Here’s the journal entry from our first full day in Niger, Africa.
Monday, June 15, 2009, 2 p.m.
Boy did I pass out. I slept straight through until 7 a.m. I woke up once I guess, and was like, “Where am I?” And then I thought, “I’m in Africa!” and went back to sleep.
This morning we went to a nice little breakfast place. We had baguettes and some chocolate pastries. We then had an orientation meeting.
Bruce talked about how lucky we are to be able to learn from the Niger Christian leaders. In some places it’s too dangerous, they can’t blow their cover. We also learned not to give money to anyone (duh). If you do, a huge crowd will form.
After our little meeting we headed across the Niger River to the University of Niamey. There were about 12 students eager to greet us. They made sure to shake everyone’s hands. Some were dressed up in colorful traditional dresses and others were in basic American street clothes.
I can’t get over how much everyone wants us to be happy and taken care of. For example, the preacher welcomed us after we sang and he asked how we were doing with the heat. We all were like, “Oh it’s super hot!” and three people jumped up to turn the fans on higher.
The preacher told us a lot about Niger and its government issues right now. There are eight major regions of Niger. Everyone speaks French and also at least one tribal language (Hausa is the most common).
We were prepped on how to witness at the university. He said almost every student would be willing to listen, but in the end won’t accept Christ because they are Muslim. (95 percent of Niger is Muslim.)
Since we’ll be witnessing to mainly Muslims, we can never refer to Jesus as the “Son of God” because that implies that God had sex with Mary. It is something they are very serious about. Like Jews, they believe Jesus was just a prophet.
Right now there is a huge push from Saudi Arabia to spread Islam to all of Africa. There are five mosques at the university alone.
After our talk we got into teams. I’m with Bruce, Abby and Don. We were grouped with some university students, who took us outside to show us how to set up the Jesus Film, which we will show in villages at night. OK, in the African sun at noon, setting up was BRUTAL. One of the students, Marie, was always telling me to stand in the shade with her. She was so sweet. She spoke very little English. Marie had tribal scars on each side of her face. They were two marks beside each eye.
We were exhausted after setting up and taking down. We were served lunch. Rice and something. I don’t know what it was.
On our way back to the guesthouse we saw tons of goats. They’re everywhere! It cracks me up!
Ahh- lovely cool African evening. My group for when we show the Jesus Film was in charge of dinner tonight. We made spaghetti. I chopped the onions and garlic for the sauce and I did the dishes at the end.
Just before dinner we had an interesting weather situation. The sun was setting, and the sky looked purple and orange. It was super weird. Well then the wind picked up like crazy and there was a huge sand storm. Sand was flying around everything! It got in our eyes, mouth, nose, etc. Crazy!
Tomorrow is our first official day of “work.” I’m eager to see how all this plays out!