You know, sometimes we missionaries get asked to do some pretty surprising, even unbelievable things... I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to be the doctor or the nurse and other than basic first aid/CPR training, I am totally NOT qualified. Our Nigerien friends and acquaintances just assume that we are dispensaries for fever and malaria meds, automatically know the cause and cure for every sore throat... and since we'd be much cheaper than a doctor or clinic visit, they can be quite persistant in requesting help. This year, we've not only bought school supplies for our children - but also for some of our neighborhood friends: backpacks, notebooks, pens and pencils, etc. Requests for hand-me-down clothes are almost daily. I always have a box of things that I notice the kids just don't like wearing, things I'm getting tired of seeing because I'm now seeing it on our fifth girl (or seventh child - you know those things that either boys or girls can wear), or in the midst of those weeks when I'm so far behind in laundry because life has been so full that I impulsively decide that I'm going to decrease each person's wardrobe by 2 outfits... We take that box and distribute it around the neighborhood once every month to 6 weeks. And please don't think I'm complaining - we ourselves are the recipients of such extravagant generosity - from the Lord, from our churches and supporters in the States, from our friends and missionary family here, from our Nigerien brothers and sisters... we are happy to share that with those around us. It is just sometimes, I have to wonder: "Why in the world is that person asking me to help/to do that?" And, it usually turns into a source of laughter... Now you are probably thinking - that is all interesting, but why in the world does this blog entry start with a photo of a turtle, right? Well, not too long ago, a friend jotted me a quick email telling me about a totally unexpected and hilarious request she had received: she had been asked to arrange a plane ride for two small turtles/tortoises - from one end of Niger to the other.... And I thought flight arrangements for our family were crazy! ! I can't remember now if they were actually turtles or desert tortoises - but we have had a bit of experience with the tortoises. Those creatures start out small - but they become massive, and they eat nonstop. The one we had at our house until about a year ago was big enough that the kids would stand on his back and "surf" as he walked around scrounging for anything green to eat. And some of them get so big that the kids can sit, 2-3 at a time, and go for a ride. I bet my friend was thankful she wasn't asked to arrange transport for one of those 200 lb "monsters!" They probably exceed the recommended weight allowance.
Hope you enjoyed the photos!