Today marks one year since we arrived in Niger for the first time. It is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by, especially since so many things have happened. So we decided to interview ourselves as a way of looking back over the last 12 months. Enjoy!
What were some of your highs this past year?
Josh – brochettes, francais, going to Kenya, going to Zinder, going to Jessi’s wedding, surgical camps, giraffes, HIPPOS!!!, Park W, raindrops on roses, cool days, friendly smiles, daily greetings ritual (“et la famille”), Indian food, lots of reading, lots of writing, fufu, spicy food, being back in the Motherland!
Julie – mango season, mom and dad’s visit, morning walks, ridiculously adorable kids, starting art therapy program, trip to Kenya, seeing family and friends this summer (on both continents), shaving my head!, sugar cane, amazing community of new friends, cast painting, sweet packages from friends and family, growing our own vegetables, Mikael’s visit, trip to Maradi, and of course: hippos and giraffes.
What were some of your lows?
Josh – malaria, dysentery, Julie leaving for a month, really really hot days, really really hot nights, power cuts that last longer than 2 hours, being far away from family, fixing things that break, calling Sonitel, having Sonitel on speed dial, etc.
Julie – Dalia’s cancer, malaria, parasites, very slow and sporadic internet, broken washing machine, missing home, the 5th time our phone charger blew out, locking the keys in the car when we were 600 kilometers away from home.
Josh – Getting my own office. That was a first for me. It even has a plaque with my name on it!
Julie – Killing a scorpion on one of our walks, wild red sandstorms.
What have you learned about yourself in the past year?
Josh – I learned that I like things to be planned out ahead of time. No surprises. And that life really doesn’t work that way.
Julie – That whenever I start to think that I might run out of ideas to do with the kids at the hospital, I realize that they are the ones who inspire all the creativity.
What would your Nigerien name be?
Josh – Issoufou Garba. Or Hamani Harouna Hassane.
Julie – Jalayha (because it’s close to Julie, but sounds a lot cooler).
What are you looking forward to in the upcoming year?
Josh – More of the same!
Julie – Understanding more about the kid’s needs, fears, hopes, and desires and being sensitive to bring out the best in them.