I had a chaotic week at work. My visa needs renewing and my evaluation is due. The school board meeting was on Wednesday night and I'm responsible for writing a report to the ambassador. Amina was getting ready for her nursing conference in Vienna and we had a large herd of patients.
Friday after work, I had to go over to the American International School where I was one of the judges for the science fair. I was astonished to find such elaborate presentations on complex subjects utilizing the scientific method. The students presented their projects and were very enthusiastic and prepared. They talked about what motivated them to start their research. They sited their refrences and resources. They stated their hypothesis and talked about their data collection and possible variables which might alter the results. Their findings were impressive and all deserved an award. The topics I judged were on photosynthesis, lasting flavor of sugarless vs sugared chewing gum, bottle rockets, and comparison of how time is perceived when compared to males and females. The last one won first place.
Later that night, I took the kids to the open house where all the students were displaying their projects to their families and there was an awards ceremony and Italian dinner. Dina stayed home to get some much needed time alone.
Saturday we had some friends over and made a nice BBQ. It was my fist attempt without my cook. The charcoal here is quite small and burns very fast. But it turned out great and the kids played and swam until dusk.
Yesterday, Dina arranged for us to pick up several kids from the orphanage and bring them home for lunch and play. It was a rich experience. One of the girls is deaf but such a joy. Her facial expressions and movements are so graceful. She smiles and points. We signed some with her and she seems to know quite a bit of sign language. The boys wanted to touch everything. One kept puting in a CD and ejecting it, then playing it at different volumes with the remote until I had to ask him to stop. They played muscial instruments and ate Raisin Bran and chocolates after a big pasta lunch. They ate ravenously and asked for more. Taking them back was hard. Part of it is the emotional feelings but also the beauty of these kids. They are so alive; expressive and loving. I was afraid that I would be depressed but I found a feeling of hope. That these children get fed, washed, clothed, sheltered, and most importantly, educated is more than most of the other children their age here in Niger.