It has been a tough week. To start the week off, many of us fought hard to protect the Sahel campus from the rising river waters. As you already know, the river took over the campus mid week. In the words of our director, “Sahel campus is now a part of the Niger river waters.”
It is a heartbreaking scene, yet we are so thankful we were able to raise things up before the river made it to the campus. Others in the city were no so fortunate as they lost their homes, and some lost lives of loved ones. We have heard that approx. 31 people have died and 75,000 are without homes.
Friday morning, there was a meeting to determine the future of the school. It was an exciting and hopeful meeting. We recognize that this is not the way that we had intended this school year to go. However, this is what it is and now decisions need to be made to move forward. The Niger river continues to rise until December, it is not expected that we will be back on campus until March or April, and by saying that I mean, able to begin restoration. In order for school to continue this year, a team is out looking for a suitable facility or multiple facilities that would work for school. There is a team out looking for new accommodations for the 50 plus staff and students that no longer have a place to live. In the meantime, storage has been made available for the school to store belongings both long term and short term. So yesterday, the rescue attempts began. Many staff and volunteers showed up to wade shin to chest high in filthy waters attempting to salvage as much from campus as possible. This picture pretty much explains what the water was like.
Stacy has never wanted hip waders so bad. The disappointing thing is, he has a pair in Canada. Who knew that he would need them in the desert! It was a very successful 1st day of rescue. It is going to take quite some time to salvage everything from campus. We are told that we have about a week to a week and a half before the river is expected to rise again. We need to get everything out as soon as possible. Already, we are seeing signs of mold and mildew, and books are warping.
On a lighter and more positive side, God blessed us with a truck earlier this week. I felt blessed to be able to help transport Sahel contents to dry ground. Yesterday, was my first official day of driving. The best way to learn is to just be thrown into it. I did it and I only made my passengers scream once! The girls and I also did a lot of laughing, they were really good sports.