It’s a new day and the sky is blue. It’s hot season in Niger and the winds are warm, but I’m surprised how well my body has adjusted. It’s the period of year when it’s nice to sleep outside (with a wet blanket) – before the pre-rain sand storm arrive and the air is filled with dust. 6 am is my favourite time a day – followed by fullmoon evenings.

We’ve been having trouble with the Internet lately, and I am not able to download my emails or upload any images on the web. There’s a cable that has been damaged somewhere in the deep sea outside of Benin, and is affecting us in landlocked Niger. But just because I can’t upload any images, doesn’t mean I can’t update you.

Life is busy, and the days are passing quickly. Soon I will be in my sixties without even knowing it, if things carry on like this! When I was a kid, time always had a tendency of standing still, especially if there was any highlight coming up “soon”. Today, whatever time I thought I had disappears, taken away by little moments that fill my days.

The dogs are all doing well. Baghera was sick a few weeks ago (heat-stroke or piroplasmosis) but he has recovered and the rest are doing fine. The horses are up to their usual mischief and everyone except Arwen is doing well. My beautiful mare has had me quite worried these past few weeks, dropping very quickly in weight just as I arrived. Since she has developed chronic piroplasmosis, I had her treated for piro immediately and the medicine normally shows very good results within some ten days. This time however, she has only gained a little weight and is still looking dangerously thin. She asks me to take her out and I can only take her out on a leash, which she doesn’t appreciate, as she likes to carry her own rider. Yesterday, we send her blood for lab analyses and today I hope to hear what the outcome is. Does she still have piro? Have the parasites destroyed all her red blood cells? There are pieces to the puzzle that will help us understand why she is still not gaining any weight, even though we have limited Diva’s drinking to two servings per day and Arwen gets the whole garden for herself these days so as not to stress her (she always preferred human company to horses anyway, strange as it is…). Another problem Arwen has is that she is constantly dehydrated. It doesn’t matter what I do or how creative I try to be with the water – she simply does not like to drink! And when she does, the water has to be spotless, she has to be very thirsty and still, she will only have a sip or two… If only she had a sweet tooth, we could have sweetened her water but now the only thing I have left to try to try slightly salty water and see if that works better.

The sun is still shining and it’s a beautiful day. I will be spending the siesta grooming my horse and give her a well deserved bath (even though we have a constant water shortage) – only to watch her go and roll herself in sand immediately afterward – life quality according to my horse. With all the sunshine going on, my solar oven is used daily and today, tacco-spiced vegetables and hanza beans are on the menu.