Focus on Niger

Wide Open World, Sunday, July 13

Series: Wide Open World

by Terri Taylor July 12, 2014

Each week this summer in WOW (Wide Open World), Tenth kids are focusing on a different country where one of our global partners works. Students are sent home with a sheet profiling our partner and his work and another sheet helping them connect to that country’s culture. We encourage families to pray specifically for the partner family of the week and to help their children further explore. This week we will highlight Niger. Children ages 4 through grade 6 are invited to join us in the Catacombs at 6:30 PM every Sunday throughout the summer as we explore what God is doing around the world.

Focus on Niger

Remember the story of how God had Moses send a plague of locusts on Egypt? In some parts of the world locusts are still a problem. Sometimes they descend on Niger eating what little food people have been able to grow. The Sahara Desert covers most of the country (over 80%!). In the summer it’s over 118 degrees in the shade and big winds stir up the sand. You wouldn’t think there would be many farmers, but that’s what almost everyone in Niger is. In the south, they plant crops, but most barely grow enough food for their own families to eat. In the north, they live as nomads herding animals across the desert traveling from one oasis to another.

What's it Like to Live in Niger?

People say Niger is the worst country in the world to be a mother. That’s because so many babies die before they have their first birthday. People are very poor. In fact, food is so scarce that they often eat only one meal a day. The government doesn’t have money for very many schools either, so most people–moms and dads included–can’t read or write.

In the south, people have mud brick houses, but in the north, the nomadic people tend to live in tents that the women make from animal skins or grass. One small nomadic tribe, the  Wodaabe, meets for a salt festival  at the end of the rainy season.  More rain means more grass growing, and the animals get fatter. People are ready to celebrate and, because animals need salt, they gather at  natural salt deposits. There the men spend hours painting their bodies and then have a handsome contest. The winner gets to pick his wife. You can glimpse it on BBC's The Human Planet

Men are allowed to have as many as four wives–that’s what the Koran teaches, and almost everyone in Niger is Muslim. They mix the Islam with beliefs in spirits too, so someone who is sick is far more likely to see a sorcerer than a medical doctor.

Food in Niger

Meat and even rice are food for special occasions. The usual meal is a patty made from the grain millet and served with a vegetable sauce. The nomads drink goat or camel milk with it. The recipe below is something they would only have on a festival day.

Peanut Chicken

2 pounds chicken breast 1 large onion, chopped
16 oz tomato sauce 2 large garlic cloves, minced
16 oz whole tomatoes, drained 8 oz peanut butter
1–3 tsp cayenne pepper  

Boil chicken for 20 minutes, then shred meat. Save 1 cup of broth. In separate pan, saute onion and garlic. Mix together tomato sauce, peanut butter and broth. Add  to onion and garlic along with whole tomatoes. Heat thoroughly. Stir in chicken and cayenne pepper to taste. Serve over couscous.

Craft Project

You can use a cardboard milk carton to mold an adobe mud brick like Nigeriens use to build their houses. Complete instructions can be found here

Webquest

Find answers to the questions below by visiting this site.

  1. What is the largest people group in Niger called?
  2. What has made life very difficult for nomads?
  3. What is the country’s official language?
  4. What kind of faces do men make at a Gerewol?

Learn Hausa (the most spoken local language)

When greeting someone, men shake hands and then touch their hearts to show sincerity.

Good morning (How did you sleep?) Ina kwana?
In health (reply to good morning) Lahiya lau
Long time no see Kwana biyu