tour of the hospital for the first time. 

Each new person gets hosted for supper by a different missionary couple for the first 3 days so once again we find ourselves under good care.

Orest & grace


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We arrived

We arrived on Monday safely at 1:00 am. 

Immediately we are struck by the poverty as there are people, young and old, begging or selling something.

We are staying at the SIM guest house in Niamey and are being well cared for.  Someone has been taking us around the city and helping us get our initial 2 month supplies for Galmi. 
We are looking forward to the Spiritual Life Conference that starts today.

Thank you again to all of our supporters.  It means so much to us that you are all part of this journey.

Happy New Year.


Orest & Grace

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Paris Dec 28th I think

Working on understanding the bus and subway system.  Got to our intended destination.  We are doing Paris on a budget.  Lots of walking, and enjoying the views.  To tour Notre Dame is free.  Packed a lunch and away we went.  Had to stop for coffee of course.  The waiter was hilarious, he must be a comedian by night.

We are staying at a Christian French language school dormitory, how cool is that!  We are going to Versaille today, lots of amazing gardens to walk through.  We are told it is only half an hour away from were we are staying.