Monday, March 22, 2010

Harmattan Continued

I wanted to clarify that we have harmattan every year for awhile during the dry season (Nov-Mar). But we rarely see it in March--especially after such heavy rains.

Apparently the Jos airport has been shut down for the past four days due to low visibility. Some of our friends were planning to take a domestic flight today, but had to change their plans due to the heavy harmattan. They drove 3-4 hours to the capital of Abuja so they could catch a flight from there.

I'll try to make this my last post about the weather for awhile!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


In response to a few questions:

The harmattan (HAR-mah-TAHN) is dust that blows in from the Sahara Desert, which is north of us about 250 miles or so. I've never been to the Sahara, but I've seen it on my dining room table and bookshelves quite often during the dry season.

During periods of heavy harmattan, the temperature is quite cool--about 60-70 degrees.

Tobi said he had to dust off his pillow before he could sleep last night.

We built a campfire on our compound tonight. I told Tobi he should get a rag and clean off the plastic chairs. He responded, "It will be dark soon so it won't matter." I guess I'm reaching that point too. I'll clean off the kitchen surfaces, but I'm not going to stress about all the other surfaces.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Dust Is Back!!

With the three good rains we had this week, I figured we could say good-bye to dry season. When I looked outside this morning, it looked like we were surrounded by thick fog. My brain couldn't even comprehend that it might be dust...but it is, and THICK dust at that. I don't think I have ever seen harmattan (dust) this heavy before.

In fact, at noon I noticed something different about Bayo and took a good look at his face: yes, there was a heavy layer of gray dust on those black lashes.

Well, I'm off to bed now. I'll try not to think about the blanket of dust that will be covering us as we sleep.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Early Rains

"...and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth..." (Genesis 7).

We have had three big rains in the last three days. It's a little bit early for the rainy season to begin, but we're tired of dust and heat, so bring it on! It's been about five months since it last rained. The last few weeks have been very hot and muggy, so the rain definitely brought relief. I'm guessing that the temperature dropped from 90 degrees to 70 degrees. I had to go in search of a lightweight jacket, and those flannel sheets actually felt good last night.

For some reason, the change in weather made me want to exercise. The past two mornings I got up early and did some walking within our compound. It felt great. The first morning after the rain, Tobi and I spent some time observing changes that had taken place in nature. As we walked through the compound, we noticed that the Easter egg bugs were out. Now, I have no idea what these things are actually called, and I don't know anyone besides us who calls them that, but they come out every year around Easter time.

Tobi says he gets goosebumps just looking at them. They are curious little creatures.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Family Time

Nearly every night we have family devotions and then pray together. We read a portion of the Bible and then the kids all get a chance to tell us what they heard/learned. As the youngest, Lily gets to start. Tobi has the hardest job because David has quite the audio-memory and often says most every possible thing. It's good for Tobi to have a challenge. Then Bayo shares some thoughts with the kids. Recently we have read Acts, Esther, & Ruth. We just started Genesis. I enjoy seeing how all of the stories fit together chronologically.

After our devotions, if it's not too late, I read a couple of chapters from a book. Currently, we are really into the Ralph Moody autobiographies/memoirs. They are such good books that I'm wondering why I've never heard of them before!! They remind me a bit of the Little House on the Prairie books--telling stories of the way life was in the western U.S. 100 years ago. If you have boys in your family, these books are definitely the way to go. Ralph is about 8-9 years old in the first book. The Moody family perserveres in the midst of hardship, and above all, the children develop their character and their work ethic. We as a family have been inspired by the ingenuity of the Moody family and their ability to face their situation in life head-on.

We're on the second book now, but I caught Tobi reading the last few pages yesterday. (I might have to lock it up!) But I guess he comes by it naturally: I've already skimmed all of the second book and most of the third book. In fact, I had to get on Amazon early this morning and look at the remaining books in the series (there are 8).

The books do have some swearing--of the cowboy variety. Since we're doing the books as read-alouds, I'm able to make proper substitutions.

In this era of constant videos and TV, I think it's good for children to be able to sit and absorb a story purely from words without having to depend on a visual.

I read once that when you're choosing a family read-aloud, choose a book that is at the interest level of your oldest child--the younger children will pick up what they can. I have definitely found that to be true. These books are at Tobi's level or above, but David still understands about 95% of the story line, and Lily about 50%.

I'm looking forward to the chapters we'll read tonight. I'm sure we won't be disappointed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Finding Fun

We took the kids to a school carnival today. The highlights:
Tobi: airsoft guns
David: 40' tall zip line (went twice)
Lily: horse-riding, face-painting, cotton candy

The thing I noticed this year is that the adults really turned out and seemed to greatly enjoy sitting at picnic tables and just chatting. I had good chats with people that I haven't talked to in a long time. I think we're all craving some good social times, and we just haven't had many opportunities with all of the recent events as well as the 6 p.m. curfew. Of course, the curfew does make for good family time, which I have appreciated, but we have missed not being able to have friends over for a meal.

The other day I was chatting with a good friend about our stress-filled lives, and I asked her, "What's the next thing you're looking forward to?" She named an event that will take place in three months. I said, "That's too far away! We need to do something to have fun and laugh now." I guess today's carnival was part of that.

I have found that I have to be very pro-active in finding 'fun' things for my family to do. It's really important for our mental and emotional well-being as we live in such an uncertain place.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I've been pleasantly inundated with inquiries about our safety from friends around the globe. It came as a bit of a shock because not many people inquired about our safety during the riots in Jos January 17-20, 2010. Later my mom told me that the main thing on the news at that time was Haiti and virtually no coverage was given to the Jos riots.

Evidently, the Sunday massacre in a village 5 miles south of Jos is receiving world-wide attention. It was a horrific event. We have personally spoken to two people who lost numerous relatives in the strike. The man we spoke to said he lost 9 family members. The woman I spoke to today talked mainly about the children.

The situation is threatening to engulf Jos-city once again. People are tense, alert, and ready to run. We heard a spate of machine gun fire about 9 p.m. tonight. Now I'm hearing military helicopters hovering over the city.

Please pray for the city of Jos and the surrounding villages. We are not at ease.