Snapshot: A visit to the Clinic

Niger is not known to have a strong health system.

Therefore, when my friend Fanta became pregnant I asked her about her plans for medical care during her pregnancy and delivery. Here would be a great opportunity to understand the health system!

Last week I took Fanta to her regular appointment with the gynecologist at a local clinic.


I learned right away that Fanta wanted to avoid the local hospital and maternity unit due to apparent negligences at those places. Although it is much cheaper to go to those places, she and her husband have been saving extra money so she could go to this clinic.



I was pleasantly surprised! What a nice, clean clinic!

We left early in the morning so she could be first in line, if at all possible. I learned that one doesn’t simply make an appointment at a clinic like this. The patient must arrive and pay and get in line, it is a “take a number” system. (There is a separate part of the clinic that is for emergencies.)

So, arriving at 6:30 a.m., Fanta received her “number one” status and we waited until 8:45 for the doctor to arrive.


Thankfully, this was the day after a big rain, so the temperatures were lovely. We had a chance to catch-up on on our lives with a wonderful breeze keeping us refreshed. This was a beautiful gift to me.


After the encouraging report from the doctor, she needed to go to the laboratory for urine and blood samples. It was going to take some extra time to get the results, so we decided to walk to the pharmacy and buy the necessary prenatal vitamins.

Here is a 15-second video I took while waiting outside of the pharmacy. I am including it here so you can see how life is going on rather normally here in Niger during the pandemic. (However, at the end of the video, you see someone washing their hands at a little washing station – this is something new to life here!)

Upon returning to the clinic, she received her lab results and we waited some more, in order to talk with the doctor about them. She needs to gain more weight, but besides that, all is well!


Their baby girl is going to arrive sometime in early June, according to their calculations. During our conversations, she shared with me the name they have chosen for their baby girl – but it is a secret so don’t even try to persuade me to tell you!

Thanks for “going to the clinic” with us! Although one must plan to be waiting around a lot, the clinic was a positive experience. I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into life here. Please pray for Fanta and their baby.


Snapshot: Dust! (and Rain!)

We are still in Niger.

We had a real rainstorm yesterday – the first in six months! Rain may not seem like anything worth writing about, but – trust me – I try to share only interesting things about our lives here with you on this blog.

The notable characteristic of rain here in Niger is that it is preceded by DUST.


Photo credit to my friend who lives on the Sahel Academy campus – Bianca Adomnicai. The wind picks up and within about ten minutes the sky becomes dark as night, at 2:00 in the afternoon!

Check out this 25 second video of the dust storm coming into the city!

At my house, we rush to close windows before this wall of dust enters the house. But it can’t be stopped. The rusty-brown-colored particles enter anyway, covering every surface with an unwelcome film.

The rain pounds our tin roof loudly for over an hour, while the dust slowly dissipates, allowing the sun to re-emerge and finish out the day.

The temperature plummets from 112 degrees to less than 85 degrees – a blessed respite from the oppressive heat. Even this morning there was a cool breeze and quiet relief in the air!

Nathaniel – our oldest son, the senior who is graduating this month and will soon be leaving this desert land – exclaimed “I’m so glad that happened! I was hoping to experience one more of those before I left!” (To prove the point that this is a noteworthy experience to share with all of you!)

Now it’s time to clean up… (smile)