Thursday, January 25, 2007

Getting to know Tiembanga

Tiembanga is one of the villages in which we have seen the most change for the good. Families who used to be hungry and thirsty are now eating daily, have access to a well right in their village, and are even able to buy clothes every once in awhile. Thanks to the intervention of one of our partner organizations, and Tiembanga's willing and faithful participation, their lives have improved.

We took advantage of a culmination of several events to pay an afternoon visit to Tiembanga. Beth had a looming deadline to send photos and information on a "model family" to home office. Of course, Steve was her designated photographer, and Marie did the translating from the local language, Zarma. It had to go from Zarma to French, then Beth had to take it the final step to report it in English. Sound like the telephone game?

On top of all of this, our boss Mary and her husband Scott were in town, and Mary had brought her video camera to get village footage for various video projects we'll be putting together in the next few months. So we spent a busy couple of hours out in Tiembanga, with their full permission to ask as many questions, take as many pictures, and film as many videos as we needed.

Above: Mary, Harouna, and Marie, having just arrived in Tiembanga, introducing us to the villagers. Thankfully they graciously allowed us to catch a glimpse into their daily lives.

Below: Marie and Beth, mid-interview with the Ali family.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wildlife Park and Desert Excursion

Right after Christmas we went to visit Park W, a wildlife reserve shared by three countries. Although we saw a few animals, most of "the biggies" (e.g. elephants) had disappeared with the horde of tourists that showed up for the holidays. We were happy some friends joined us at the last minute.

After a brief stay at home to unpack and re-pack, we headed north to the desert. The views were amazingly diverse and quite spectacular. Between the dust in some places that reminded us of snow blizzards, and the low temperatures each morning, we almost forgot we were in tropical Africa! Beth got to ride a camel for the first time.