To read about the first part of my trip, click here.
After leaving on Jos, Nigeria, our next stop was Galmi, Niger! We flew through Togo and Burkina Faso on the way to Niger's capital city of Niamey where we stayed overnight at the SIM guesthouse. One of my friends from college has an older sister who is a missionary in Niger with her family, so we were able to reconnect with them and have dinner at their home.
|Getting ready to board the ASKY plane in Abuja, Nigeria|
|The brand new terminal in Lomé, Togo. It's so different than when we were last here in 2011!|
|That's the ASKY plane we came in on the night before!|
|"...Mike Romeo cleared for takeoff"|
|N-1, the only main East-West road in Niger|
|It's "rainy season" now, so everything is green!|
I shot this 7-minute video of our final descent and landing at Galmi. At the 3:50 minute mark you can see the entire hospital and town laid out along the N-1 road.
We were met by a welcoming committee of missionaries, their children, and a few "missionary dogs!" SIMAir regularly flies in and out of Galmi bringing supplies, mail, and short term missionaries, so everyone looks forward to watching the plane come in!
Saturday afternoon we had lunch with Deb and her husband James, and then met Heidi, the pilot's daughter who is interested in pursuing therapy after highschool and had come to shadow Deb for a few days. I had met Deb at the Global Missions Health Conference last November, so it was fun to see her again! She took us on a tour of the whole hospital and then showed us the therapy clinic. I loved seeing the anatomy charts, stationary bike, gym balls, and the closet full of pediatric therapy toys that are found in any therapy clinic around the world!
|A few of the nurses|
|The front gate of the hospital|
|I've seen some creative ways of storing therapy balls before, but I think using basketball hoops is the best one yet!|
|I think every occupational therapist has a fun closet of goodies like bubbles, puzzles, and toy cars!|
|"Le squelette humain" (the human skeleton) chart|
|Lisa and me|
|The view from Picnic Rocks of the N-1 road and the Galmi Reservoir|
|Chicken rice with our new Singaporean friends!|
|Sunset over Galmi|
|Visitor introductions at church. I finally got to wear the dress I had made in Togo again!|
|A Hausa hymnal ("Allah" is their name for God, not the Islamic Allah)|
|In an African church, men sit on one side and women on the other|
|"Eye Care in Developing Countries" and "The Handbook of Tropical Medicine" anyone?|
|Heidi mastered the art of distraction that's so crucial to getting a good plaster cast!|
|Isn't she precious!|
|Yes, they really do have camels here!|
On the way back to the hospital compound, Deb helped us buy a chicken fresh off the grill for 2500cfa (or about $5 USD) as well as some oranges (which have a green peel) and these amazing fried cakes that are made out of bean flour (what Nigeriens call beans we would call black eyed peas).
Tuesday morning started off quite slow, so we did a bit of organization in the therapy clinic. For those of you who have been around therapy clinics, you know there's always that one supply room that's crammed full of stuff that you might need one day!
Deb has been given a number of adaptive shoes for club feet, compression garments for burns, and supplies for making her own splints and slings, and she showed us some of the locally made adaptive shoes and splints. Last year she'd taken a lace-up cast shoe (worn to protect the plaster on the sole of the cast from breaking down while walking on it) to a local shoemaker to see if he could replicate it. He said, "No problem! I make shoes like that all the time for camel hooves!"
I enjoyed playing with a five year-old boy who was in the hospital to get a skin release following some severe burns. It was fun to see him smile when the matchbox cars came out! Deb shared with me that toy cars are a hit with both boys and girls; girls are so used to being around real babies that dolls that don't move and cry can be confusing and even scary!
About 30 minutes before the clinic was to close for lunch and midday rest, six patients showed up! I did an eval on a teenage girl and decided she needed a referral for a hip x-ray, we did some therapy for a young toddler who still isn't sitting up, and set up some patients to come back later in the week.
After midday break, Deb and I decided the rain looked like it would hold off long enough for her to take me on a walk through the millet fields out behind the hospital to visit a couple villages. We set off with our cameras and water bottles and traipsed through flooded fields and along muddy cow paths to see what life as a Nigerien farmer looks like.
|The ladies were careful to tell us where to step as we crossed the stream!|
|Some village children who were excited to have their photo taken!|
|These mud storage buildings with thatch roofs are designed for millet storage|
|We followed these guys and their cart of onions back to town|
|Sacks of onions piled up, waiting to be sold|
|A stack of woven sack tops|
|Onions are stored in thatch structures like this. They're elevated off the ground by rocks so that air can circulate and prevent the onions from rotting.|
|Onions headed off to market|
|How would you like to stack this truck of onion sacks by hand?|
Wednesday Dad and I hitched a ride with a missionary family back to the SIM hospital in Danja, Niger which is about three hours away. However, we were strictly told, "You can't leave before cinnamon buns!" This Wednesday morning tradition is a gathering time for all the missionaries, and they were sure to set aside a few buns for Ian and those coming in on the SIMAir flight!
We watched the plane take off, said goodbye to all of our new friends at Galmi, and then it was time to pile into the car for the drive to Danja!
|Deb and me|
|Dad and Steven, the director at Galmi|
|"Hey Dad, we've got to make funny faces with our orange slices!"|